Four ways you can use technology to encourage positive wellbeing behaviours
The link between employee wellbeing and productivity, both due to issues such as absenteeism and because unhappy workers don’t perform to the best of their ability, is well documented and widely understood.
As Sir Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology at Alliance Manchester Business School, says in a recent report: “Placing health and wellbeing at the heart of business strategy makes perfect sense – it will help to improve productivity, improve staff retention and reduce presenteeism.”
But wellbeing initiatives can only boost productivity levels if they convince people to make constructive changes that improve how they feel.
That’s why current CIPD advice is for all employees to “be encouraged to have a good self-care routine including a healthy approach to diet, relaxation, and sleep”.
Convincing people to ditch bad habits such as smoking or overspending and take on positive new behaviours such as exercising and investing is easier said than done, though. The key to achieving this lies in using behavioural psychology to steer people in the right direction.
“More and more Reward teams are recognising that incorporating behavioural psychology into their process creates more effective propositions and more compelling communications,” says Paul Davies, behavioural psychologist at Behaviour Consulting. And harnessing the power of the latest technology is one of the easiest ways to integrate behavioural science into your wellbeing strategy.
Here are four ways the right technology can help encourage colleagues to make tangible, positive changes that improve their health and wellbeing.
1. Creating a convenient environment
Convenience is crucial when it comes to sales. Even if a product is not the best on the market, being the most convenient can elevate it to the top spot. And making decisions is no different.
If someone wants to get to grips with their investments, for example, a big hurdle could be having to interact with multiple service providers and remember multiple logins.
But with the right technology, you can offer colleagues the transactional tools to manage all their investments via one platform, even if they are provided by multiple providers.
2. Keeping things simple
While workers need information to help make the right decisions, providing too much information in one go can be a big turn off.
“People who are not yet contemplating any new action need to be introduced carefully to why doing something differently will help them,” Davies says. “Too much information too soon will have the reverse effect.”
A better approach is therefore to break the decision-making process into smaller chunks, which helps to give users a sense of achievement and makes them more comfortable because the decisions seem smaller.
“Technology can be a very effective way to make something simple, but it’s not going to work if the content fails to provide customers with a sense of progress,” Davies adds.
“The aim is to suggest simple steps that give the user a sense of progressing to a better outcome.”
3. Demonstrating rather than preaching
While done with the best intentions, important messages such as that the value of shares may go down as well as up can scare users into paralysis.
“Once people are contemplating doing something, don’t make the mistake of attempting to educate them,” Davies warns. “This can lead to the ‘circle of contemplation’ that delays action indefinitely.”
Tech solutions can help avoid this by using different techniques to explain the pros and cons. For share prices, for example, they could illustrate the risks and returns available by modelling historic market trends.
4. Streamlining communications
The ability to use employee data to define when tell colleagues about different benefits is one of the biggest advantages offered by benefits technology.
From filtering out irrelevant content that will only clog up their inboxes to framing useful messages in a way that will resonate with individual employees, this is where tech really comes into its own.
What’s more, the longer you use certain programmes, and the more data you gather on the workforce, the greater your insight and the better your communications and outcomes are likely to be.
It’s a great argument for investing in high-quality software sooner rather than later.
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