One of the biggest management challenges in the post Covid world is the attraction and retention of talent.

Knowledge workers have become far more demanding than they were in the pre-pandemic years. Secondly, they have been exposed to long months of continuous work via digital means. They live in a world which is an amalgamation of the physical and the digital, and one that is inching closer to organisations working on metaverses.

The virtual world is one where user experiences are curated. People get hooked onto social media without realizing. Apps are designed under the overarching umbrella of persuasive design, where persuasion is at play without realisation. This is a discipline that focuses on influencing human behavior through a product’s or service’s characteristics. Persuasive design is based on psychological and social theories. As organisations prepare to get onto metaverses, persuasive design will follow there too, and knowledge workers are likely to get hooked onto rich experiences on the metaverse.

Knowledge workers who transcend between the physical and the digital worlds will have multiple touchpoints with the organisation in the typical workplace journey. Some of these will be digital and some physical, in the office and to and from the journey to the office. If digital touchpoints are designed to influence employee behaviour, the same will need to be done for physical touchpoints as well. If physical touchpoints are perceived as unsafe or difficult to traverse, employees will not set out to experience them.

Organisations can look at this as a great opportunity to influence employee behaviour positively by using the principles of persuasive design to curate physical touchpoints in the workplace, so that employees are motivated to experience such touchpoints. The challenges of attracting and retaining talent will demand that this be done.

Persuasive Design involves an understanding of human psychology and social theories. However since psychological and social theories are often very broad and not adapted to design practices, the field of persuasive design has developed its own frameworks to support designers and innovators. One of these frameworks, developed by B. J. Fogg, professor at Stanford University, is the Fogg Behavior Model (FBM). Fogg describes behavior as a product of three factors.


motivation

There ought to be a strong motivational factor for the user to want to experience a touchpoint.

ability

It should be easy to achieve or do.

trigger

There out to be occasional triggers or reminders about the experiencing the touchpoint (s).

Using these factors to design user experiences help achieve the desired behavior in users without resorting to negative tactics such as coercion or deception. At the workplace, these factors can be used to design touchpoints in the physical workplace that are part of the employee journey. The value of this lies in the ability to win talent and retain them without inviting risks of violating their trust or irritating them with ‘Please-Don’t-Go’ or ‘Get-Back-To-Me’ approaches.

The path to Persuasive Design in workplaces.

Persuasive design is the missing link between Workplace Strategy and Workplace Design. Secondly, it dramatically alters the outlook of Workplace Design from being about space design, to the design of workplace touch-points.

Conventionally Workplace Designers have followed a design brief received from clients as the trigger for design. Occasionally, designers get access to a Workplace Strategy report which gives the reason and direction for design, when such a study is done. Following a persuasive design approach warrants that a focus on employee touch-points begins with research done to arrive at a workplace strategy. This requires researchers to take a step back, get a basic understanding of employee personas, journeys and touch-points upfront, before arriving at a research methodology. The path towards arriving at a workplace strategy has conventionally involved conducting a series of standard engagement exercises like interviews, surveys, focus groups, etc to derive insights. A persuasive design approach means that the research methodology and the associated exercises be determined only after the first stage of Validation, which help determine these.

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