behavioral science principle #8

Social proof


Social proof is the tendency to look to those around us for cues on how to behave. This is especially true in new or unfamiliar situations. For example, if everyone at work is abuzz about a great new Netflix show, you’ll be more likely to give it a try—even if it wasn’t high on your watch list initially.

Marketers leverage social proof all the time in the form of ratings (”10 out of 10 people recommend...”), customer quotes, and influencer testimonials or unboxing videos. While the tactics may be different for your HR team, the same concept can still be very effective for engaging your employees.

HR application

Technology company Axero breaks down a few ways HR and benefits leaders can use the social proof principle to motivate staff and improve employee engagement:

  • Model the behavior you want to see in employees, especially in unfamiliar situations.
  • Use real-time data to reinforce a desired action. For example, if you want to encourage full participation in a company pulse survey, you may send an email thanking the 78% of employees who have already completed it.
  • Tap employees to share their experience with specific programs or benefits through your company’s Slack channel, intranet, or team meetings.
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