Oftentimes, in the workplace, it is all about the bottom line and not about employee happiness. But what if making your employees happier was the secret to making more money?
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BoldBiz: Jeff Kreisler – The Science of People at Work

Editor in Chief of PeopleScience, Jeff Kreisler joined #BoldBiz to discuss behavioral science in the work workplace!

Posted by BoldTV on Monday, April 23, 2018

People Science, and Their Editor in Chief, Jeff Kreisler

There is a new (or relatively new) movement affecting the business world and the workplace. It is focused on forging a meaningful and effective relationship between behavioral Science and business practices. And it isn’t a gushy movement either — studies have borne out that happier employees make more money, work harder, have more energy and use less vacation and sick time. People Science is a platform that is encouraging and elevating the dialogue about how to better forge this as-of-now still fragile relationship between business and psychology.

How does Kreisler suggest BS be applied (unfortunate acronym)?

The question is not “Does behavioral science have a part to play in business, and can it be useful for businesses to apply to customers, clients and employees?” This much is already proven to be a resounding “yes.” The question is “precisely how can behavioral psychology be applied?” To this point, People Science and Kreisler have some ideas: Although many small companies already are beginning to utilize these psychology practices (Kreisler mentions Silicon Valley, for instance), many larger businesses are still wary. Understandably so, according to Kreisler. Not because BS doesn’t work but because big businesses have more money at stake than smaller companies. To gain their trust, as it were, Kreisler hopes testing can be done on a larger scale to convince big businesses that it is in their best interest, ethically and monetarily, to prioritize their employees’ happiness. He hopes to convince these businesses to create a chief behavioral officer position in their offices as well.

What is a chief behavioral officer?

A chief behavioral officer is essentially “a bridge.” Specifically, a bridge between a company’s existing business practices and the new psychobehavioral-based practices that People Science advocates. Kreisler says that “all business is about people” ultimately, and due to the fact that business is a people science, we must understand human nature to truly excel and understand business. Or, at least to understand it well. Kreisler believes that human nature cannot be changed, but he does believe it can be studied and understood.  A science such as behavioral science thus can be adopted that appeals to our human nature in advantageous ways.

To give a concrete example of how behavioral sciences can be applied, Kreisler mentions a study that was done at a run-of-the-mill, standard call-center. The employees there were engaged in calling universities to ask for donations that would then be given to certain students who were in need of a little monetary assistance. The study shows that those employees who received letters from students thanking them, and telling them how much the money helped them, performed almost twice as well as those employees who did not receive letters of thanks and appreciation.

Millennials and behavioral psychology

“Are millennials responsible for the rise in behavioral psychology?” co-host David Grasso asked Chrysler. While Kreisler declined to speak specifically about generational differences, he does mention that “millennials definitely have a real curiosity about why things happen, and that is what behavioral science is [about].” Millennials, Chrysler added, “crave purpose.”

Takeaway

Studies have shown that behavioral science works. Making employees happier has a direct impact on management’s (and companies’) wallets — and how much money is in them! So separating a company’s bottom line targets and the happiness of their employees into two distinct goals is fast becoming an outdated, antiquated business ideology. The two cannot be separated. Or, at least, the modern business leader would be wise not to separate the two.

Kreisler closes with a touching anecdote: At the time of the first moon landing, a janitor at NASA (janitor being, stereotypically, not the most inspiring job position) was asked “What do you do here?” The janitor, with a smile on his face, replied: “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

That janitor’s smile just might be the point, in a nutshell, that behavioral psychologists are trying to make here.

 

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Posted 04.30.2018 - 08:00 am EDT