Big title, simple concept – social proof is ’a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour for a given situation; in other words people watch what others do, consider it the ‘norm’ and emulate it to fit in.
What does this mean for an organisation trying to bring it’s values to life? If you can highlight to employees when a set of people in the organisation are displaying the behaviours associated with your values, it helps to reinforce these as the ‘norm’.
That ‘set of people’ may be the majority, or may be a significant minority; either will exert influence over what actions/behaviours others will follow.
The question then becomes how can you shine a light on those people who are demonstrating your organisational behaviours on a day-to-day basis?
As you might imagine there are many ways you could do this and would be very dependent on particular aspects of how your organisation operates; some companies have awards, some share their own stories at weekly team meetings, some identify bright spots and broadcast them via the intranet – and if you make talking about behaviours the norm, then that further reinforces the chance you have ensuring your desired behaviours and company values stay really take root.