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

The 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.

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4 Ways to Boost Benefits & Wellness Results with Behavioral Econ

The 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 to help business leaders apply the principles of behavioral economics (sometimes called “Becon” for short) to workforce engagement issues.

The framework of seven strategies explained in the book is most powerful when the strategies are combined. Here is a rule of thumb for how to combine them:

1 “power” strategy + 1 or more “enhancing” strategies + uber strategy

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Make Leading Easier with Behavioral Economics

The new book The Power of Fifty Bits: The New Science of Turning Good Intentions into Positive Results is the first practical guide to help business leaders apply the principles of behavioral economics (sometimes called “Becon” for short) to workforce engagement issues, including wellness and benefits. Author Bob Nease, PhD, who was the chief scientist at Express Scripts for many years, provides a framework of seven strategies that have been proven to measurably improve choices and behaviors.

For benefits managers and wellness program leaders, this strategic framework offers three key advantages:

Effective: The most important advantage is that the strategies get significantly better results than relying solely on plan design, incentives, and participant education.

Voluntary rather than mandatory: By using behavioral science to “nudge” people to voluntarily make the better choice, employers can achieve results that are almost as effective as pushing them with mandatory programs — with much less noise and cost to morale.

Optimistic: The data shows most people want to do the right thing (see below). Using the seven strategies, you can give them the help they need to live out those good intentions.

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Finally, a Behavioral Economics Reference Guide for Business Leaders

Most people want to do the right thing. They just need help acting on those good intentions. ~ Bob Nease, PhD

If you are a business leader — especially a benefits manager or the leader of a wellness program — you’ve probably heard the term behavioral economics tossed around.

For the past five to 10 years, consultants and service providers have been claiming to use behavioral economics to ensure their programs will overcome the reasons why standard programs in the industry have failed to engage employees in healthier behaviors and smart-consumer choices. However, behavioral economics is a still-emerging field of science, and the only literature on the subject has been academic — not very digestible, nor useful for business leaders to apply to real-world problems.

Until now.

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Slim-by-Design Workplace: Mindless Eating Solutions for a Healthier Workforce | with Brian Wansink

The best wellness programs are ones people don’t even know they’re doing. That may sound like a pipe dream, but a leading researcher says it’s realistic and effective. A few small changes in the workplace can change a waistline … and a culture.

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