The big conversation that companies are having about their staff, is how to encourage them to do more work related activities. We all know that increasing the volume of input activities (making calls, sending quotes, setting up client meetings) leads to better outcomes in the shape of more sales, more revenue and company growth. One of the ways to gamify the work undertaken by employees is the application of social norming techniques.
They are proven to bring about human behavioral change to conform with an expected outcome. Gamification guru Yu-Kai Chou calls this approach “conformity anchors”. It is one component of his gamification framework called Octalysis.
What is Social Norming Theory
The gap between perceived and actual behaviours is called a misperception, and this forms the foundation for the social norms approach. The Social Norms Theory posits that our behavior is influenced by misperceptions of how our peers act. Peer influences are affected more by perceived norms (what we view as typical or standard in a group) rather than on the actual norm (the real actions of the group).
This theory shows how the environment people are in and interpersonal influences (such as peers) can be used to change behavior. This peer approach has been proven to be more effective than a focus on the individual to change their behavior. The latter approach is still widely used in performance management in companies.
What’s the Benefit?
The Social Norms Theory posits that our behavior is influenced by misperceptions of how our peers think and act. Overestimations of behavior in our peers will cause us to increase our own behaviors. Accordingly, the theory states that correcting misperceptions of perceived norms will most likely result in an increase in the desired behavior.
Give me an Example
Organizations interested in addressing resource usage have been proponents of social norming techniques to modify behavior in the population. This includes those groups trying to decrease energy use and those trying to increase recycling. Power companies discovered that the best way to motivate households to consume less energy is to show them a chart on their power consumption compared to that of their neighbours. People did not decrease their power use when incented by money, the environment or good citizenship. None of those made a difference. Change occurred when they were given a brochure saying, “The majority of your neighbors are undertaking efforts on a daily basis to reduce their energy consumption.”
How’s that for peer pressure or keeping up with the Joneses?
What does this have to do with Leaderboards?
At Spinify we are applying the same methodology to leaderboards. We’re serious about helping companies change staff behavior, and we want to make it fun and inclusive. We know that Social norms interventions are most effective when presented in interactive formats such as leaderboards that actively engage the target audience.
Leaderboards provide immediate performance feedback to individuals about the number of activities or events they are completing compared to their colleagues. The rankings are based on objective measures rather than any subjective misperception. Team members can see precisely how they are performing against colleagues and are motivated to do more activities in order to perform at the same level as the high achievers in the group.
Social norms interventions are most effective when presented in interactive formats such as leaderboards that actively engage the target audience. High visualization and customization allow companies to banish boredom around performance statistics and drive better metric achievement.