The Power of Reminders

You won’t be shocked to learn that there is scientific evidence that reminders and behavioral nudges do in fact work (e.g., Karlan et al. 2011). While often simple and straightforward, their power should not be discounted. Just think of pertinent examples of these in your own life:

  • Facebook encourages us to log in habitually
  • Rosetta Stone nudges (or pushes) us to learn languages effectively
  • Our online calendars nudge us to remember appointments
  • Ads about shoes and cigarettes use everything from social proof (testimonials) to scarcity (limited time offers) to nudge us to buy

When we expand our sights to our physical environment, everything from the design of chairs to the placement of stairs affects our behavior. In the digital design community, there is a refrain that all designs are inherently persuasive (e.g., Redstrom 2006, Fabricant 2010), and even that the point of design is to shape behavior.

Reflect on this as you observe your own office environment and even habitual communications. How are you currently leveraging nudges in your day-to-day work? Could you structure your environment or language differently to encourage better outcomes? Think fruit bowl in your office kitchen over candy or sending creative reminders for important deadlines.


Lacey is the team lead focused on B2B demand generation for Morningstar’s growing Workplace segment. This includes responsibility of marketing strategy and execution with plan sponsors and key providers to expand Morningstar’s market reach. The Workplace umbrella includes financial wellness and retirement products for employees as well as custom models and fiduciary services. With products, services and thoughtful marketing, we strive to empower companies to help employees build financial wellness today and get ready to retire when the time comes.

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