The battle for the ultimate workplace has begun. A battle of talent, employee engagement strategies and workplace relationships.
A particularly interesting finding has recently been published, adding new variables to this strategic HR game. The Simply Talent study, which polled around 1,500 workers across Europe, found that just 3% of employees think HR has the most impact on employee engagement levels. Instead, the key to employee engagement was co-worker relationships. The majority of employees polled (42%) felt their peers were the biggest influence.
Also supporting this finding is the 2015 Millennial Impact Report, which reveals how Millennial employees are most influenced by peers, and not by their supervisors.
“Employees feel engaged by their peers and HR can help encourage this by providing access to sharing and collaboration platforms and social tools.”
-Loïc Le Guisquet, Oracle’s president for EMEA and APAC regions (Source)
Workplace relationships and the influence of peers has been proven to be of critical importance to the general employee engagement level of a company. Here’s why:
1. Coworkers influence their participation
The new generations that form the majority of the workforce now are directly influenced by what their peers believe in and what they stand for. They trust their colleagues and follow their lead, whether it’s regarding involvement in social causes, supporting new ideas or even executing tasks.
“Work relationships can set the tone to the entire company culture, promoting collaboration and social interaction that strengthens work processes”, explains Tanner Page, who covers work relationships for enterprise software companies at Workcrowd.
2. They appreciate competition and incentives
Far from being driven exclusively by perks or financial gains, employees nowadays enjoy being rewarded for their work. They want to make a contribution, to have an impact and work with purpose, and they also enjoy being appreciated for that, along with their team.
They follow the bigger picture, even when they compete. The team comes first. Even though every person is ranked against others, they want to fulfill the team’s goals, celebrate wins together and they are empowered by the group’s success. For example, although the multi-level marketing industry has been plagued by sustainability issues, the team aspect has also brought it borderline-mainstream success for the past 10 years. People love the team goals and the team wins.
3. They want to be better, faster, stronger
Millennials especially live in a constant state of self-improvement. In a social working environment, they rely on their peers to identify their strengths and weaknesses and push beyond them, to be better and deliver better results.
Ongoing coaching processes, being mentored by more experienced coworkers, practicing self-awareness within their teams, these are all social processes taking place at work, designed to push both individual growth as well as business growth.
4. Workplace happiness comes naturally
The entire morale of a company can be determined by workplace relationships and the culture that they foster. Good team relationships can accelerate talent development and business innovation.
A culture marked by high morale, minimal office politics and low turnover will foster high productivity and employee engagement. People will stay for other people and they will work smarter in a team where they feel good.
5. Digital has made social a must
As much as you might like employees to put their social media life on hold whilst at work, it’s not going to happen. You might as well get used to it, or, even better, leverage it to improve employee engagement.
Employees are always connected. Make sure that they have the necessary technology and collaboration tools to make the most out of their social interactions at work, resulting in improved productivity and business results.
Leveraging the social dimension of your workplace can be a significant competitive advantage. Think about it, by ensuring that office relationships are a healthy driver for employee engagement you would improve your teams’ productivity and attract even more talent.
A lot of times employee engagement is a result of who people are working with to do what they do, and not the other way around. Make sure you’re aware of the social component of your company culture and that you’re investing enough resources to nurture it.
Author Bio: Jeremy is the founder at Authority, a platform that allows experts to make buying recommendations.