Organisational Behaviour Management, or OBM for short, is the application of behaviour analytic principles to the world of business and organisations.

Steps to implement an OBM intervention

The process of an OBM consultation involves understanding what your organisation wishes to achieve, how you can measure this outcome, what behaviours are needed to achieve a measurable change in the outcome and how we can create behavioural change to increase (or decrease) that outcome measure.

Let’s look into each step in a little more detail.

1 – Set and define your goals

You first need to know what you goals you want to achieve, and clearly define this so that we can measure it.

Do you want to decrease the time spend doing a certain task? Do you want to increase net profit? Do you want to decrease workplace injuries?

If you don’t know yet, figure this out and make sure you are able to measure it. This is known as a Key Performance Indicator, or KPI for short.

2 – Pinpoint behaviours needed to achieve those goals

Next step is to work out what behaviours are required to achieve that outcome.

In order to decrease the time a worker spends making a widget, you need to write a list of the exact behaviours that the worker is required to complete to manufacture the widget in the first place.

If you want to increase net profit, what behaviours are required by your sales staff, your manufacturing staff, your operations and logistics staff, to ensure that you are able to create and sell your product or service.

3 – Measure the behaviour

Next step is the foundation of Applied Behaviour Analysis, and in fact any science…

You need to take data… As much as possible.

Take data on the time it takes to complete tasks. Record how many times the behaviours occur. Keep data on your out KPIs.

A good data set is paramount for the next step.

4 – Discover the problem

Now is when we get to analyse all that wonderful data.

If you want to decrease time spent manufacturing a widget, how long does each task and behaviour take to complete. Is there any tasks that are unnecessary? Would better training make staff more ‘fluent’ in their behaviour? Would a checklist remind staff of every step of the task, so they don’t waste time trying to remember or having to revisit it later?

This is a great time to speak to your staff and find out what they think is the problem and how they would fix things.

5 – Develop and implement a solution using behavioural principles

Now we have some idea of the inefficiencies. Now we need to use the science of behaviour to work these kinks out of the chain.

These may involve simple interventions, such as a safety checklist, to more complicated restructuring of training programs or incentive programs.

6 – Evaluate and refine

Now, going back to the wonderful data we were talking about before… You didn’t think we’d stop doing that did you?

Now is the time to keep taking that data and see if the solution we implemented actually had any effect on the behaviours or the KPIs.

If it did, great. Keep monitoring and looking for improvements.

If not, why not? Talk to your staff and find out why it didn’t work. Were they able to use the checklist or did they not feel the need to? Is the incentive in the incentive program strong enough to act as a motivator?


Benefits of Implementing OBM Interventions

Hopefully you already have a few ideas as to how OBM interventions may benefit your organisation, but if you don’t, here are a few ways it may be able to help your organisation.

  • Staff that know exactly what is expected of them, feel valued and rewarded for their hardwork
  • Increase in staff satisfaction
  • Decrease in staff burnout
  • Increased staff performace and motivation
  • Increased safety compliance
  • Increase in net profit and therefore success of your organisation


Examples of OBM Interventions

Here are a few examples of how Organisational Behaviour Management has been implemented in organisations.

  • Implementing equipment that makes the task easier and quicker to complete
  • Creating and using checklists for complex tasks or health and safety checks
  • Using the science of behaviour to inform how you train your staff, so that they are able to master the skills necessary to carry out their job roles quicker and to a better standard than conventional training
  • Incentive programs (monetary and non-monetary) designed to increase staff motivation to engage in behaviours that benefit the organisation
  • Posters to prompt certain behaviours related to your KPIs or workplace safety
  • Effective performance feedback systems which lead to positive behavioural change

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