WHE29: Behavioral Economics for Business Leaders: Turn Good Intentions into Positive Results | with Bob Nease

by Monica Harrison on April 26, 2016

IntentionsThe new book, The Power of Fifty Bits: The New Science of Turning Good Intentions into Positive Results, by Bob Nease, PhD, is the first practical guide for business leaders to apply behavioral economics to activate the good intentions of people in their workforce.

Behavioral economics has shown that people’s choices and actions often are not based on rational decisions.

If you are a benefits manager or the leader of a wellness program, this explains why some of your best efforts at plan design, incentives, and participant education have frustrating results. We often assume (incorrectly) that if we give people the right information and financial carrots and sticks, they will:

  • Adopt healthier behaviors such as saving for retirement and eating healthier, and
  • Make smart-consumer choices such as choosing high-quality, lower-cost medications and providers.

A logical structure of plan design, incentives, and participant education seems like it should influence employees appropriately, but too often these components have little — or even a negative — effect. In our frustration, we may conclude that employees lack information or moral strength, or perhaps that they have bad intentions. However, the data shows that’s not the case. Lots of people already believe in the value of the behaviors that are being promoted. Instead, inattention and inertia lead to behaviors that don’t match what they want to do.

In this episode, Bob Nease joins Jesse to discuss how to use the science of behavioral economics to activate the good intentions that people have. Bob shares a framework of seven strategies to overcome inattention and inertia in your workforce — strategies that have been proven to measurably improve choices and behaviors.

Fifty Bits

From “The Power of Fifty Bits” (HarperCollins, 2016)

Bob Nease, PhD, is the author of The Power of Fifty Bits: The New Science of Turning Good Intentions into Positive Results. Bob served many years as the chief scientist at Express Scripts, a Fortune 25 healthcare company dedicated to making the use of prescription medications safer and more affordable. Bob was also an associate professor of internal medicine at Washington University in St. Louis and an assistant professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. He is the author of more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific articles, and inventor on six US patents.

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