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The Rise of Behaviorism at Work

4/24/2016

Mike Klein posted an interesting article about a panel he hosted at the Eurocomm#16 conference which was held in Rotterdam last week.  The title was “Bury the Engagement Survey” but what struck me was that the article was really addressing the issue of behavior in the workplace. Historically, a company could set a policy and largely mandate employee behavior. Times have changed.

At the root of the issue is how to you influence behavior i.e. the choice to engage (or not) – with brute force by setting policies? Or, by influencing behavior in a positive way that motivates a person to opt in.  It is becoming clear that mandating behavior by policy is no longer effective. Today, employees live in a consumer-driven world that offers choices for just about everything. The expectation of choice not only impacts their behavior outside the office, but sets a similar expectation for the business environment as well. Many companies haven’t recognized this fundamental shift in expectations and then don’t understand why they can’t get employees to truly engage with their company. While there are multiple reasons why an employee may choose to not engage, a lack of understanding about the role behavior plays is a major factor.

Behaviorism is something that advertisers have always inherently understood.  If they want to sell their product, they need to change the buyer’s behavior and in order to do that, they have to make a case that motivates they buyer to opt-in. Their success is based upon their ability to change a person’s behavior.  Today, it’s no different for a company.  It’s our belief that a company’s ability to achieve a truly engaged workforce is directly connected to their ability to motivate employees to change their behavior and opt-in.

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