Updated: Aug 30
This article discuss how behavioral science could be applied into business settings, specifically describing behavioral science approach towards guiding a group to obtain their common goal of success.
Despite in depth research conducted over the past several decades, there is still limited (yet expanding) understanding of behavioral science in the workplace. Behavioral science explores the area of human’s insight as well as other antecedent of different behaviors and reactions. The body of knowledge covers several school of thoughts including but not exhausted to social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, personality and neuroscience.
For the past decade, the insight provided by behavioral science has started to be applied in the workplace. As behavioral science explores human and their behavior, the insights are beneficial and applicable in different areas in work settings. This article will be focusing on some of the areas such as recruitment, employee engagement, performance, company culture and leadership.
Within the realm of recruitment, behavioral science shed a light onto our innate tendency to rely on our personal biases and heuristics. In which individuals’ perceptions and judgement are subjective to their personal beliefs and values based on their live experiences, which is not necessarily objective to the particular context. Without disregarding the importance of heuristics / mental shortcuts, or often referred to as ‘intuition,’ recruiters are advised not to completely rely on their intuition but rather bracket their intuition so that they could have a more objective perceptions across the broad areas of other influencing factors upon hiring decision (Klein, 2003).
On top of perception and hiring decisions, behavioral science also suggested a slightly different approach towards employee assessment method. Research findings suggest one’s tendency to perform better in a context with low to medium stress level (Hills, 2014). Thus, interviewers might need to readjust their interview approach to assess candidates’ full potentials, as compared to candidates’ ability in a stressful and anxiety-driven interview context (Robinson, Vytal, Cornwell, & Grillon, 2013).
Employee Engagement and Performance
Furthermore, the body of research also suggested individuals’ uniqueness and that each individual has different needs, motivations and values. These three (3) factors are important in organization setting as it influences workers’ motivation which would influence their performance. Workers would be more likely to perform better when their needs and values are met by their work environment. According to behavioral science approach, understanding workers’ needs and aspiration is the base line that should be followed by slightly adjusted management style and approach to each worker to ensure high performance and engagement.
Understanding each workers’ needs and aspirations might be trickier in a bigger organization. However, a different approach might play a bigger part in ensuring workers engagement and performance in a bigger organization. Instead of adjusting management and group processes according to individuals’ needs and aspirations, bigger organizations could try to align their workers’ values, goals and group processes by inspiring workers to align as well as integrate their values and aspirations into the organization’s common goal.
As the human brains is wired to connect, an open and inclusive culture is proposed to be one of the most important core values of organizational culture. In an open and inclusive culture, team members are encouraged to have an open, two-ways communication which would both strengthen team work and performance.
The organization culture mentioned above would not be possible to be constructed and reinforced throughout an organization without a proper support and aligned leadership. Leaders are encouraged to prompt their team to have open communication and learn to understand each other. As each individual possesses unique qualities, motivation, needs, aspirations and values, contextual leadership is also encouraged. Aligned with Positivism approach towards workplace, leaders should be able to recognize their team member’s strengths and assist them to capitalize on them whilst working on reducing their weaknesses.
Also, take a look on this book recommendation list on behavioral science.