Recognition from peers drives engagement, survey shows

In a poll conducted by Oracle, colleagues have twice as much influence on engagement as that of managers. How can you use that information in your workplace?

Want to know how to engage employees?

Perhaps the best (and most obvious) answer is to ask the employees.

Oracle did just that. Results of its survey were recently published in Personnel Today. Here are the significant excerpts:

Who has greater influence on employee engagement?

  • 42 percent say peers
  • 21 percent say line managers
  • 7 percent say unit managers
  • 3 percent say HR

What would most drive employee engagement?

  • 53 percent say recognition for their achievements
  • 35 percent say greater understanding about their contribution to the company

Peers affect the engagement of others far more than even their own managers can. Knowing “what I do is noticed and matters to others” encourages an employee to increase productivity and serve customers better.

A strategically designed social recognition program can accomplish all these goals. Peers are encouraged to notice and appreciate the great work of their colleagues, giving managers and HR many more “eyes” to catch someone doing something good and praise them for it.

Such recognition should be detailed and specific, conveying how the recipient demonstrated a core value or desired behavior and how that effort helped the giver, the company or the customer.

Loïc Le Guisquet, Oracle’s president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific regions, concurs: “Employees feel engaged by their peers and HR can help encourage this by providing access to sharing and collaboration platforms and social tools, but employee expectations are also changing fast, particularly those of millennials.

“They want recognition and feedback, and they want it consistently,” he says. “HR can deliver this through technologies that provide managers with a more up-to-the-minute view of their employees, which in turn encourages a more personalized, rewarding dynamic between them.”

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The most effective way HR can support employee engagement is by helping employees recognize and appreciate each other’s efforts. Why would we hesitate in facilitating that kind of desirable behavior?

In her Data Point Tuesday post, China Gorman pointed to a report from Interact Authentically that concluded with this assertion:

We cannot forget our most basic core goal in business: to create connections and relationships. Today’s frontier is not the technology required to run a global company—it is applying technology while bringing along the nurturing, engaging aspect of human communication.

What’s holding your organization back from facilitating easy yet meaningful recognition and appreciation, thereby building relationships and human connections in your workplace?

Derek Irvine is VP of client strategy and consulting at Globoforce and is a co-author of “The Power of Thanks” and “Winning with a Culture of Recognition.” A version of this article originally appeared on the Recognize This! blog.

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