The Importance of Positive Reinforcement

Monday 21 April, 2014

 

When an employee performs something exceptionally, managers should be able to recognize that and reward the action in order to encourage a positive pattern in the employee. The reward can come in the form of incentives – both monetary and non-financial – as well as praise or simply showing an appreciation in the employee’s efforts. At work, this type of positive reinforcement can be used to improve the morale of a department or an individual as well as to increase productivity. Here are the main advantages of using positive reinforcement:

 

- It reinforces an employee’s behavior immediately after learning a new technique and promotes quick, thorough learning.

- It clearly defines and communicates expected behaviors and strengthens the connection between high performance and rewards.

- It increases productivity by rewarding workers who conserve time and materials.

- It motivates effective workers to continue to do good work. Lack of reinforcement leads to job dissatisfaction.

- Rewarding employees who suggest improved work procedures will produce more innovation – if you create a relaxed work environment, reward new ideas and tolerate innovative failures.

- Employees who receive recognition for their achievements are more enthusiastic about their work, more cooperative, and more open to change.

- Employees who are rewarded after they successfully perform feel self-confident and become eager to learn new techniques, take advanced training, and accept more responsibility.

- To reinforce successfully, you need to define exactly what it is that constitutes desirable behavior. You should then set specific, measurable work goals with each employee or with the entire team, and then decide together, which behaviors are most important for achieving the results.

- When you show appreciation and reward employees for good work, you increase their job commitment and organizational loyalty.

 

So how do you go about providing positive reinforcement correctly? Here are some tips:

 

1. Be specific in telling the employee what they did well.

2. Reinforce immediately.

3. Be sincere wheen showing appreciation.

4. Reinforce often but unpredictably, without creating patterns or set times for reinforcement.

5. Reward small increments of improvement, not just large goals

6. Give realistic rewards that are proportionate to the importance of the behaviour.

 

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