Five behavioral ‘nudges’ to help drive culture change in your organization

This piece was first published on AMEC.

Let’s be honest: change is hard.

Whether it’s keeping up that new fitness regime or helping your colleagues to use a new tool, we are hard wired to resist disruption to our daily routine.

But with 70% of AMEC members reporting that clients are asking for increasingly sophisticated types of evaluation (rising to 92% of agency members!) it’s hard to argue that businesses need to adapt their approach to measurement.

Much of the lift sits with specialists to develop the approach you’ll use toward measurement and evaluation in your organization. Once you’ve done that, however, is when the work really begins. Because developing an offering is only part of the battle – you also need to drive change within your organization and get people using it.

So how can you make change stick in your organization? Here are five behavioral science nudges to get you started.

1. Keep it simple.

Our brains have limited cognitive capacity; there’s only so much information we can process. Because of this, on a subconscious level we tend to avoid anything that feels like a hassle. We default to simplicity. Therefore, we can create positive behavior change by making smart measurement easy, and the problematic behaviors more difficult.

To make this work, think about the internal environment impact and the tools and processes you are changing. Look for opportunities to make good measurement the easier route.

For example: offer custom metrics or options for tying to sales triggers on the website before you engage around AVEs; package your services rather than presenting them in a menu; or have clear and easy to share materials on measurement available for everyone in the agency.

2. Prove “everyone else is doing it.”

 Communicate a positive social norm. We intuitively copy the behavioral of others around us, especially people we perceive as like us. Or, in more simple terms: we’re social animals, and are much more likely to do something if we think others are also doing it.

Peer-to-peer engagement and manager activity is critical to successful change. Consider who your champions will be internally – and not just within the senior leadership team! – and arm them with proof.

3. Make it personal.

Keeping communications around measurement personal is important because our emotions are influenced by the “IKEA effect” – we want to feel involved in something rather than feeling something has been compelled upon us. Otherwise we will not be as motivated to act in a new way.

Similar to the peer-to-peer strategy, think about how you can work directly with teams to support their measurement needs. Evaluation at its core is always personal so helping them see specifically what you can do to make their work better is a really powerful tool.

4. Show momentum.

Psychologically, a sense of momentum and progress is very powerful: we are much more likely to change our behavior when we feel as if we’re in the middle of a journey, rather than at the start of one.

Show teams the level of progress already made towards better measurement in order to boost engagement and drive further change. Retailers do this very effectively by giving you a loyalty card with two stamps already filled in, making you feel like you’re en route to the end goal so you keep putting in the effort.

So how can you do it? Prove progress by showing immediate benefits. Share examples of great work you’re doing for clients (and the results that prove it out). Hero those who are championing measurement in your organization. Which brings us nicely on to the next point …

 5. Recognize + incentivize.

Recognition is so important to bringing people along the journey. From senior management to your most junior team members, make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate – and is duly rewarded for their part.

How to make this work in practice? We’re more likely to follow-through with a good intention if we have made a promise to do so.  Considering commitment-making through gamification or at in-person meetings. Engage leadership in this and be sure to follow up. People are more likely to commit if they know action is being watched and rewarded.

There you have it: five tried and true ‘nudges’ to help drive measurement adoption in your organisation. So do get started. Haven’t you heard – everyone else is already doing it?

by Allison Spray, Global Head of Data + Analytics@

Please contact Eleni Constantinidi for more information.