I come across a lot of interesting stuff in my Twitter timeline. I follow too many interesting people you see. Mostly, though, there are too many clever people out there studying the human condition in a plethora of ways which I try to understand better. Even topics like SEO and politics inform how we as humans interact, react and connect. We’re just becoming more and more sophisticated about lots of facets of life. For some, this is too much. We are getting too sophisticated about too many things and no one can possibly understand everything. For sure I don’t understand nearly enough about particle physics and applied mathematics and what actuaries actually do.
But the topics I am coming across are constantly keeping my (short-attention spanned) brain very much fired up. Behavioural economics has been on my mind for a long time. It’s a topic of interest that David D’Souza and I are interested in and we have some good academic discussions about it.
What is it?
Behavioural econonics is about offering people a choice of this or that, and encouraging them to take positive action.
Give me an example.
If organ donors are asked to opt out of being a donor, the registered rate is 80% against asking people to opt in.
Give me another example.
If you send a text message to people asking them to pay their bill, you get a higher payment rate than sending a letter or email.
Isn’t this just clever marketing?
In a way, yes. More than that, though, it’s about encouraging people to do a positive action, with the option of least resistance, and still allows for people to not act.
Where you going with this, Sukh?
I’m interested to start exploring how do we use the concept of ‘nudging’ and applying it in HR practises.
You know what’s a pain? Annual appraisals. Forget for a moment that there are other ways to hold performance reviews, what would thinking from a behavioural economics perspective bring to this problem faced by thousands of companies across the world?
Let’s take the problem of completing the requisite documentation that accompanies a review meeting. Normal incentives include hitting 100% completion rate and showing off to the business. Or HR beat managers round the head for not completing the documentation hoping it’ll result in completed documentation.
A BE perspective might suggest that we create a leaderboard for the organisation/department for completed documents. I don’t think that’s clever enough, possibly belittles the process and is a bit like gamification.
One of the regular problems L&Ders face is a lack of attendance – be that online or face to face. Engagement with the learning content aside, the normal way to deal with this is to beat the manager over the head for not supporting their team member to attend the training hoping that this will encourage better behaviour in the future.
A BE perspective might suggest that we send a personalised text message / social media message to the individual the day before saying something like “Hi Bob, we look forward to have you in the xxx session tomorrow”. That’s too basic an answer and I don’t think it’s well thought through.
I’m at proper early doors with my thinking on the application of BE to workplace stuff.