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Changing Company Culture One Nudge at a Time

Cultural change within an organization poses a unique challenge because sustained behavioral change is hard even when you desire the change. To achieve this successfully, the right method is required, with time and effort being two necessary components for real change.

What is Nudging?

Nudging is an effective behavioral technique that outsmarts your unconscious bias and makes decision-making easier by giving you a gentle push to make the best choice.  Nudges can be used in many ways, for example, organizations focused on health, may put healthy snacks at eye level to make it easier for employees to make a healthy decision. In Inclusion work, the practice of blind resumes, void of indicators of gender, or race, interrupt the default bias towards dominant groups in the hiring process.  The nudging technique is a stepping stone towards a cultural change within the work environment.

Why Nudging?

Often in inclusion work, people focus on who we have a bias against, but in the workplace, more often it is the unconscious affinity bias for people like yourself that creates inequities for those who are under-represented. These affinity biases are built into our systems, therefore nudges are about understanding how the unconscious mind operates and designing systems and tools that will help align our behavior with our intentions.  Human psychology plays a vital role, employees prefer to be nudged in the right direction instead of micromanaged and simply told what to do. Nudges use positive reinforcement and gradual change of habits through simple behavioral motivators.  Practices like having people write down their ideas prior to a meeting, and reviewing all perspectives, can interrupt our cultural bias for extroverts,  and make sure that all voices are heard, not just the loudest voices. Nudges are an approach to systemic change that is positive and benefits everyone involved.

The Benefits of Nudging

This method is successful because it chunks the change into bite-size pieces that are easily incorporated into a habit.  If nudging is done right, inclusion becomes the default option–the easy decision to make, based on subtle changes in the content or context of how decisions are presented.

Since the nudges are beneficial for the individual’s own well being and growth, it avoids many of the side effects of strong mandates that force large-scale change. Controlling or punishing employees usually leads to a lack of motivation and defiance-contributing to stress. Nudges maintain the freedom of choice while motivating people through positive incentives and positive results, producing a chain reaction– engaged employees lead to satisfied customers. 

Nudges are a low-resource way to introduce gradual cultural change, where employees can thrive and grow.  Nudges can be introduced at any point into a company’s culture due to its subtle nature. The power of this technique has proven to be effective where positive transformations in people’s behavior begin to take hold as a habit. What starts inside the company at first, eventually becomes visible on the outside as well. The same is true in terms of the effects on the entire organization; both employers and employees start to feel a positive shift where all parties are benefiting. The behavioral change starts within the individual and,  with time, becomes deeply rooted within the normal practice, creating a sustainable change on a fundamental level. This is as a result of a change in people’s blueprint and root habits.

Eskalera’s Employee Experience platform integrates the behavioral science of nudging through it’s cutting edge HR technology. With the ability to both measure your workplace culture and nudge behavior towards building an inclusive culture.   The on-going learning nudges help to develop a growth mindset and to identify possible unconscious biases that have a negative impact on hiring, development, and advancement. Cultural organizational change is often difficult to achieve without a deeper knowledge of human behavior. Eskalera’s in-depth knowledge of behavioral economics and neuroscience supports behavior change that ultimately results in culture change.   The future of work is changing and employees value a work environment where there is real growth – both personal and professional.

Contact us to learn more ways you can foster an inclusive workplace.