Make change fun

“Make Change Fun”… It sounds a bit contrived and unrealistic and is it really possible or relevant to do at work?

What we are referring to here is making behaviour change fun.  As human beings, we are much more inclined to change our behaviours if there is a positive incentive for us to do so… this is the premise behind most reward schemes.  However, there is plenty of new (and old) research indicating that money and other financial rewards have limited sustained positive impact on behaviour or creating job satisfaction.

Finding ways to encourage people to do things differently doesn’t have to involve financial rewards though. Consider this video from VW for example:

We are constantly told that “taking the stairs is better for you” but this advice is rarely heeded. This video shows that you can get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do.

Make change fun at work

So how can we translate the lessons from this VW video into our places of work? Here are a few principles the video embodies that I think are worth consideration:

  1. Give feedback in real-time Many of us are used to waiting for an annual review to find out if our performance meets expectations. This annual ritual usually follows a period of frantic activity and procedures involving calibrating, assessing and collating feedback for team members. However, instantaneous feedback (what experts call an accelerated feedback cycle) is far more effective and does away with the “lag” between performance and feedback.
  2. Find the humour –  Find it and incorporate some into that assignment or habit change you’re working on.  The kick of finding the humour in your task could give you and your colleagues the impetus to finish it or improve it.
  3. Make it motivating – I’m going to cover motivation in an upcoming blog but there are three important factors that make something motivating:
    • It is pleasant (rather than painful)
    • It creates a feeling of hope (rather than fear)
    • It is socially acceptable and creates a feeling of identity with others who are doing the same
  4. Make it easy – Link the behaviour to something that people are already doing rather than requiring them to go out of their way or break down a bigger task into smaller sub-components.
  5. Understand habits – Habit formation is the process by which new behaviours become automatic. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form. That’s because the behavioural patterns we repeat most often are literally etched into our brain’s pathways. The good news is that, through repetition, it’s possible to form (and maintain) new habits.

So, why not try to bring a bit of fun into the behaviour changes you are trying to make with your team members?

If you’d like to talk to us about the work we do with clients helping to make change fun, get it touch with us via our contact us page.