Remove sludge - Deepstash
Remove sludge

Remove sludge

Employees often face overly complex decisions with too many options, paperwork burdens, or hard-to-understand terms. These burdens, sometimes called sludge, almost always harm vulnerable and low-SES people most.

In many cases, firms can reduce or remove these burdens, or at least provide tools to help their employees make good decisions.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Design Systems with Your Most Vulnerable Users in Mind

Make it automatic

Defaults can be used by firms and policymakers to make beneficial behaviors easier and more automatic. During the first wave of COVID-19, Amazon and other employers automatically sent free masks to all employees. These changes can be very beneficial, especially for the poor and vulnerable.

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Think about vulnerable employees when choosing the default option

If one option is better for rich and experienced people while another is better for vulnerable individuals, use smart defaults, which pre-select different options for different people to try to benefit all people.

When that is not possible, always choose the option that benefits vulnerable employees, because they are typically more likely to keep default options.

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Remove options that are worse for all employees

Another effective tool to reduce inequities and improve decisions is to eliminate options that are inferior to other options in every way, which are called dominated options.

Like other nudges, removing these options benefited people with low socioeconomic status most because they were less likely to have the knowledge needed to determine which options were most beneficial to them.

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RELATED IDEA

  • The aging population is causing fewer contributors.
  • More people are retiring due to increased longevity.
  • Corporate collapses, such as bankruptcy of Enron negatively affect private pension plans.
  • Defined pension plans do also fail from time to time.
  • Many employers shift from defined-benefit to defined-contribution plans.

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Default choices

90% of your daily decisions happen automatically, many shaped by your environment. Thus, most decisions are a habit, not a deliberate choice.

To make smarter choices, design smarter defaults. And habits can be developed by shaping the invisible defaults of your life.

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The nudge theory

Behavioral economists show that when humans make quick decisions under pressure, it is based mostly on intuition. They are unconsciously guided by biases and psychological fallacies.

The nudge theory suggests making subtle interventions to nudge people to make certain choices without restricting them. Putting the fruit at eye level counts as a nudge.

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