Productivity Improvement approach
2022 is the Year of Productivity Improvement: 6 Reasons why
January 12, 2022
Omicron disruption support
Omicron Disruption Support – Keep your Operation Going
January 28, 2022
Productivity Improvement approach
2022 is the Year of Productivity Improvement: 6 Reasons why
January 12, 2022
Omicron disruption support
Omicron Disruption Support – Keep your Operation Going
January 28, 2022
Show all

Incentives: how to drive the right behaviour… and how not

Incentives

Why the reluctance to adopt widespread rapid antigen testing against Covid-19 will drive up cases of Omicron.

In the first part on our series on using incentives to embed and sustain long-term behaviour change, I thought I’d partake in some armchair political commentating, and weigh in on the discussion on rapid antigen testing. My point is that by not promoting the use of rapid antigen testing, people with mild symptoms or slight concerns will be reluctant to get a PCR test and isolate for 1 or 2 days until the negative test result comes back. Rather wait until the symptoms clear, and if not, get a PCR test after all if symptoms persist.

Yes, the PCR test is more sensitive and therefore more accurate, I get that. But a result in 15 minutes at a lower accuracy level is better than no test and no knowledge at all. By favouring accuracy over speed, you’ll see people head to their favourite café, the cinema, the family gathering or their workplace, and unwittingly spread the virus.

We were very fortunate to obtain a MIQ spot in the lottery and just before Christmas we visited our aging and ailing family members in Europe. Knowing that a positive pre-return test would result in us being denied boarding, losing our MIQ spot, and being left stranded with no known return date to Aotearoa, we were very careful, and we all used rapid antigen testing frequently. For example, everyone would take a self test before coming together at a family gathering, so when you met each other you knew you were safe. It was easy, cheap, and most importantly, immediate. The incentives all lined up.

Having a disincentive, like isolating for one or two days after a cautionary PCR test, will be stronger than the socially grander notion of contributing to the greater good. Make it easy for people to do the right thing, not hard. That’s true in life, and also in business.

Our expertise is in improving productivity by changing practices and behaviours in organisations. Incentives play a big role in that. In the following weeks, we’ll explore and investigate effective incentives, end ineffective disincentives. Stay tuned and contribute, we’d love to hear from you.

 

About the author: Geerten Lengkeek is the Managing Director of Productivity People