Over half (53%) of employees in the UK admit their peers’ behaviour changes the way they behave at work, according to new research published by Sodexo Engage. Younger employees aged 18-24 are even more influenced by their peers, with this number shooting past 70% within this age group.

The ‘colleague effect’ can have huge payoffs for businesses

The survey of 2,000 working adults found the ‘colleague effect’ can have huge payoffs for business performance, with 29% of employees reporting they always work harder when surrounded by hard-working, high-achieving colleagues. Similarly, a low-output and negative environment can cause performance to suffer.

The power of peer influence

These findings show that employees are more likely to perform better when they feel pressure to equally measure up to their co-workers and can see the level of achievement possible through hard work.  As such, businesses shouldn’t overlook the power of peer influence, and should instead consider how it can be used to improve productivity and foster good behaviours.

The behaviour of leaders in a company can shape the way that everyone else acts

Iain Thomson, Director of Incentive and Recognition at Sodexo engage commented;

“Our research shows how important it is to understand what behaviours drive a top performing team, as well as the key role that peer influence plays in driving performance, engagement and morale in business.

Gaining these benefits ultimately boils down to strong leadership. The behaviour of leaders in a company can shape the way that everyone else acts. Negative behaviours and a slapdash approach can really erode the performance of the wider team, but equally, if you’re a great boss that engages with your team and displays exemplary behaviour, you’ll see positive results.“