Lead the Way with Behaviour Examples

This is a ‘Framing’ Inclusion Nudge. You can learn about more in the Inclusion Nudges Guidebook.

The Challenge

To achieve sustainable change towards an organisational culture that is leveraging diversity and based on inclusive behaviours and objective decisions, we need to make sure there is a focus on the individual behavioural level. Seeing positive examples is key to believing a change is possible, which can help amplify the change effort. However, in many Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity initiatives the focus tends to be on large-scale programs like mentoring or talent sourcing, and we may overlook the daily behaviours of each person at work towards each other which create and support inclusivity.

How this Inclusion Nudge works

To make progress on increasing behaviours supporting inclusion, diversity, and equity, we need to see behavioural examples of what we are trying to achieve. Here’s one way to do this:

Be clear about the behaviours that you want to increase which will support inclusion and communicate (such as with posters in meeting rooms and work spaces) about these behaviours, such as:

Did you know that strong leaders ____?’

‘8 out 10 top performers do this _______.’

‘Innovators have more success when they do this _______!’

‘You can make others more happy at work when you ______.’

 

Insert the desired behaviour, such as:

… create space in meetings for all to be heard

… sit with a new & different colleague at lunch every week

… work in a flexible manner to support well-being

… question where bias could be impacting their own decision making

acknowledge what others have contributed to a project

etc.

 

Why it works: Behavioural Insights

By showcasing the desired behaviours (the ‘role models’) and framing this as a positive, attractive identifier (‘this is a strong leader’, ‘top performer’, ‘innovator’, ‘someone who makes others happy’, or whatever positive identity works in your culture), we tap into the social human behaviour of wanting to be like the desirable group (often called the ‘follow the herd’ behaviour). We unconsciously mirror the positive highlighted behaviours and in turn the culture change is amplified by others seeing more people doing this and wanting to be more like and with the ‘in group’ (the group that is doing the highlighted behaviour). This is not a compliance approach (i.e. ‘You must do this or you will be punished’), but is a way of framing to help gently steer behaviours towards achieving the desired outcomes, and in accordance with nudging principles, it still has freedom of choice designed in the approach…anyone can choose not to do this, but behavioural science shows that most will follow the group social and behavioural norms. By posting the messages in key locations such as meeting rooms and workspaces, we ‘prime’ unconscious thinking for the behaviour to occur.

To reinforce these desired behaviours, you can design ‘Process’ Inclusion Nudges that promote seeking patterns on these behaviours, such as a prompting/inquiry question in performance review feedback and/or track the behaviours happening in a manager scorecard.