Peer pressure at work is when employees tend to be overwhelmed by the quality or amount of work which is done by other fellow colleagues in the office. Sometimes when certain employees perform better in office, it leaves other co-workers with an inferiority complex. Since the performance of some employees at office work is better as compared to others, the management may start developing an inclination and bias towards them. Hence the other employees feel neglected and sometimes this employee competition has ill effects on the functioning of the team. Sometimes team leaders with bad intentions, tend to take away the credit for a particular task which has been successfully completed and blame others when something fails. This peer pressure can often demotivate employees and can cause a turbulent workplace.

Employees feel peer pressure under various circumstances which pressurizes them to give more than they are giving. Employees can be forced to perform things out of their comfort zone when they are pressurized by their fellow colleagues in the office. 

Most of the time, however, we don’t associate peer pressure as being a positive force. Just like a high school bully, employees who are not really engaged in their work can negatively affect every person in their surroundings. It’s important not to shy away from addressing this negativity as quickly as possible. Because these employees are primarily motivated by their paycheck, it is not likely they will leave on their own initiative. For that reason, it’s crucial that managers speak with any employees who are actively disengaged. It’s also important to assess why these employees may be feeling apathetic in their work. Many times there could be an opportunity for a constructive conversation transforming them into some of the most highly engaged employees in the organization. However, it is likely that the position or the company may not be a great fit for this particular person and, in that case, discuss transitioning them out of the company.

Thankfully the good news is that peer pressure is not always a bad thing. If you are a manager, learning how peer pressure works can be helpful in doing good. Here is what’s possible:

Peer pressure doesn’t always work

An overemphasis on conformity via peer pressure can stifle innovation, growth, and transformation. If staff members under-perform for fear of negative repercussions from co-workers, your organization will suffer. Leaders, within such organizations, must stamp this out or be willing to live with the standard mediocrity that results.

Conventional logic assumes that an employee is more likely to take part in an activity if they hear that their friends or coworkers are doing it. This is not always so. It might actually dissuade them instead because they realize that others are so far ahead of them financially.

When peer pressure is social and public, it’s more powerful

The power of peer pressure varies depending on the incentives. However, if the incentive is a known cooperative effort of some sort, employees would feel some peer pressure to take part in that particular activity. But if the cooperative effort is not made public, then no one feels any pressure to take part in the activity, no matter what the incentive is provided.

Using Peer Reviews

Simply speaking it is co-worker assessments that can serve as a motivator for your employees to perform at optimal levels. Colleagues have the opportunity to rate one another on teamwork, collaboration, and group efforts. Employees know their evaluation is tied to the perception of their co-workers. Workers who are irresponsible, don’t perform at adequate levels and have a negative effect on the team are far more likely to be judged harshly than those who are respectful and take a dedicated approach to teamwork.

Create Positive peer pressure for good

Peer pressure is known to have a negative connotation. For a manager, it can be a powerful tool but only when used for good. Some of the most successful programs attempting to implement large-scale social change use a variety of positive peer-pressure based strategy. 

This can be done by using office programs that encourage positive social change, but in a team environment, like through a company wellness program where employees compete for incentives and prizes. Doing this helps avoid singling out people but still give everyone a reason to participate as a group. Competing as a team makes people feel like they have permission to make changes.