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6 Behavioral Science Insights that Will Increase Employee Engagement on the Manufacturing Floor

Bridging the gap between frontline workers and management is key to improving engagement, productivity and retention.

Workplace digital signage may not be the first thing that springs to mind when shaping training and development strategy, but it’s an option gaining more traction.
Workplace digital signage may not be the first thing that springs to mind when shaping training and development strategy, but it’s an option gaining more traction.

Only 21% of employees are engaged at work, costing the global economy $7+ trillion. According to Gallup, Morale has taken a hit too: 33% of deskless workers don’t feel valued by their employer and 48% considered quitting within the past year. 

To effectively address this issue and prevent further disengagement on the manufacturing floor, corporations should prioritize six key comms strategies backed by behavioral science.

1. Employee processing fluency

Deskless workers have limited time and attention to give towards messages. Digital signage effectively displays crucial information (e.g., safety notices, company-wide messages, or employee validation) in the most concise way that improves processing fluency.

2. Prioritize messaging 

Important information should be displayed at the top of any digital signage, since people are most influenced by the information they first see, known as the primacy effect. An organization should also have a clear goal for its messaging and decide what kind of frame to use. A positive gain frame is used to increase engagement and commitment; a loss frame is used to encourage safety and compliance.

3. Avoid abstraction

By depending on behavioral scripts called schemas, humans are able to assess complex situations easily. Not only must digital signage have high processing fluency, it should also be straightforward and easy to visualize in order to resonate most with deskless workers.

4. Leverage social norms

People are more likely to follow societal or group values/expectations in order to be accepted by their peers. To influence employee behavior, social norms can be shown through a chosen “role model,” message personalization, or broadcasts of trends and rewards where the norm is followed. 

By providing a role model, the number of other people carrying out the behavior, highlighting trends, and emphasizing high value statistics, manufacturing employees will be more likely to exhibit desired behaviors.

5. The “just-world” ideology

When employees hold a “just-world” ideology, they commonly categorize themselves as “good” unconditionally and don’t expect to receive the same consequences that a “bad” employee would when committing the same infractions. 

By signaling a message that all employees will be treated equally after infractions, and personalizing digital signage to increase empathy between colleagues, the just-world logic can be reduced.

6. Bridge the desked/deskless divide

Deskless workers often feel separated from deskbound colleagues due to a lack of communication technology. Digital signage is uniquely positioned to serve as a unifying, fit-for-purpose communication channel that ‘evens the playing field’. 

Company messaging should create a shared identity to strengthen the psychological contract between the employee and employer. Digital signage messaging may include terms such as “us” and “we” and encourage user-generated content from appointed employee “ambassadors” that bring relevant messaging to their peers. 

Amidst today’s challenging economic landscape and the need for productivity, employee engagement can no longer take a backseat. 

Adopting digital signage as part of an internal communications channel is only the first step; those that also apply a behavioral science approach will find greater success in making their deskless employees feel seen, empowered, and closer to their company. 

ScreenCloud is a SaaS startup that powers digital signage for 9,000+ customers across the world, including Coca-Cola, Walmart, and UPS. 

Leading product at digital signage disruptor ScreenCloud affords Jonny Kirk the opportunity to work with business communicators and HR leaders to build innovative tools and processes for connecting with their people; and transforming digital EX with employee-facing ‘screens that communicate’.

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