Are you familiar with the term “nudge”? Here comes an example of a nudge for you. We call it a nudge when we use a way of persuading someone to choose a better/alternative option for them by presenting different insights on a particular situation. We usually use it to encourage “good” behaviours!
Employers can give employees some helpful nudges as Thaler and Sunstein explain in their 2008 book entitled “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness”! Sekoul Krastev of behavioural science think tank The Decision Lab, summarises the potential positive impact of using a nudge approach in our HR Strategy: “At its base nudging is a highly empathetic process… nudgers try to understand what pushes people to feel and perform at their best, and then tries to correct the existing environment in order to unlock this potential. Given how disengaged employees are on average, I would say that the concept of nudging, applied in an ethical, sustainable and scalable way, represents one of the largest untapped opportunities in HR management.”
A practical example from the Business World comes from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) which uses nudges to help prevent burn out amongst their employees. They introduced a pop-up window that appears whenever managers/supervisors send emails after hours. The nudge actually comes up when the managers/supervisors need a reminder that their after-hours email may create unnecessary stress to their team members; it does not block their ability to send an email but gives them the choice to mark it as either “low priority” or “schedule send” for the next day. What a relief for employees to know that they don’t need to reply right away to their boss? What a great way to support work-life balance and employee wellbeing across the board without leaving it to each manager’s discretion?
So, maybe the introduction of nudges can help HR achieve behavioural changes in decision making, stress management, wellness initiatives and many more.
Food for Thought for HR and Seniors Leaders alike!