Using Variable Rewards to drive Behaviour Change

This is an interesting one - how do you motivate with rewards? Is it better to have a nice predictable, understandable reward system, or is something a bit more random better? The research actually suggests the latter. 

Here's an interesting article which discusses that very topic.

Here's an excerpt:

The human species possesses a disposition towards novelty - and tens of thousands of years ago, that drove us to explore new lands, try new foods and see what happened when we struck two rocks together.
But just as our craving for sweets, salts and fats were valuable in the Paleolithic era, when such foods were scarce, but are now warped in the age of carmel-drizzled kettle corn, our novelty-seeking tendencies can lead us astray.
Variable rewards are a particularly powerful “hook” for the brain. Casinos and many games use frequent but hard-to-predict rewards to keep their players coming back for more.
In this post, I want to talk about how variable rewards work and how we can use them to drive positive behavior change for ourselves.

Follow the source link for more...

The curse of targets

Throughout my consulting career I've seen some themes over and over, usually as a result of different viewpoints, which underlines the importance of seeing the big picture from every stakeholders view before deciding on anything.

Here's a common one: The Customer Service department is banging on the IT door, because their metrics have plateaued. The IT department, in response, believe they can improve efficiency and customer service metrics by allowing front-line employees to share their work using a fancy phone system to forward and route calls between available staff.

What they haven't factored in, is that the sales organisation targets employees on these very calls and they generate the best commission for the individual. Consequently there is conflict:  there is no incentive to share this work, no matter how poor the customer service metrics.

If the fancy phone system is deployed, it will simply go under-used.