Using technology to change behaviour

Manish Vara, Consultant

Manish Headshot

Using technology to change behaviour

Manish Vara, Consultant

If there’s one question everyone asks about change, it’s “how do I get people to adopt it?”

You’ve launched the new system, process, or product – but your employees are still doing things the same way they always have. They persist with the clunky manual workarounds they always used to complain about, or refuse to sell the new product because it requires them to change their daily habits.

In this next expert series, we focus on behavioural change, with a specific look at how a tool like Onsophic can help you nudge people to change their ways, step by step.

You need the why and the what

There are two parts to implementing change; the process or system change itself, and the business readiness for it. However well-prepared people are for a ‘new’ way of working, habit drives what they actually do. And changing our habits takes regular practice.

All too often, data analysis can show you exactly what is and isn’t happening. But it doesn’t tell you why. We recently started using Onsophic to help us find the levers that cause people to change their habits, and to nudge them along the path that will embed your new system or process more quickly, and with less friction.

Inform – don’t substitute – human interaction

Tools like this are not designed to replace human interaction, but to inform it. Onsophic gives managers and employees a view of the same data to fuel a more honest and fruitful discussion about what is and isn’t changing and why. The best use is when both parties use it to form a contract for the behavioural change required at a team and individual level. This is best scoped in the early business readiness stages of your change programme, not left to the end.

We always use Onsophic alongside other techniques – such as pulse checks, training and benefits logs – to embed change more fully. We find that a mix of technical nudges and human conversations have the best impact, and we plan for both. It’s a great tool to use in the period when you’re transitioning from project to business as usual – which we call Hypercare.

But just as with any good human manager, you need the technology to praise and encourage people for what they are doing, not just highlight the areas to ‘do better’. It’s designed to prompt people to undertake the right behaviours each week – so those changes become second nature.

Push on what’s working to build traction

Onsophic can identify which process goals or tasks are most regularly missed and link those back to the impact on a performance indicators like risk, cost or revenue. What’s most important is its ability to look at whether your change has been embraced at an individual level.

Imagine you’ve implemented a new CRM system. You can see that 50% of people are not inputting any notes or call data. How do you know whether that’s because they are still tracking their sales conversations on a spreadsheet, or because they’re actually struggling to have the client conversations that would trigger the need to input any data. Those are very different ‘whys’ and require different solutions and help from managers.

What the technology allows us to do is help you map out the consistent actions and behaviours that will build to your goals, and create nudges for different tasks – and people – along the way.

Start with the beginning in mind

Whilst you need to know the tasks, triggers and lead/lag indicators across the full end-to-end process, don’t be too ambitious with what you track initially. Start by nudging the first step that people have to go through, get traction with that, and then track the next. Whilst everyone needs to keep the end in mind, people’s behaviour will probably change one step at a time. If you need a new form completed, nudge first that they actually open it!

Ask yourself, “what’s the one thing that person can do more of to start or maintain their change in behaviour?” Using this data to get peer teams sharing tips can also be useful and makes Onsophic something that adds value to people, not simply mandates compliance.

Link with company and personal goals

Whether you use a tool like Onsophic or not, one of the biggest barriers to changing behaviour is when that desired change is in conflict with someone’s personal, team or company targets.

This is why we work with clients first to understand what’s important for each stakeholder, which issues are the most critical to resolve, and which targets and KPIs will need to change, before we design a new process and even consider what you need to nudge.

Our advice would be to tailor the KPIs to the behaviours and outcomes you want not the other way around.

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