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Laszlo Bock, former head of Google’s “people operations,” has launched a new startup called Humu to nudge managers and co-workers toward behavior change via targeted emails, texts or other messages. Humu’s software considers a variety of inputs – HR data, productivity information and personal surveys – to encourage workers to take action and make work better. For example, colleagues might get an alert to give co-workers credit at their next meeting, with an explanation that research has shown people value peer recognition. Managers might get a nudge to thank a team member in writing, with a link for drafting a thank-you note. And, employees might get a message reminding them about questions to ask their supervisor in one-on-one meetings. Bock said these types of real-time nudges to multiple people are important for change. “This is where traditional framing falls down,” he said. Employees might go individually to training sessions on negotiating, being a better manager or getting better at speaking up. “But then you go back to your work environment, and everyone’s the same. And your behavior is not going to change because there’s nothing reinforcing it,” he said. Employers who want culture change that is more tangible see this software as an asset, moving beyond traditional employee “engagement” surveys or pulse feedback tools that gather heaps of data but do not offer solutions, analysts said.

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