16 July 2019

Are You Ready for the “Psycho” Age of HR?

Hopefully you’re already segmenting your communications by demographics — age, gender, income, and plan selection. If you could also segment by personality, you could really tailor the message. That’s psychographics — behavioral information like aspirations, opinions, emotions, and values. This is the data that can bring about real change.

A Good Example (but a Bad Model)

Remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal with Facebook — voters were micro-targeted with ads and news based on their lifestyle, political views, and other behavioral traits. Cambridge Analytica took voters’ “big data” from Facebook accounts and compiled voter profiles with psychographics. It’s a good example of how data can be turned into psychographics.

The Five Personality Types

According to c2b Solutions, people fall into five groups when it comes to health and wellness. They’re each motivated by different factors and respond to different types of communications.

You’ll see the first group doesn’t need you to convince them a flu shot is a good idea, but the second group needs a good reason to give up their valuable time. To promote a health screening, you wouldn’t send a lengthy email to a Willful Endurer — for them, it’s to-the-point messaging. But for a Balance Seeker, having more information is important in their decision-making process.

  • Self Achievers (the most proactive). They have regular checkups and screenings; they’re task-oriented and eager to take on challenges to meet goals.
  • Balance Seekers (fairly proactive). These folks are open to ideas and options; they think doctors are useful, but not the only resource.
  • Priority Jugglers (busy, lots of commitments). This group is more reactive about health issues; they care for loved ones more than themselves.
  • Direction Takers (rely on a doctor’s advice). They see a doctor at the first sign of illness; but they find it hard to follow that advice because they’re busy.
  • Willful Endurers (live in the here and now). They’re not necessarily unhealthy, but not willing to change habits; they’re self-reliant and see the doctor only when they need to.

The Data — Where Do You Get It?

  • Look at what you have. You can analyze medical and prescription claims, and gather general “anonymized” information about your employee population from health evaluations and biometric screenings. You may have very few Self Achievers but a lot of Priority Jugglers.
  • Ask your employees. Tailor your engagement and benefit surveys to ask if they often depend on a doctor, how much time they devote to healthy habits, if they believe in alternative medicine, and other leading questions.
  • Hire a third party. Optimally, you’d work with a company experienced in data mining and psychographics — this helps employees trust the privacy of the data collected.

Keep It Legal and Confidential

Although it worked, steer clear of the ill-fated Cambridge Analytica approach of data abuse. Seek relevant data only where it’s legal and authorized.

Motivated Yet?

Is psychographics a concept your company should be thinking about? It has at least a decade-long proven track record as a commercial marketing tactic, and we’re seeing promising research in HR-specific results.

Want to do some deeper digging?  Read about psychographics on the c2B Solutions website, and then download their white paper.