Peer to peer recognition: engaging and fostering millennials

Recognition & Rewards
November 16, 2017

Recognizing the unique Millennial

The top three challenges for HR organizations today are employee engagement, turnover rates, and succession planning. Though these issues are not new, former strategies just don't seem to have the same effect and the shift has left employers - especially those with Millennials in their ranks - scrambling for answers. In the past, reward systems were monetarily based, providing employees with compensation for their time and extra efforts with strictly financial compensation. The ineffectiveness of this method in retaining and motivating employees is indisputable.

  • 37% of U.S accommodation and food services employees say that they had or will quit their position in their current place of employment within a 12 month period.
  • The majority of employees in 2015 were reported as “not engaged” while another 17.8% were “actively disengaged”
  • For the majority of 2015, monthly averages for consistent employee engagement hovered between 31.5% and 32.1%
  • One-third of new hires quit their job after about six (6) months.¹
  • Nearly four out of five (78 percent) of business leaders rank employee retention as important or urgent.
  • In 2015, 40% of companies reported that with the arrival of lower unemployment rates, the difficulty in finding and maintaining talented individuals has heightened their concern for loss of personnel.
GloboForce Employee Recognition Survey 2012

So, what has changed?


As of 2015, Millennials make up the largest section of the global workforce and will compromise nearly 75% of personnel by 2030.² The average tenure of a millennial employee is only two years and the key to building a strong, profitable business in 2018 rests in the ability of a company to redirect this pattern. Millennials may have a bad rap for being on cell phones and a general sense of entitlement, but here is the truth: Millennials aren't lazy, they have specific needs.

Psychologically, every human being experiences a direct correlation between their perception of self-value and their state of happiness. This is even more pronounced in millennials, where monetary rewards are secondary to the feeling of personal growth, engagement, and significance within a company. With every resource at their fingertips, millennials are constantly looking to jump into a role that will fulfill these elements. The employer then is fighting a perpetual battle against the threat of the “next best thing.” In order to win the fight, you have to understand your employee's criteria.

Fuelling your employees

Retaining valued talent in your business depends on your employee engagement levels. For Millennials, the single highest contributor to this is their belief that they are truly valued for their unique strengths. Recognizing the influential role an employee plays within your company bolsters their confidence and boosts their comfort with expressing ideas amongst coworkers and superiors. If a millennial believes their employer recognizes them as an asset, they respond by fully applying themselves to maintaining high standards, simultaneously satisfying a need for self-growth and importance.

“More than ever, they want to be part of a workplace culture that allows them to discover their own identity and inner confidence so they can unleash their full potential. (Glenn Llopis, Forbes 2014).

”Currently, less than 40% feel so engaged.³

Because Millennials base their performance on output rather than time spent on a project, it is essential that they feel their commitment to quality is noticed. According to a recent survey by TriNet, one in four millennials feel in the dark about their work performance; As it stands, 8/10 Millennials think they deserve to be recognized more for their work. Only 54% of female employees say they are recognized when they do excellent work and only 61% of males.⁴ That's an average of 43% of employees operating under the impression that they are not valued!

The answer to these statistics is relatively simple- Workplace culture is everything. Traditional superior-to-employee encouragement, though beneficial in its own way, can often feel contrived, insincere, or infrequent to an employee. Peer-to-Peer Recognition fosters camaraderie, heightens energy levels, and alleviates preoccupying worries about work performance which deduct from creative spirit.

You can completely re-establish your work culture by integrating a peer-to-peer recognition program. By encouraging staff to communicate with one another on their successes, you are cultivating company-wide collaboration. Values-based recognition from a peer is like getting a compliment from a friend on your outfit or touchdown in high school- instantaneously that person is invigorated with new energy to duplicate their success or surpass it. The cycle peer-to-peer recognition promotes quickly takes on a life of its own, as each compliment given encourages the receiver to then offer one of their own to another co-worker.

Did you Know?

86% of values-based recognition programs show an increase in worker happiness.

Peer-to-peer recognition benefits

Peer-to-peer recognition is statistically 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition. In 2015, 41% of employees said that if they were given the tools to comfortably engage in peer-to-peer recognition, they would gladly do so. Once a program had been established, 58% of “happy employees” (individuals who considered themselves fulfilled by and content with their job) reported giving regular peer recognition.⁵ Staff who are empowered to recognize other employees are twice as likely to identify themselves as highly engaged while 90% of employers say their employee recognition program had a positive impact on overall employee engagement.

These interactions then, are not one-off comments, but authentic conversations progressively developing gratifying company habits, transparency, and teamwork. Not to mention the right culture attracts new, talented employees who will vie for the chance to be a part of a positive, collaborative team. Millennials will choose to invest themselves in your business' long term, thriving in the synonymous relationship between their ambitions and your company’s achievements.

What are you waiting for? Mature employee recognition programs are 12 times more likely to have quantifiable, superior business results!!⁶

Foster a collaborative and engaging workplace culture of your own - book your Qarrot demo today!


  • ¹
  • ² Bureau of Labour Statistics
  • ³ Tony Schwartz, Harvard Business Review
  • ⁴ Modern Survey
  • ⁵ Great Place to Work
  • ⁶SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey 2012
The Team at Qarrot