The four 4Ps driving employee behaviour change September 9th, 2013, by Ken Buckley

A few months ago I wrote about the 4 key elements of behaviour change, and before that, the six stages of behaviour change.

Now I want to show you a slightly different approach on behaviour change. It’s one that’s easy to remember and seems to get the interest of Executive, which is handy when you’re trying to explain the business case for behaviour change to senior management.

It’s called the 4 Ps of Employee Behaviour Change.

The 4 Ps which influence and eventually drive a person’s behaviour in the workplace are:


What knowledge does the person have about the problems associated with the “bad” behaviour, and the benefits of the “good” behaviour?

What skills and tools do they have to help them make the change? For example, to add more vegetables to their diet, do they have access to easy and healthy recipes? Or to quit smoking, have they been to a seminar on smoking or been given expert advice on a step-by-step process?


This one raises the issue of the environment and culture surrounding the person, taking into account workplace and home.

An effective health and wellness program needs to encompass both home and work. You could offer to include a spouse/ partner for free, for example, or make sure the resources you give your employees are engaging enough to be taken home and shared with their family.

You need to consider the culture of your workplace – how conducive is it to a healthy lifestyle? DO you provide fridges and chopping boards for people to make their own healthy lunches? Do you have showers for people to use after exercising? Check out our blog on creating a healthy organisational culture.


Your policies can encourage health and wellness, or sometimes unknowingly discourage it. Policies are usually considered to be the formal documentation of “how we do things here”, but they can be informal or tacit understandings – it all depends on the size and culture of your business.

Policies which affect health & wellbeing could include working from home or remote work policies, calls and emails after hours, overtime, shift management, smoking/ no-smoking areas, use of spare rooms as lunch rooms, EAP and counselling, and of course ergonomics, manual handing and other WHS policies.


A timely reminder with last weekend’s election that government initiatives and policies do matter. Local, state and national policies affect your employees. They affect health care, or how long an employee is on a hospital waiting list, but they also positively affect behaviour through health promotion initiatives. As an employer, there’s probably little you can do to influence these, but you can encourage employees to take up the positive initiatives, which are often free.

Examples include health promotion programs, services and apps such as My QuitBuddy app, Quitnow – National Tobacco Campaign, Swap It, Don’t Stop It, SunSmart apps, or the range of programs shown at


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