Workpoints

Friday, 30 September 2016

Decision making biases - some behavioural insights

What we’ve learned from behavioural studies and behavioural economics is that decision making is not always a rational process – shocking, I know. While that might sound ridiculously obvious, the extent to which decision making is swindled by external and internal influences remains underestimated, and it continues to mislead people in their daily decision making.

We all have two inherent decision making processes that are constantly at ends with each other. Kahneman[1] explains that the first part is an automatic response associated with fast decision making: good for survival, but it also prompts immediate gratification which is usually irrational and short-sighted. The second part is a slower, more logical, form of decision making that is more rational. The decision making techniques applied to the present (“today”) competes with the more calculating part of the brain that is dominant during longer term decision making processes[2]. This contradiction causes a time inconsistency in decision making. In short, it explains the reason for all those failed good intentions we know so well:  “I will only stay for one drink”. Immediate gratification is a real threat to rational decision making.


Pic credit: www.demilked.com

Another little obstacle we face is that we like to believe that we are quite objective and good intuitive statisticians. The fact that this isn’t true is a bitter pills to swallow. We unconsciously apply biases and heuristics to situations that taint our decision making.

The point I’m trying to make? The contexts in which individuals can make decisions becomes important when you want to understand the complexity of behaviour in organisations[3]. We need to be aware of the flaws in our own thought processing so that we can improve our own decision making and that of the groups and organisations we function in. 

Have a look at this sample of common heuristics and biases that we fall victim to[4]:

·       Anchoring and adjustment : Choice is anchored and adjusted from known values
We use initial information as an anchor for opinions.  We then adjust subsequent opinions according to additional information received, however, subsequent opinions always land closer to the anchor than it would have had there been no anchor. Ouch!
·    Availability: Judgement about the frequency of an event is based on how easily one can recall similar instances
Basically our brains convince us that “if you can think of it, it must be important[5]”. The ease with which we can recall information forms our opinion on the importance thereof. Ease of recollection is increased by the frequency of information or the salience of the event... if the Kardashians are on every magazine, surely they should be important right?
·      Conformity: Choice is driven by a desire to conform to norms
We generally align our actions to conform to the perceived code of conduct of the environment we find ourselves in.

Behavioural decision theories are extremely powerful when applied in an intentional manner in our own lives, in creating a group culture, or to team decision making. Creating organisational cultural norms can encourage individuals to make value adding decision that are in line with organisational objectives and values.

Author

Estée Roodt (MCom Industrial Psychology)
Estée is part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our keen researcher, our problem-solver and our number one sports star.


Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. 

Visit www.workpoints.co.za for more info and a free trial!


References

Duflo, E. & Banerjee, A. (2012). Poor Economics. United Kingdom: Penguin Books Ltd.

Kahneman, Daniel, 1934-. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Malina, M. A., & Selto, F. H. (2015). Behavioral-economic nudges and performance measurement models. Journal of Management Accounting Research, 27(1), 27–45. http://doi.org/10.2308/jmar-50821




[1] Kahneman (2011)
[2] Duflo & Banerjee (2012)
[3] Malina & Selto (2015)
[4] Malina & Selto (2015)
[5] Malina & Selto (2015)

Thursday, 29 September 2016

16 Personality Types? More than 25 Reward Types!

Whether its for birthdays or employee rewards, as an HR staff member, have you found yourself running around buying vouchers to drop off on desks? As an employee, have you been the recipient of a voucher, that although the sentiment is appreciated, you simply pass it on to your wife or mother-in-law? With Workpoints, we believe in allowing individuals to choose their own rewards.


Our extensive voucher store not only caters for a variety of choices, but we’ve ensured that there is something that appeals to all the different personality types. No matter the personality assessment you use, we are all aware that there are different personality types amongst our employees. Take “The Giver” for example, also known as an “ENFP”. This is a person who typically focuses their energy on the well being of others, someone who feels satisfied and gains inner peace within themselves by giving. Our Donations partner facilitates their desire to help others, and in turn leaves the individual with a feeling that their efforts have contributed to the well being of another person, thereby ‘making it all worth it’.

Let’s look at another personality type where typically a more introverted focus is taken and one who feels the best value one can get is to invest in your own future. For these individuals, we have GetSmarter; an institution that partners with leading universities to offer a portfolio of short courses and postgraduate programs. If you are the type that feels money is for saving or investing rather than spending, we have EasyEquities, where you can choose to invest your points in shares from a selection of JSE listed companies, or make use of the tax free savings account.

If you prefer to live a little everyday, with our retailers in the grocery, pharmaceutical, restaurant, and entertainment space, you’re bound to find something that satisfies you where you feel rewarded for your efforts, and ultimately appreciated for your contribution and hard work.


Our voucher store continues to grow and there are often new and exciting partners added.

Which personality type are you and how would you spend your points?


Author

Amanda Mohr (BCom Industrial Psychology, Honours)

Amanda is part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our client advice giver, our multitasker and our personal shopper.




Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. Visit www.workpoints.co.za for more info and a free trial!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Employee Engagement: Don't Up Staff, Up Your Staff!

We all know employee engagement is important. We all desire great stats or an improvement in performance. We set off on a mission to measure levels of engagement, with the best intentions of encouraging an engaged workforce and thereby improving productivity. We send out surveys promising that ‘we value your opinion’. We then responsibly convey the results to management and the company and then… we don’t know always what to do about the problem areas that employees have identified.



Every individual in your organisation is a human being (yes, it’s true) with their own needs. Maslow talks about the various levels of individuals’ needs and many people have related his theories to the workplace. Hertzberg reckons that you have to have the basics in place (or else you’re in trouble) and he goes on to say there are other groups of factors that actually get people moving. What else do we know about keeping people happy, motivating them and ensuring their needs are met? Well, we know that everyone is the star of their own story. People experience their own reality and whether or not they think they need it, everyone enjoys personal recognition and acknowledgement, even of the smallest achievements or events.

So in a nut shell, people are complex creatures and the environment in the workplace affects all individuals. I’m sure we all agree that the aim is to develop an environment where people are motivated and energised, where responsibility and accountability are habitual, where employees collaborate and are truly involved in their work and thus (drum roll)… a culture of high performance is created. Which brings us precisely back to the beginning of this topic and why we measure employee engagement. The problem here lies in how to tackle the problem areas that have been reported and how do we maintain a level of consistent happiness amongst our staff members.

If we explore the levels according to Maslow, the organisation can address the basic needs through ensuring employees have the fundamental equipment and resources required to their job as well as ensuring a safe and comfortable office environment (which may include aspects such as safe parking facilities for example). Communicating job security and ensuring remuneration packages are market related are other aspects of basic needs. Managers should encourage friendships amongst co-workers as this is an important part of an individual’s daily life and assists in addressing one’s social needs for belonging. A company culture that supports and encourages these relationships can be facilitated through encouraging peers to acknowledge each other’s work as well as finding out more about each other, organising and attending team get-togethers and so on. Good relationships amongst co-workers means a more collaborative workforce, and one that deals with conflict management in an emotionally intelligent manner. A need for esteem, status, recognition and commendation of one’s work should be catered for and attended to on a frequent basis. One award at the end of the year is not sufficient for most, but particularly not for our millennial generation who favour frequent feedback and need to feel that their efforts are noticed, appreciated and are contributing to organisation. The need for self actualisation, albeit a very personal feeling or state, can be addressed in the workplace through aspects such as creative success or challenging work. A feeling of satisfaction around an impressive achievement or one’s contribution to a cause can certainly influence a person’s current state of self actualisation.

Bearing in mind that all needs require attention and simultaneously for that matter. The satisfaction of one need does not mean that it replaces or removes the need for attention to another. Where the absence of something may lead to dissatisfaction, the presence of something else does not necessarily lead to satisfaction, but rather avoids dissatisfaction. The power of a truly engaged workforce can have an enormous impact on the productivity and success of a business and an actively disengaged employee is something worth actively preventing.

Some questions to keep in mind include: How are you addressing the results from your engagement survey? What are you going to put in place to encourage engagement through the right culture? How do you plan to prove ROI on your implemented solution?


Author

Amanda Mohr (BCom Industrial Psychology, Honours)

Amanda is part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our client advice giver, our multitasker and our personal shopper.



Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. Visit www.workpoints.co.za for more info and a free trial!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Peer recognition goes further than you know!

"Rewarding others is true success.” ― Joseph Rain. We believe there’s no truer statement than this one when it comes to workplace recognition.

Back in the day, when employees did something note-worthy, they would most likely receive a ‘pat-on-the-back’ or their hard work would go unnoticed. Nowadays, thanks to technology, saying those very important thank you’s are a whole lot easier!

Our product, Workpoints, is available and can be tailored to fit the mould of your organisation. So why not encourage colleagues to thank each other for displaying your organisation’s values?

Workpoints enables your employees to publicly recognise each other for living your organisation's values. Most often these values, or what we call 'soft-skills', are aspects like showing mentorship, going the extra mile on work tasks and displaying various other attributes such as skills and information sharing.

Once your organisation has agreed upon which values to promote, these will be made into activities. 


Let’s use the 'Fist Pump: Always Helpful activity' (displayed above) for illustration purposes. Note that due to the platform’s customisation functions – you could add a bit of fun to your personalised Workpoints programme by including funky names for your peer recognition activities, some popular ones include Kudos, High Fives and POTB’s (pat-on-the-backs).

Back to explaining the above picture then. Your employees will be able to award this recognition to fellow peers whom they feel are personally invested and are always assisting.

By granting your employees ‘permission’ to recognise each other, does not mean that you are handing over the reigns completely. There can be limits set on how many times an employee can award or receive an activity. The limitation can be made for set periods such as a month, a quarter or a year. The activity can also have a points value allocated to it or it can be of a zero value (if simple recognition is what your aiming to achieve).

Once awarded, the activity will show on the organisation's timeline, congratulating the employee for their hard work!

This will further promote peer recognition in that others will notice that exceptional work is rewarded. This boosts the work environment morale which as we all know, in turn, boosts productivity.

Authors


Zine Maphumulo (BCom General)

Zine is our Operations Administrator here at Workpoints. She is our query handler, our fixer and our number one prankster. 


Jillian Dabbs (MCom Industrial Psychology)

Jillian is a part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our content developer, our avid blogger as well as our party planner.



Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. Visit www.workpoints.co.za for more info and a free trial!

Friday, 16 September 2016

The law of attraction...

To the unsuspecting eye, the task of attracting a new team member might seem fairly simple (Roi, 2013). Organisations either source recruiters to locate potential candidates or place adverts on career sites, waiting for candidates to contact them. After which, according to Roi (2013), then it’s just a case of picking the best applicants, interviewing and hiring the right candidate and there you have it. Job done. Right? Wrong.


In reality, recruitment is a way more complex process than one would think. With reference to Kakabadse, Bank and Vinnicombe (2004), in the top ten non-financial measures used by investors to analyse company performance, the ability to attract, and of course retain, talented people was rated more highly than market share!
What makes the attraction and selection process so difficult is that it, more often than not, involves elements of subjectivity. This subjectivity often brings to the forefront issues which, according to Kakabadse, Bank and Vinnicombe (2004), are as follows; inaccurate information due to mutual selling, unconscious colluding in creating unrealistic expectations, incorrect images of the organisation and uncertainties about the future.
So how does one manage the recruitment process correctly? Roi (2013) states that the best way to effectively manage a recruitment strategy is in various stages. If a business succeeds at each stage they will experience improved employee engagement, retention, productivity and ultimately profitability. An organisation may have all of the latest technology and the best physical resources, but if it does not have the right people it will struggle to achieve the results it requires. Basically, it pays to do attraction and selection properly.
This attraction and selection, or otherwise known as recruitment, strategy formulation can become a costly and an inefficient process if not approached in a systematic and proactive manner. That is why we, here at Workpoints, have provided a few key pointers below on how best to set-up and approach your recruitment strategy.
When reading this however, it is good to keep in mind that a recruitment strategy is put in place to prevent ‘shoot-from-the-hip’ hiring, however it should not be too structured that a great potential candidate, missing 1 or 2 of the attributes required, gets overlooked for a vacancy. That is, the below guideline should be viewed as just that – a guideline, on how best to do recruitment. 
Respect for diversity: This means that during the attraction and selection process there can be no form of discriminatory behaviour. To elaborate, no individual can be excluded from the role based on his or her age, sex, marital status, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or disability status. 
Procedural fairness: Candidates should be assessed against a consistent set of criteria that is determined by the organisation prior to the attraction processes commencing. Fairness in all stages of the process needs to be maintained so that candidates feel confident that ethical decisions regarding their application will be made.
Selection according to merit: It is important to attract and select candidates for available roles according to their merits. It is also vital that you know what merits you are looking for upfront in order to find the candidate that best suits the role you are looking to fill.
Legality: It is imperative to remember that there are labour laws governing a recruitment strategy. Therefore, it is crucial that those conducting recruitment, whether it be internally or agencies on behalf of your organisation, are up-to-date with the government policies and that those policies are included in your strategy.

Transparency: An effective recruitment strategy requires transparent procedures at every step to ensure that all stakeholders in the recruitment process are able to follow the process and be confident of the outcome. 
Author


Jillian Dabbs (MCom Industrial Psychology)

Jillian is a part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our content developer, our avid blogger as well as our party planner.



Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. Visit www.workpoints.co.za for more info and a free trial!




References


Kakabadse, A., Bank, J., & Vinnicombe, S. (2004). Working in Organsiations (2nd ed.). Gower Publishing Limited: England.

Roi, N. (2013). The Three Stages of Recruitment: Attraction, Selection and Retention. Business Zone: United Kingdom.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

To innovation and beyond!

What lean principles teach us is that there is no real end-point to business processes, the target is rather that of remaining relevant. Innovation, change and continuous improvement are therefore the name of the game.

Only when your employees work with queries, concerns, systems and processes on a daily basis do they start to identify where improvements can be made. Your employees can identify how they can increase value for your customers through improving quality, efficiency, eliminating waste and reducing cost. In this regard, it makes sense to get as many of your employees as involved as possible!

With Workpoints you can incentivise growth and novel ideas by creating a culture that encourages innovation and continuous improvement. Practically, our platform enables you to prioritise growth and novelty by setting up activities directly related to them. Your employees will earn points for the solutions they come up with or implement that they can then spend online in our Workpoints reward store.


With our timeline functionality, the entire organisation can see when, and how often, these innovations take place. This enables you to create awareness around innovation and reward those people who continuously drive growth.



With a bit of tweaking you can also run special campaigns to vote for specific ideas. This gets everyone involved in the process. 

Open the floor for innovation and allow your employees to vote for the best ideas, with Workpoints!

Author


Estée Roodt (MCom Industrial Psychology)
Estée is part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our keen researcher, our problem-solver and our number one sports star.



Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. 

Visit www.workpoints.co.za for more info and a free trial!



Friday, 9 September 2016

How to help your team manage their personal finances?

There are few moments in life as trying as when one faces financial challenges. In South Africa, consumer prices are steadily increasing [1], meaning the cost of living is consistently increasing too. It becomes harder to purchase the things you want and need, for example, over the past two years the cost of chocolate increased by 39%, fruit by 16% and vegetables by 20% [2]




The result of this is a slow and steady squeeze on personal finances that can cement a person down if they are not financially vigilant and proactive.

Regardless of the demographic of your employees, the chances are that many of them are currently experiencing financial stress in some shape or form. This might be due to getting out of debt, improving their living standards, preparing for retirement or just trying to reach life and financial goals.

Stress in general affects our health as well as our ability to concentrate, and with financial stress this is no different. For some, this type of stress may even be magnified. Financial stress has an impact on individual productivity through decreased focus at work as well as absenteeism due to the physical illnesses stress may cause [3]. Not surprisingly, employee surveys have shown that employees feel that personal financial stress negatively impacts their ability to perform [4]. Highly stressed individuals become increasingly withdrawn and less engaged.

Everyone aspires to be financially free, to provide for their families and achieve their personal goals. However, not everyone received the right advice early enough in life, or they perhaps did not apply the necessary discipline and self-control to benefit from the compounding effect of wise financial decisions. This becomes the business case for employee financial wellness programmes.

Successful organisational financial assistance and education programmes have shown an improvement in the financial outcomes of employees as well as the organisation in that [5]:
  • Employees made fewer requests for advances on salaries;
  • Employees were more involved in contribution plans;
  • Employees experienced decreased financial stress which improved their productivity, reduced absenteeism and increased employee engagement.

Individual financial stress will be detrimental to your organisation, while alleviating financial stress will have a positive effect on employee wellbeing and engagement [6]. It is therefore in an organisation’s best interest to ensure that their employees become financially savvy. 

You can decrease the financial stress of your employees and the effect thereof on your business by increasing your financial wellness offering to employees. Invest in financial planning, advisory and educational services so that employees can be free to focus on the work they are doing. A few questions you can ask yourself:
  • What are the debt levels of your employees?
  • Do they have a retirement plan?
  • Do they have emergency funds available?
  • Do they have medical aid cover?
  • Do they have financial saving mechanisms in place either through tax-free saving vehicles or other investments?
  • Are they working towards financial goals?
  • Are they educated in personal finance, and are they making wise long-term financial decisions?

Author

Estée Roodt (MCom Industrial Psychology)
Estée is part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our keen researcher, our problem-solver and our number one sports star.




Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. 

Visit www.workpoints.co.zawww.workpoints.co.za for more info and a free trial!



References

Crawford, R. (2014). Financial stress impacts work productivity. Employee Benefits, 3.
Faragher, J. (2014). Financial aid for employees. Occupational Health, 66(10), 20-21.
Sammer, J. (2012). Financial Education - Stress = Improved Productivity. HR Magazine, (June), 71–76.
South Africa Inflation Rate. Trading Economic website. Retrieved 19 August 2016 from http://www.tradingeconomics.com/south-africa/inflation-cpi
The secret life of a slab of chocolate. Statistics South Africa website. Retrieved 19 August 2016 from http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=8012


[1] Trading Economics (2016)
[2] STATSA (2016).
[3] Sammer (2012)
[4] Crawford (2014)
[5] Sammer (2012)
[6] Faragher (2014)