Cultivate workplace engagement with nudge theory

Examples of nudge theory in action

Healthcare is one area of public life that is often connected with nudge theory. In their book, Thaler and Sunstein suggested that a way to increase the number of organ donors would be to introduce a program where the renewal of a driver’s license also depended on the applicant saying whether or not they would like to be an organ donor.

14 steps to creating an effective comms strategy

Build an internal communication strategy that drives workplace engagement with our simple guide.

Companies use nudges too

Nudge theory in the workplace

As with any other community, workplaces are drastically influenced by the behavior of people within them. If every employee chooses to drop litter on the floor, the office quickly turns into a giant dumpster, visitors take away a terrible impression, and mental sloppiness may also creep into everyone’s work.

14 steps to creating an effective comms strategy

Build an internal communication strategy that drives workplace engagement with our simple guide.

  • Placing more taps and water coolers where workers can easily access them.
  • Offering free fruit in prominent office locations.
  • Displaying nutritional information in the workplace cafeteria so that people know what they are consuming.
  • Limiting online meetings to 25 minutes rather than 30 so that people have a chance to stretch their legs in between.

How to use nudge theory to increase workplace engagement

#1 Let’s get quizzical

Trivia quizzes focused on company culture and information can add a fun, competitive element to internal comms. Instead of having quizzes about general knowledge or current events, make them specific to the news that’s happening in your organization and encourage colleagues to keep abreast of new developments so they can win.

  • Which new starter’s dog is called Lil BowWow?
  • What’s the location of our newest office?
  • How many customers did we acquire in March?

14 steps to creating an effective comms strategy

Build an internal communication strategy that drives workplace engagement with our simple guide.

#2 The paradox of choice

Although it’s hard to believe when we’re triumphantly cruising the supermarket aisles and marveling at the choices, having too many options can be negative too. Swamping people with a superabundance of information can cause them to procrastinate and then fail to act.

#3 Encourage serendipity

One problem with hybrid and remote work models is that they decrease the number of serendipitous encounters that occur when lots of colleagues gather in an office or other location.

14 steps to creating an effective comms strategy

Build an internal communication strategy that drives workplace engagement with our simple guide.

#4 The niggling incompletion of less than 100%

Most people, especially new starters, want to show that they’re completing everything that’s asked of them. Understandably, they don’t want to leave things at 75% when 100% could be achieved. This can be a useful thing to know when designing communications nudges that will encourage greater workplace engagement.

#5 Nudge creativity or productivity through design

Nudge theory and design are old bedfellows. From coins decals that stop littering to fun stairwells that encourage people to walk more, clever design can engage users and prompt them to make positive decisions.

A final thought on honesty and nudge theory

It’s important to note that although nudges have become commonplace in daily life — and are routinely used by marketers — it may be wise to consider being honest about nudging staff before going full-bore on any plans.

14 steps to creating an effective comms strategy

Build an internal communication strategy that drives workplace engagement with our simple guide.

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