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A Pilat HR Solutions WHITE PAPER

BY CLINTON WINGROVE
EVP & PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT
PILAT HR SOLUTIONS
PILAT NORTH AMERICA
460 US Highway 22 West, Suite 408
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889
United States of America
Telephone: +1 800 338 9701
E-mail: info@pilat.com
PILAT EUROPE
29 Hendon Lane
London N3 1PZ
United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8343 3433
E-mail: info@pilat.com
WWW.PILAT.COM
BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING THE RAISON DTRE OF HR
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WHAT IS BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING?
Behavior Engineering (BE) is the means by which behavior is triggered, changed, sustained or inhibited.
Thomas Gilbert rst described a Behavior Engineering model in his book, Human Competence:
Engineering Worthy Performance, (Gilbert, 1978). Since then the topic has elicited much interest and, with the
advent of technology in particular has evolved beyond his original model via which he explained the factors
that have to be taken into account in order to achieve desired behaviors from the workforce:
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BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING THE RAISON DTRE OF HR
1. Behavior Engineering is a dimension of Organization Development; the application of systematic,
scientic and engineering principals to the manipulation and/or direction of human behavior.
2. Behavior Engineering starts with an evidence-based identication and classication of behaviors into
desired and non-desired, followed by the identication and assessment of actual and potential triggers,
enablers, and reinforcers of each
3. Behavior Engineering is achieved through the design and implementation of:
HR processes that seize on the power of contemporary technology to trigger, reinforce, and/or
inhibit behaviors
Technology and tools that directly support desired processes and behavior change
Collection, analysis and interpretation of quality data (comprehensive, valid, reliable,
differentiating, useful and defensible) to inform decision-making.
Behavior Engineering Model (Source: Gilbert, 1978)
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and, within each of those, the design and implementation of:
Planned triggers, enablers, reinforcers and inhibitors i.e., those that will lead to sustained
prevalence of desired behaviors.
4. Behavior Engineering is a methodology that leads to desired outcomes for both the organization and
the individuals concerned, and that, without such mutual benet, it is not achievable or sustainable.
In simple terms, BE explains why people do the things they do and the way they do them, and it enables us to
get them to do what we want done, when and in the way that we want it done.
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BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING THE RAISON DTRE OF HR
WHY BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING MATTERS
The majority of organizations subscribe to the view that, Our employees are our most valuable asset and, for
most organizations, they are certainly the most costly asset. So, organizations need to achieve a return on the
investment (ROI) in staff, and Human Resources Management (HRM or HR for short) are charged with ensuring
that an ROI is achieved.
However, for many non-HR professionals, HR has a reputation for generating a stream of changes and new
initiatives, many of which merely repackage former thinking, and for introducing new words and new meanings
for existing words into the corporate lexicon. But, such non-HR Professionals often fail to understand the
importance of new initiatives in triggering behavior change and reversing the effects of relaxation and
complacency. Well-designed and managed change re-energizes, focuses attention, adjusts priorities, increases
capability, etc. Non-HR professionals also often fail to recognize that new terminology can help to focus
attention and communicate more effectively otherwise confusing, misunderstood or subtle messages.
HRs role has become immensely complex since its origins in the late 19th century. Perhaps the current
complexity has led HR to its current obsession with simplication. It is almost impossible to attend an HR
meeting without KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) coming into the conversation. Yet, this ies in the face of
human development and business in general. On January 8th, 1950, composer Roger Sessions, in a New York
Times article, How a Difcult Composer Gets That Way, attributed the saying, ... everything should be as
simple as it can be but not simpler! to Albert Einstein. We should heed that warning.
The C-Suite does not seek simplicity. The C-Suite does not merely want HR to contribute to the bottom-line; it
needs and demands HR to contribute signicantly to the bottom line and to the development and sustainability
of the organization. It needs to see the highest possible levels of discretionary performance from each
individual employed, and each employee to develop to realize their true potential so that they can meet future,
often unknown, challenges.
When distilled, HRs role is to fully understand the organizations vision, mission and values (having contributed
to their development) and address four key challenges:

Behavior Engineering is one way of improving our solutions for delivering on those challenges.
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How do we recruit the most appropriate talent to deliver on those?
How do we get the highest possible levels of discretionary performance out of each individual, given
their role and prevailing level of capability?
How do we get each individual to develop their capability to the highest level possible for them
(i.e., to realize their true potential and to achieve ours)?
How do we keep the talent that we need to keep (and remove the others)?
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BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING THE RAISON DTRE OF HR
BUT, ARENT INDIVIDUALS IN-CHARGE OF THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR?
The rate of change continues to accelerate and, whereas we used to describe eras in terms of centuries or
decades, we now see major changes occurring over years, even months or even weeks or days.
All substantial crises, successes, and changes have something in common- they are centred on the behavior of
individuals and are fuelled by factors that have engineered that behavior. Behavior changes do not merely
happen. They are triggered, enabled and reinforced; it is just unfortunate that many are not explicitly designed.
For example, we refer to the 2008/9 collapse of the nancial markets and the economic recession as
though those happened on their own. However, at their roots, individual behaviors were engineered to change.
The crises started with the deliberate incentivisation of individuals to take inappropriate risks, enabled by the
tools they used. Their behavior was then reinforced so that repeat and even more inappropriate behaviour took
place. Only later, were the direct and indirect results of that behavior seen in the wider context, by which time
the behaviors had spread and only a crisis could stop them. Every case of undesirable human behavior was
triggered, enabled, and reinforced (or the desired behavior was inhibited), until it became a habit that no
longer needed any external triggering (it became internally triggered - see Fig 1).
Fig. 1 - A SIMPLIFIED Behavior ENGINEERING MODEL
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UNDERSTANDING WHAT UNDERPINS BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING
Throughout all change processes, mechanisms operate that we have known about since the early to mid-1900s.
Example 1. Maslow clearly dened a hierarchy of needs, later modied by Viktor Frankl and others, ascending
up through the following hierarchy:
A disconnect between an individuals prevailing needs (the level of their most pressing needs) and what they
experience, has a high tendency to trigger new behavior to address the gap. Gang membership and body
piercing are perhaps extreme examples of a need for Esteem or Belonging. Excessive use of Social Media can
be similar.
Example 2. Herzberg identied that, until certain foundational needs are met, such as security, pay, etc., other
factors (motivators) such as recognition will not make substantial changes to behavior. He further identied that
the former (hygiene factors), whilst prerequisites for any performance or behavior, typically do not inuence
behavior any more once they are satised. So; they can trigger or help to enable behavior, but other factors
then must take over to motivate further changes or habit formation. So, what starts a behavior might not sustain
it (e.g., performance related pay typically does not work for non-repetitive jobs!) even though its initial
implementation may appear to trigger a short term uplift.
Transcendence
(Helping others self actualize)
Self Actualization
(Personal growth and fulllment)
Aesthetic
(Beauty, balance, form)
Cognitive
(Knowledge, meaning, self awareness)
Esteem Needs
(Achievement, status, responsibility, reputation)
Belongingness and Need for Affection
(Affection, relationships, group membership)
Safety Needs
(Protection, security, order, law, rules, stability)
Biological and Physiological Needs
(Basic life needs- air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep)
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BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING THE RAISON DTRE OF HR
Leading to satisfaction Leading to dissatisfaction
(Motivators) (Hygiene Factors)

Achievement Company policy
Recognition Supervision
Work itself Relationship with boss
Responsibility Work conditions
Advancement Salary
Growth. Relationship with peers
Security.
Example 3. There are two different inuences on employee behavior through an organizations structure,
Leadership and Management. In the words of Dr. John P. Kotter, Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership,
Emeritus at Harvard Business School, management is a set of well-known processes, like planning,
budgeting, structuring jobs, stafng jobs, measuring performance and problem-solving, which help an
organization to predictably do what it knows how to do well. Management helps you to produce products and
services as you have promised, of consistent quality, on budget, day after day, week after week Leadership
is entirely different. It is associated with taking an organization into the future, nding opportunities that are
coming at it faster and faster and successfully exploiting those opportunities. Leadership is about vision, about
people buying in, about empowerment and, most of all, about producing useful change. Great bosses do
both in due proportion given the business context and need.
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BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING THE RAISON DTRE OF HR
BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING FOUNDATIONS
Strategic BE uses a combination of tools and methodologies including:
Context & Congruence Analysis - studying the processes, environment, culture and demands to
identify and evaluate the levels of congruence and synergy e.g., do compensation policies underpin
or contradict mission and value statements?

Observational Learning making contextually sensitive observations of what happens when certain
stimuli are applied, rewards/reinforcements are delivered, or punishments/deprivations are applied

Culture Measurement measuring the strength and patterns of the various dimensions of culture
within and across groups

Social Learning developing and testing hypotheses about the impact of peer and other social
interactions
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) studying and identifying the actual and desired behaviors, what
antecedents typically trigger them, what rewards and consequences arise, and then identifying
process and technology elements can be modied to enhance the impact (i.e., produce the greatest
possible desired behavior change)
Process & Technology Integration, Harmonisation and Contextualization analysis enabling the design
of integrated processes (that seize on BE power of technology) and process-support technology (that
directly triggers, enables, and reinforces the desired processes and behaviors).
In our race to simplify (an HR obsession!) many HR processes have actually been trivialized. Yet, electronic
automation enables us to do things correctly, and individuals are readily accepting of more complex tools, so
long as they add value and are easy to use, not merely simple.
All automation typically goes through three phases:

Automate what you used to do manually this invariably produces less than optimal results ...
We are the process owners; you technologists replicate what we designed.
Do what contemporary technology does this often produces short term excitement but long term
degraded results ... We are the technologists; you HR people use the cute tools that we have built
for you.
Use the behavior engineering and the business intelligence power of technology to change
processes so that they are more efcient, more effective and as easy as possible to follow ... Lets
combine our elds of expertise and capitalize on where they interact.
Unfortunately, our jaundiced experiences in the rst two phases and the money we wasted often deter us or
delay us from arriving at the third and productive phase... our behavior is engineered by experience away from
it!
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APPLYING BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING
Pilat follows a rigorous methodology when partnering with clients to implement strategic and custom solutions.
We follow The Pilat Way.
Throughout each project, Pilat applies Behavior Engineering principles to ensure that the maximum possible
positive behavior change is achieved and sustained.
The Behavior Engineering component of any project can have a number of key elements such as:
Denition of the characteristics of the target population
Identication of the current behaviors
Identication of the desired behaviors
Denition of the appropriate future context(s)
Observation and analysis of the behaviors including application of processes and utilisation of tools
and technology - to identify antecedents; reinforcers and inhibitors of desired and non-desired
behavior
Assessment of appropriate skills and skill levels
Engagement of affected parties
Development of behavioral change hypotheses
Identication of actual and desired behavior triggers, enablers, reinforcers, and inhibitors
Design or redesign of the appropriate processes, tools and technology
Provision of needed skill development
Design of the communication and learning strategies that support changed thinking, motivation and
capability development
Development and testing of the solution.
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EXAMPLES OF APPLIED BEHAVIOR ENGINEERING
It is in the Design elements that a detailed understanding of the psychology of human behavior is critical.

e.g., A user initially likes an intuitive and easy to use system that they have been told to use.
Initially, the trigger Told to use may be effective and Simple to use offers a better than expected return. So,
the user provides a positive response to questions such as, Rate your satisfaction with the system.
If, however, the system fails to produce any added-value, the user may not re-access it. They will then need to
be told repeatedly which, over time becomes annoying. Or, they re-access it of their own volition but the lack
of added value eventually outweighs the pleasure derived from the simplicity.
Bottom line the system eventually fails to produce the expected return on investment. Simplication may
have evolved to Trivialization.
e.g., A system requires a user to click on a series of left-hand menu links in order to check resume details such
as Languages, Internal work history, Training courses, etc. which will be considered during a later Talent
Review.
After completing the rst few, the user is likely to get tired of the repeated need to click the left menus and
will start making assumptions about the data accuracy.
Bottom line the data held against the rst few entries is likely to end up reasonably complete and accurate.
Data towards the end could be incomplete and inaccurate.
Other user interfaces for collection of the same data produce far better results.
So, Behavior Engineering designs take into account many factors including but not limited to:
Interfaces ease of access, mental demands (including concentration, emotional impact, ..), physical
demands (including eye movement, mouse clicks, mouse movement, ...), security (real and felt), ...
Context timing, environment, ...
Communication/ triggering methods media, frequency and timing of email, SMS, voice, alerts,...
Access at work, at home, secure/ open, ...
WIIFM what is in it for me - the reinforcement for the user who demonstrates the desired
behavior(s); the appropriate consequence for the user who doesnt?
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Pilat HR Solutions is a global Human Capital Management technology and professional services
company that offers refreshingly exciting solutions and client experience. For more than three
decades, Pilat has been providing best-t solutions that help drive signicant performance
improvement for organizations and realize the true potential of their human capital. We do this
through an array of strategic HCM solutions and HCM products and services that can support
every facet of HR operations.
ABOUT PILAT HR SOLUTIONS
For more information, contact:
Clinton Wingrove
EVP and Principal Consultant
Pilat HR Solutions
E: cwingrove@pilat.com
W: www.pilat.com
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