Manufacturing - Endeavor Business Media
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Manufacturing - Endeavor Business Media
A research partnership between award-winning digital signage provider ScreenCloud and the Department of Psychology at Durham University. 
80% of the global workforce – 2.7 billion people – is deskless and “digitally detached.”

Communication at Work

COMMUNICATION AT WORK

Six behavioral science insights to help you connect with your deskless employees

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80% of the global workforce – 2.7 billion people – is deskless and “digitally detached.”
In our highly connected world, the majority of the global workforce remains disconnected. 

Most lack access to a company email and intranet, leaving the bulk of manufacturing’s front-line deskless workers out of reach of traditional internal communication methods. In fact, 84% of deskless workers say they don’t receive enough direct communication from management. However, advances in digital signage technologies offer a powerful channel to engage the deskless workforce. 


The solution’s on the wall. The screens on the walls of your factories and break rooms are one of the best ways to communicate with your deskless employees — cost-effectively, dynamically, and at scale. The fact is, digital signage receives 400% more views than static media. 


While critical information is often prevalent in a manufacturing environment, it is only as valuable as its ability to reach its intended audience. With digital signage, all of your workforce can have access to the right data at the right time. To learn more, 

download the eBook Unleashing the Hidden Dashboard

A research partnership between award-winning digital signage provider ScreenCloud and the Department of Psychology at Durham University reveals new behavioral science insights employers can leverage to better connect with deskless employees. “We know about the cognitive processes that drive decision-making, how to influence behavior, and what engages people at work, but few people have combined these ideas and applied them to the deskless workforce.”

 

– Dr. Andrew Marcinko, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Durham University

A little bit of the right information at the moment of truth is worth far more than all the information in the world two weeks after the fact.
Deloitte 
What and how you communicate is just as important as where. Below outlines how organizations can strategically use content displayed on screens to drive employee engagement. 

Processing Fluency and Framing

Our brains seek out information that’s easy to process and fits with our understanding of the world. Messaging that enables processing fluency is better remembered, makes people feel more positively, and is more likely to be perceived as true. 
Marketing professionals have observed that being exposed to a brand’s advertising multiple times improves attitudes toward the brand. Janiszewski & Meyvis discovered that this relates to processing fluency — familiarity with the brand means people process the ad more effectively, and are more receptive to it. Best practices include:
Use less text and simpler fonts
Use alliteration and rhyme, such as NHS’ successful blood donation campaign, Make a #DatetoDonate
Use numbers selectively, such as one statistic at a time
Be conventional — for example, making sustainability announcements on a green background
Framing is key. Would you buy yogurt labeled as 90% fat-free, or 10% fat? The same information can be interpreted differently depending on how it’s framed. For example, people are disproportionately affected by the first thing they see (the primacy effect), or by the potential for losses versus gains. 

Best practices:

  • Share the most important information at the top of the screen
  • Consider either a loss or gain frame (e.g., a loss frame is best for communications related to compliance; a gain frame is best for anything growth and development-related

Avoiding Abstraction and Establishing the Norm

To navigate complexity, our brains rely on schemas, or socially shared scripts that kick into gear in response to a specific environmental cue. 


For example, digital highway signs around the world show this message: “Tiredness Kills. Take A Break.” It’s clear, it’s concrete, and it works. Radar speed guns often display a smiley face when you’re under the speed limit, and a frowning face when you’re over. This is even more effective as it eliminates language barriers, and people instantly recognize expressions of approval or disapproval.


In the workplace environment, instead of saying, “Stay Safe,” which is vague and puts the onus on your employees, provide clear step-by-step instructions. Use emoji in health and safety messaging for an “easy get.”

“Communication challenges are very apparent in the manufacturing sector, which accounts for 5% of all workplace injuries and 8% of all workplace fatalities in the US. Only 25% of manufacturing employees are highly engaged, trailing the national average by 8%. Voluntary turnover rates in the sector are nearing 30% — the highest they’ve been in over a decade. A lack of engagement is directly associated with higher turnover, lower productivity, and reduced compliance.” 
Andrew Marcinko

When people talk about workplace culture, what they’re really talking about is a set of norms — in this case social — that guide employees’ behavior. Norms guide behavior interpersonally, too — we seek out leaders and role models we admire. These individuals can stimulate similar behaviors, as can the simple knowledge that other people are behaving in a particular socially/morally desirable way — also known as social proof.

Top Tips:

  • Highlight dynamic trends (“A growing number of people ...”)
  • Positively frame the information by emphasizing contextually high numbers (“98% of employees wear proper personal protective equipment.”)
  • On-screen, provide visual examples of individuals whom workers view as similar to themselves demonstrating a desirable behavior or attitude.

Example in Practice: Attentional Spotlight

One of the reasons social norms are so powerful in changing behavior is because of normative influence, or the awareness that others are viewing our behavior and may disapprove if we violate expectations. This is highly relevant to health and safety. We all know we should adhere to health and safety rules, but when we’re busy or tired or don’t think anyone’s watching, our motivation to conform might waver.
 

Engineering firm Ramboll trialed placing small mirrors at construction entrances with the message, “Who is responsible for safety today?” at the new headquarters for Carlsberg Group in Copenhagen. The mirrors turned the workers’ attentional spotlight onto themselves — they viewed themselves from someone else’s perspective. This motivates us to conform to important group norms. Zero accidents occurred on-site during the project.

When thinking about how powerful a social norm might be, consider the lightbulb analogy — to increase brightness you may increase the number, strength/wattage, and proximity:

1

Consistent and continuous communication — a great strength of digital signage —should enhance influence, with a large number of screens conveying the same message.

2

Respected role models (i.e., the CEO) can have an outsized influence.

3

Local team leaders can effectively influence social norms — they’re closer to their team members in the literal sense, but also in terms of professional status.

Just World Bias and Us Versus Them

Most people think that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people: the just world bias. Importantly, most people also think they are good. When people consider actions that have negative consequences for them — absenteeism, non-compliance — they may be less likely to feel that the consequences will ever apply to them, because they see themselves as inherently good and thus, deserving of good things.
 
Because we understand the mechanism underlying this effect, we can reverse it. 

Top Tips

  • Include images of people similar to those you want to influence — “If the consequences are relevant to this person, they could be relevant to me.”
  • Build empathy among colleagues by promoting birthdays, anniversaries, and other informal accomplishments. Research shows that empathy can reduce the just-world attitude that “bad things happen to bad people.” 

Social Exchange Theory

This theory suggests that a person will weigh the cost of a social interaction (negative outcome) against the reward of that social interaction (positive outcome). Engaged employees trust their organization and their colleagues. According to social exchange theory, companies must establish a “psychological contract” with their employees to build this all-important trust.


Our “social brain” helps with forming and maintaining social relationships, including relationships with colleagues, by organizing and compartmentalizing the world into boxes, categories, and silos to create meaning and structure.

Top Tips

  • Use collective language to create a shared identity, more “us” and “we” and less “they” and “you.”
  • Be conscious of cultural differences to avoid creating subgroups or alienating certain groups of employees. Take time to understand cultural differences within the target population (surveys, focus groups) and use images to convey information, when possible, to avoid language challenges.
  • Leverage cross-training — where employees spend time working with a different team/business unit — or increase manager contact in the spirit of building trust and community amongst different teams. 

Using digital signage to increase engagement

Digital screens provide an excellent opportunity to replicate these strategies more efficiently — by sharing messages from employees who work on other sites. Screens also provide a great opportunity to make frontline employees feel closer to senior leaders. Including pictures of a CEO along with a simple message can facilitate the “vicarious contact” shown to promote organizational identification and engagement.
Finally, leaders must put themselves in their employees’ shoes to understand what messages and imagery will resonate with them. User-generated content, or “bottom-up” requests for internal communications content, will strengthen the psychological contract between employee and employer.

Example in Practice: Find the Right Messenger

The impact of messages can vary widely based on our feelings toward the sender. Do we trust them? Love them? Identify with them?

 

Behavioral science consultancy Spoon Agency worked with global construction company Skanska. They developed an effective safety compliance campaign using short films of employees’ children, parents, or partners expressing to them how important it was for them to return home each day. Employees were then given stickers for their helmets with similar messages from their own loved ones.

 

Digital screens offer a solution to present similarly personalized messages from high-impact messengers in various contexts.

What to consider when displaying content on screens

Make it easy
Allow people to “go with the flow” by removing or reducing effort, steps, or choices to make action simple and effortless.
Make it attractive
Present benefits in a way that maximizes perceived value, including increasing the salience of your offer.
Make it social
Harness social/peer “pressure” by showing desired behaviors are supported by others in a social group and encouraging shared commitments.
Make it timely
Prompt when people are likely to be most receptive and structure/phrase benefits to make them more immediate.
Make it easy
Allow people to “go with the flow” by removing or reducing effort, steps, or choices to make action simple and effortless.
Make it attractive
Present benefits in a way that maximizes perceived value, including increasing the salience of your offer.
Make it social
Harness social/peer “pressure” by showing desired behaviors are supported by others in a social group and encouraging shared commitments.
Make it timely
Prompt when people are likely to be most receptive and structure/phrase benefits to make them more immediate.
By understanding the underlying psychology that applies, and following established behavioral insights, digital signage provides a uniquely effective way to reach deskless workers.

Additional Resources

Unleashing the Hidden Dashboards
Discover how to unlock productivity by securely sharing real-time data and actionable insights via digital signage. 


 
Download the eBookOpens in a new window.
Insights for the Deskless Workforce
New research from award-winning digital signage provider ScreenCloud and the Department of Psychology at Durham University reveals new behavioral science insights employers can leverage to better connect with deskless employees.
Download the full reportOpens in a new window.
Customer Success Story: Ricoh UK Products Limited
How toner manufacturer RPL uses ScreenCloud to improve efficiency and enable a well-informed and connected workforce. 


 
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