Communications | Behavior Matters!

Category: Communications Page 1 of 5

IC Communication – the Key to Performance, Retention, and Growth

Prevail, accomplish, compete, strive, thrive, triumphed, achieve, mastered, win, success, gain, attain.

person at a deck form above with a quote
The Power of Word Choice

What do these words have in common?

When used appropriately they have the power to increase performance by 15% (or more!).

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Are subpar IC communications holding your sales teams back?

Several years ago, we worked with a large Fortune 500 company to help them communicate their sales incentive plans to approximately 2,000 sales representatives. The IC Director was frustrated – how could a well-designed plan that they had spent months developing not be working? The metrics were there, the incentives were good, but the understanding was low… and sales were short. 

Boring pile of legal binders
Be sure to communicate to your audience

The pitfalls of legal jargon.

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Helping Companies Communicate More Effectively (i.e., More Humanly)

Numerous companies have a difficult time building engagement and trust with their employees. 

The problem doesn’t always have to do with their processes or procedures or even management behaviors –in many cases it has to do with how they communicate to their employees. In over 20 years of helping companies solve these issues, we’ve found that companies often don’t communicate with their employees in a way that helps them understand and buy-in to the very programs that are designed to engage them.  

Good Communication is Key to Engagement

While some companies have significantly improved their ability to create professional-looking presentations and graphically appealing brochures, they still have not fully embraced bringing a behavioral science approach to their internal communications to communicate in a more human way.

This is where we help. 

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Engage your reps with stories, anticipation, and graphic recall

Presentation on a laptop on a table with hands and text

Telling your “incentive story” with video creates greater engagement, higher recall, and an overall increase in IC plan knowledge.  

If you’ve seen the Academy Award-winning movie, Schindler’s List, at the mention of the girl in the red coat, you can probably recall the specific scene I’m referring to vividly. This singular scene often stands out as the most revered and remembered scene in the movie. If you have not seen the movie, it is a black and white film yet in this specific scene there is a little girl walking through a crowded ghetto in a red coat.  

Little girl stands out in a red coat amongst a crowd of black and white soldiers
“The Girl in the Red Coat” is a fantastic example of vivid visual storytelling

Her red coat stands out vividly in comparison to the black and white coloring of the rest of the film. It captures our attention and draws our eyes to focus our attention on her. We follow her among the throngs of people and watch as she comes in and out of our view.  

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Incentives + Behavioral Science + Communications = A Home Run for IC Directors

Incentive compensation professionals work hard at developing incentive plans that drive employee motivation while also meeting their company’s strategic objectives. In the past, this has been achieved by using rules of thumb and stringent financial analysis. 

Yet, hard work is not enough in today’s turbulent times.  

Man leaning back in chair behind computer looking up at motivational words looking satisfied
Create a Great IC Program AND Make Sure it is Understood

Today, compensation professionals need to add a few more tools to their tool belt. 

Specifically, they need to add a deeper understanding of behavioral science and communication strategy. A great incentive program can be a defining factor in an organization’s success but as the world evolves additional measures are needed to ensure that it is resonating with and being understood by the field. Adding behavioral science into the mix can significantly improve your program’s impact and the performance of your teams. Tie these principles together with award-winning communication and you have a home run.  

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Sculpting Motivation – Maximizing your Total Rewards with Behavioral Science

This article highlights the key learnings from Kurt’s presentation at the “2020 World at Work Spotlight on Sales Conference”. The original slide deck is available below.

Man screaming into phone exhibiting bad sales behavior
Rewards Programs are a Key Driver of Sales Behavior

In 1937, paleontologist Gustav von Koeningswald was working on the island of Java in Southeast Asia, searching for new evidence of our early human ancestors.  To achieve this goal, he needed to find fossils, and the apex of fossils was the skull. With an intact skull, paleontologists are better able to distinguish between ape and human. 

But skulls were rarely are found intact. 

Instead, paleontologists needed to piece together a multitude of small skull fragments in a complex 3D puzzle.  It was difficult work – difficult to find all the pieces and difficult to fit them together in the right way to reform the original skull. 

To help alieve the burden of searching and finding the skull pieces, von Koeningswald enlisted the help of people from the local village.  He did this by giving them an incentive. He paid them 10 cents per skull fragment that they delivered to him.   

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Is Organizational Friction Costing you Money?

Organizational friction is not a common term, yet it could be one of the biggest reasons that your company is not performing to its full potential.

How much is friction costing you?

Friction in human terms is the unnecessary resistance that a person encounters when trying to achieve a task. Organizational friction is the resistance created by policy, social, or environmental factors within a company.

Bad organization friction creates unnecessary resistance within an organization and impedes performance. It causes wasted time, wasted energy wasted resources, and overall frustration. Good organizational friction creates positive resistance that discourages negative behavior, sloppy thinking or risky shortcuts. 

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How to Shape Company Culture Through Communication

Words matter.

A study conducted by Gary Latham PhD, replaced 12 words in an e-mail from a company president to his employees to demonstrate the power of word choice.

 A Powerful Reinforcement Loop With a Common Thread
A Powerful Reinforcement Loop With a Common Thread

Half of the company received the president’s original e-mail and half of the company received the same e-mail with 12 achievement-focused words added in. The result? After a week, objectively measured performance showed an increase in effectiveness by 15% and efficiency by 35% for the employees who received the achievement centric email.

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The Top 5 Reasons Businesses Need Behavioral Science

By Kurt Nelson, Ph.D. & Ben Granlund

Imagine getting the chance to earn $2 for doing absolutely nothing. Would you turn this down?  Most people say no, yet study after study shows that people often refuse the $2 payout, sometimes more.

You’re probably wondering, “why?”

This strange behavior comes down to how we perceive fairness and retribution and can be observed in a simulation behavioral scientists call “the Ultimatum Game.”

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Creating Your Total Rewards Budget? Think: “Culture, Trust, Communication”

Message us here or email us at behavior@lanterngoup.com for help to optimize your reward program communications & impact.  

The New Year is rapidly approaching. If you are in the IC world, the pressure is on you to formulate and calculate budgets for next year’s incentive and rewards programs. 

Like most, you need to balance: rewarding top performers, targeting the right motivators, harmonizing cash and non-cash incentives, and staying aligned with your corporate philosophy. All the while, fitting these factors into your overarching financial budgets.

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