6 Reasons Why Peers Matter in the Workplace

by Chris Rhatigan on Mar 9, 2016 11:00:00 AM

6_Reasons_Why_Peers_Matter_in_the_Workplace_1The difference between a job you tolerate and a job you love may be as simple as the people you work with. It’s much easier getting up in the morning when you know you’ll be working with competent professionals — and it’s even better when your colleagues are your friends. A Gallup poll revealed that employees are seven times more likely to fully engage in their work if they have a best friend at work.

Our Employee Engagement Report shows that when it comes to employee satisfaction, peers and colleagues rule — even over salary! It’s the number one thing people mention when talking about why they love their work. But the opposite is also true. Just think about how annoying it can be working with people who are unprofessional or disrespectful.


1. Peers make or break employee satisfaction

A majority of respondents, 51%, listed having great colleagues and peers as the top reason they loved their jobs. Who wouldn’t want to work with people they love?

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But watch out — neglecting to hire talented people whose personalities fit with your organizational culture and values can be a fatal flaw. Frustration with colleagues is the number one reason people cited for quitting their jobs. If a colleague fails to carry their weight on a project, it could bring the whole staff’s morale down.


2. Lack of colleague follow-through kills productivity

When you don’t hire the right people, your staff notices. In fact, 35% of respondents said that lack of peer follow-through and communication was to blame for lagging productivity.

Employees who refuse to take responsibility or assume other people will handle a problem will drive your dedicated employees nuts — and toward other jobs.


3. Colleagues should manage “sideways” 

Our findings showed that often colleagues are more important to employees than supervisors. Employees crave valuable, constructive feedback from their peers. They want to be held accountable.  

Instead of the old-fashioned, top-down feedback system, businesses are switching to a feedback loop that encourages collaboration. And a Deloitte study found that high levels of collaboration are correlated with employee satisfaction.  


4. Peer-to-peer recognition is crucial

Employees want to hear from their colleagues when they’ve done a good job. This kind of feedback encourages higher employee satisfaction and retention.

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5. And employees want to provide peer recognition

Our 2014 report found that if offered a simple tool, 44% of employees would provide peer recognition.

Consider using a peer-to-peer recognition tool to capture those simple, everyday ways employees do more than their job description, from volunteering on a project to improving workplace culture. By encouraging employees to give each other shoutouts, you’ll ensure that no small job goes unnoticed.


6. Quality peer relationships are foundational

Building a staff with the right personalities will pay off in other areas too. If you have a staff that enjoys working together, creating a positive work environment will be that much easier.

Employees who respect each other will challenge each other to become better, strengthening professional development and opening opportunities for collaboration. 

The impact peers have on your business can’t be understated. When recruiting employees, tell them about your company’s culture and ask them questions to find out if they fit with your team. Hiring the best people isn’t easy, but these important decisions can pay huge dividends for your business.



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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.