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The rise of peer-to-peer recognition in the public sector – how can your organisation benefit?

uploaded on 16 April 2024

Recently, we’ve experienced a significant uplift in the number of UK public sector organisations that want to implement peer-to-peer recognition solutions. Usually, these solutions take the form of formalised hubs that embed a more even and transparent culture of recognition.

Given current pressures, the motivation for doing so is clear. The House of Lords Public Services Committee recently confirmed that public sector staffing is facing a vicious circle of increasing demand, staff shortages, low morale and recruitment issues.

Senior HR leaders in the public sector have told us that many of today’s employees manage dramatically increased workloads, often with static resources or fewer employees. 

Against this backdrop, the House of Lords report confirms there is a need for a healthier culture of recognition within the public sector.

Increasingly, formal peer-to-peer recognition schemes are being touted as a significant part of the solution – and here’s why.

The benefits of peer-to-peer recognition 

Most organisations already understand the importance of employee recognition. But recognition has a more significant impact when it comes from colleagues and not just managers. Research by the Society for Human Resource Management, for example, has shown that peer-to-peer recognition is 36% more likely to have a positive impact on results than manager-only recognition.

Here are the other key benefits we’ve seen delivered at organisations where we’ve implemented peer-to-peer recognition schemes: 

  1. Better and more productive work relationships
    Expressing gratitude fosters stronger bonds among colleagues, promoting teamwork and collaboration. We’ve seen how this positive recognition contributes to a cohesive and supportive work environment.
  2. A boost for employee wellbeing
    Personal recognition from peers can also have a significant impact on employee wellbeing, boosting confidence, self-esteem, and morale. This positive cycle of acknowledgment and appreciation contributes to a happier and more engaged workforce - boosting retention rates in the process.
  3. Support for organisational values
    Aligning recognition practices with organisational values reinforces desired behaviours. By linking specific actions to recognised values and sharing detailed praise, public sector organisations can set a standard that promotes a values-driven culture.
  4. Celebration of success
    Peer-to-peer recognition also ensures that achievements, big or small, are celebrated and acknowledged. Even in the most testing times, this fosters a culture of success and accomplishment, motivating employees to stick to the task and achieve their goals.

Peer-to-peer reward and recognition is powerful when deployed intentionally and strategically. It can improve your culture, increase employee loyalty, and build organisation-wide connections – all of which fuels productivity and morale.

Organisations such as NHS Employers are helping to drive the trend with their advocacy of peer to peer recognition. The concept has also been enshrined in the NHS England Staff Recognition Framework.

As peer-to-peer recognition continues to evolve in the UK public sector, it's vital that organisations strive to implement effective methods that will help to support employees in challenging times. 

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