Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

295. Unlocking Employee Motivation: The Science Behind Engagement with Kurt Nelson

Dr. Kurt Nelson is a behavioral scientist and founder of the Lantern Group. His expertise involves helping businesses align incentives and motivation to improve sales, productivity, and employee happiness. With a strong focus on incorporating behavioral science principles into goal-setting and motivation strategies, Kurt offers valuable insights for individuals and organizations seeking to enhance their overall success. During the podcast, Melina and Kurt discuss the Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, keystone goals, incentives, priming, framing, and so much more.

Want to reduce turnover rates in your organization? Kurt explains why this requires a holistic approach that addresses multiple aspects of employee engagement and satisfaction. These might include clear communication of goals and expectations, a strong organizational vision, appropriate incentives, a psychologically safe environment, and acknowledging employee contributions. Implementing these elements effectively within the organization can result in a considerable reduction in turnover rates and a more motivated workforce.

He shares a case study of a client company that initially had a 42% turnover rate, which is now under 5%. They achieved this by improving communication and creating a clear vision, which involved offering incentives designed to promote desired behaviors rather than instilling fear. Regular town hall meetings and a national employee meeting facilitated better communication and helped everyone stay informed. Additionally, they worked with managers to enhance their communication skills and foster better relationships with their teams. Learn all about this fascinating example and more in this episode, including:

  • Elevate employee engagement through comprehensive strategies for lasting retention.
  • Manage workload effectively and prioritize tasks to minimize burnout.
  • Infuse meaning, purpose, and creativity into your work culture for a thriving environment.
  • Enhance communication, vision, and incentives to diminish staff turnover.
  • Employ behavioral science techniques for successful goal-setting and motivation.
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  • 00:00:00 – Introduction,
    Dr. Kurt Nelson, co-host of Behavioral Grooves and CEO of the Lantern Group, discusses his expertise in employee incentives and motivation in the workplace.
  • 00:03:35 – Employee Experience,
    Organizations are refocusing on the employee experience and how they can ensure they are doing right by their employees to increase engagement and motivation.
  • 00:08:34 – Human Complexity,
    Organizations need to understand that humans are complex and are driven by various factors, such as their external environment, social environment, and managerial challenges at work. Employees want a psychologically safe environment where they feel respected and fulfilled.
  • 00:11:23 – Quiet Quitting,
    Employees are pushing back against the expectation to give 150% effort every day. Organizations should not expect employees to go above and beyond all the time, but they need to create jobs that allow employees to be creative and bring passion into their work.
  • 00:14:22 – Full Self in Work,
    Employees who bring their full selves into work find more meaning and purpose in their jobs. Organizations need to make sure they are creating an environment that allows employees to find fulfillment at work.
  • 00:15:58 – The Importance of Frontline Managers,
    Frontline managers are often promoted for their individual job skills rather than their ability to manage. This can lead to a lack of understanding of how to engage and work with employees, causing turnover and “quiet quitting.”
  • 00:18:23 – Case Study: Decreasing Turnover Rates,
    Working with a company that had a 42% turnover rate, Kurt and his team’s focus was on improving communication from executive leadership to employees, setting a clear vision and incentives, and training managers on how to communicate and engage with their team. The result was a decrease in salesforce turnover rate to under 5%.
  • 00:22:23 – Priming and Framing,
    Changing 12 words in an email to incorporate qualified achievement words increased performance by 15% and decreased the need for escalation by 30%. Framing incentives in a gain or loss context can also impact behavior. Psychological safety is important for employees to feel valued and heard.
  • 00:28:46 – How to Be a Better Organization,
    Align incentives with desired behaviors, create a psychologically safe environment where employees feel valued and heard, and provide tools for managers and employees to break down goals and understand how to engage and motivate teams. Changing behavior is key to achieving success, and incentives are key to that.
  • 00:30:29 – Summary,
    To decrease turnover rates and create a better organization, focus on aligning incentives, creating a psychologically safe environment, and providing tools for managers and employees. Changing behavior is key to achieving success.
  • 00:31:03 – Lantern Group’s Tools,
    Dr Kurt Nelson talks about the Lantern Group’s tools that help employees set and achieve their goals. He introduces the Brain/Shift Journal, a 13-week guided journal with daily prompts based on behavioral science insights. The journal helps users create keystone goals, break them down into milestones, track progress, and cultivate gratitude.
  • 00:32:46 – Keystone Goals,
    Keystone goals are those that have a larger-than-life impact, which align with keystone habits. The journal helps users determine the right goal and break it down into milestones. It includes prompts like priming, gratitude, and progress tracking to keep users motivated and on track.
  • 00:35:02 – Conclusion
    Melina’s top insights from the conversation. What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.

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