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Nov 19, 2014

What motivates employees?

Is it money? Feeling valued at work? Connecting with a company’s social mission?

All these are good answers, but a new Tinypulse survey from TinyHR titled The 7 Key Trends Impacting Today’s Workplace that analyzed over 200,000 employee responses relating to organizational culture found that “peers and camaraderie” are the No. 1 reason employees go the extra mile.

A culture where workers can “go the extra mile”

While peer recognition and camaraderie might seem like two aspects of company culture that happen (or need to happen) organically, there are ways organizations can promote a culture that fosters peer recognition and camaraderie.

As a potentially overlooked area of focus for organizations, peer recognition is a valuable way to foster a positive culture and create one where employees regularly “go the extra mile.”

For example:

  • Some 44 percent of employees surveyed report that when they are provided a simple tool to do so, they will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis.
  • The happier the employee, the bigger the praise: 58 percent of “happy” employees report giving regular peer recognition, compared to 18 percent of the least happy employees.

As the TinyHR study states, “Professional happiness encourages 3X more recognition!”


Top 3 employee motivators (and money isn’t one of them)

Thinking that money motivates employees seems an antiquated line of thought when looking at the TinyHR survey data. In fact, money isn’t even among the top 5 factors that motivate employees to go the extra mile. Out of 10, “money and benefits” ranks No. 8.

The top three (3) motivators for employees to go the extra mile are:

  1. Camaraderie/peer motivation;
  2. Intrinsic desire to do a good job; and,
  3. Feeling encouraged and recognized.

nov-18-2014-motivationEmployees are feeling undervalued

Feeling encouraged and recognized at work can stem from a number of different sources, but regardless of where recognition most often occurs, TinyHR’s data shows that employees feel significantly undervalued overall.

On a 1-10 scale, just 21 percent of all employees gave a score of  “9” or “10” for feeling valued at work, meaning that 79 percent of employees feel undervalued, or not valued at all.

nov-18-2014-valueMore recognition = more employee engagement

Camaraderie and recognition have broader implications than just creating a more motivated workforce.

Workplace cultures that embrace these are no longer expected to be just the few and far between: Job seekers expect this of organizations, and they are ways to not only attract talent, but to retain it. Millennials especially (as I’ve discussed in past posts) place a high value on camaraderie and actively seek out such work environments.

The TinyHR Tinypulse survey cites a recent report by Bersin and Associates, which found that employee engagement, productivity, and customer service, are about 14 percent better in organizations where recognition occurs.

Consider how your organization recognizes its employees – how do you recognize peers? Do employees at your organization feel valued – do you?

Maybe it’s time to institute some formal recognition programs, which we here at Great Place to Work consistently see as best practices at organizations on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

Build on positive outcomes

“Ramping up” recognition programs doesn’t need to mean excessive time or investment either. It could be as simple as instituting a gold star program, installing a white board in the break room for “biggest save of the week” comments, or having an employee mentor another for an hour on a specific skill.

Our advice: Start small, and build on positive outcomes.

But by all means, provide formal and informal ways for your employees to recognize the contributions of their peers – that is, if you’d like more of your employees to go the extra mile for your customers!

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