Paul Hebert explains Acting Our Way to Employee Engagement. Are Incentives the Answer?

Paul Hebert Paul Hebert, Worldwide FOT

I had a short conversation with a friend this morning on the best way to change behavior. It was sparked by the information in a study CVS released yesterday. The study highlights the results of experiments CVS conducted to see what worked best to get people to quit smoking. The study showed greater behavior change when the subject was “penalized” by forfeiting money in addition to earning awards vs. simply earning a reward. The article: “CVS Health Research Institute Study Finds Smoking Cessation Programs with Financial Incentives Increase Rates of Quitting and Staying Smoke-free” is pretty specific when it says:

“Across all of the incentive-based programs, participants were eligible for up to $800 for successfully quitting smoking but the programs differed in how incentives were accrued and disbursed. Two of the programs required participants to pay an upfront deposit of $150, which was reimbursed if participants successfully quit smoking. Overall, study participants who enrolled in any of the four incentive-based programs were nearly three times more likely to quit smoking than those who received usual care alone. In addition, although participants assigned to the groups requiring an upfront deposit were more likely to decline participation than those in the pure incentive-based programs, deposit programs led to nearly twice the rate of abstinence from smoking at six months among people who would have accepted either type of program.”

[emphasis mine….]

The net-net is:

  1. Incentives work
  2. Incentives with penalty work better

Read the whole post over at Symbolist  (an FOT contributor blog).