#ChallengeTheProcess: How to overcome confirmation bias

We all like to be right. It affirms our self-worth, according to Psychology Today. That’s why we look for information that backs up our opinion. It’s called confirmation bias.

When communicating about rewards, we need to be aware that confirmation bias might be present among some of our colleagues. How can we address it, especially for a complex subject like share plans?

What is confirmation bias?

Confirmation bias is when people only pay attention to information that confirms what they already think and believe. They may ignore or discount details that go against their point of view. It’s subconscious, and can make it harder for us to learn new things or change our minds about something.

But it is possible to overcome confirmation bias. When you’re communicating your share plan(s), you can gently nudge employees who aren’t engaged, to show them that there is another way of looking at what’s on offer.

Here’s some ways to defeat confirmation bias.

Demonstrate understanding

To effectively communicate with employees, you must first understand their beliefs. You can do this by talking to them, asking them questions, and conducting surveys and focus groups. Once you know their thoughts, gather evidence that shows them an alternative viewpoint.

For example, if your employees think your share plan is too risky, explain that they can take their money back from their SAYE plan at any time.

Accentuate the positive

Some of your colleagues may already be on board with your share plan. They may see it as an opportunity to align their interests with the company’s, and show loyalty to their employer. Emphasise the link between share plan participation and better company performance, for example by showing the correlation between employee ownership and company profitability and growth.

Highlight how employee ownership has a beneficial impact on company culture and values. This is an excellent opportunity for you to identify your employer brand and employee value proposition, helping them see your share plan with your wider reward offering.

A reassuring message

If your colleagues are sceptical about share plans, address their concerns directly. You may want to provide information on the regulatory frameworks that govern share plans, or give them an overview of the positive impact your share plan has had on previous participants.

The most effective way to do this would be to include real stories from colleagues who have been involved previously. This helps bring the share plan to life, and makes it more accessible and engaging for potential new participants.

The takeaway: tailor your communications

Your colleagues will likely have different attitudes to your share plan. Your communications need to speak to all of them.

To achieve this, you should tailor your communication to their specific concerns and beliefs. Not only will this help to build trust and engagement, it will also increase participation in your share plan.

If you want to engage, empower and educate your employees through communication, get in touch and benefit from our expertise.

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