Won’t Do What You Tell Me – But I’ll Do What You ‘Nudge’ Me
HR departments, Bersin says, operate based on the idea that people will do what you tell them to do.
“A lot of the things that happen in HR are directed activities designed by HR departments on behalf of management, and we expect people to do them because they have been told to do them,” Bersin says. “So you tell someone to fill out a form, come to an interview, answer these questions, take this course, log your hours – whatever it is.”
HR also tends to think – as we all do – that people will do things that are good for them. So it seems like telling an employee to take a particular training course should work right? After all: HR told them to take it, and the course will be good for their career.
Whereas HR assumes that we will do things that are good for us because we are told to do them, behavioral economics realizes that this isn’t always the case. Instead, behavioral economics takes a different approach, using “nudges” or suggestions to encourage people to do things that are good for them – even if they would not normally do those things.
HR departments at other organizations can bring behavioral economics into their operations by remembering two simple rules: It’s always better to simplify things, and you should let the crowd lead the way.
These principles are especially effective in the recruiting process.
Crowd-following can lead to more efficient recruiting processes, too. Instead of chasing candidates down for information, HR and recruiting teams can nudge candidates to submit all their materials in a timely fashion.
“So, rather than saying, ‘Please take a photocopy of your driver’s license and fax it to this number,’ you might say something like ’92 percent of our candidates fax their driver’s licenses to this number within the first two days of applying,’” Bersin explains. “So, you’re not saying ‘You have to do this.’ You’re just saying, ‘Most people do it, so maybe, if you want to get a job here, you should do it, too.’”
– The fact is that we’re all overwhelmed these days. Employees, HR pros, recruiters, candidates: We’re all subject to the always-on nature of our hyperconnected world. Often, this leads us to shirk some of our duties – to skip an engagement survey here, abandon a job application without submitting it there. But HR and recruiting teams can combat this state of affairs simply by adopting the tenets of behavioral economics.
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