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Motivating Employees with Positive Reinforcement

By Jessica Valdez   |    November 13, 2017   |    9:35 AM


Motivate Your Team with Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a much better means of motivating employees than criticism or other negative behaviour. With positive reinforcement you reward desirable employee behaviour thereby strengthening the connection between high performance and rewards. When you offer praise for a job well done, that is an incentive for that employee to keep on doing a good job. Positive reinforcement also ensures that employers are not feared by employees but seen as mentors, guides and role models. When employees are fearful they might be afraid to ask questions or make suggestions, when employees feel supported and motivated by their boss, they are more likely to contribute to the business in a productive manner. Identifying and rewarding positive employee behaviour is the key to positive reinforcement and to motivating employees to work more efficiently and creatively. Here’s how to ensure you deliver positive reinforcement.

Always Give Specific Praise

When a job is well done, give the employee direct, concrete and specific information about what they did right, this way they can replicate it again.

Do Not Wait

Always give praise immediately. Reward the member of staff as soon as possible after their achievement so that they are aware that you noted it, and also so that you don’t forget it!

Give Regular Encouragement

Remember to give praise on an ongoing basis, if for example, a project is advancing successfully, provide positive reinforcement at each stage to encourage employees to accomplish the final stages of the project with the same energy and enthusiasm.

Show Sincere Appreciation

Genuine gratitude and appreciation for the employee’s achievement will go a long way to motivating employees, in fact much farther than quick, non-personal comments.

Reward Financially

Sometimes verbal encouragement is not enough. Financial bonuses or other monetary incentives not only encourage employees to work harder, but are also an impetus for those who are less motivated to try harder.

Make it Public

Have an employee of the month award; this could involve a financial reward or other such benefit. Make sure you publicize this to ensure maximum positive reinforcement. By announcing which employee has won the award each month,  this will ensure that there is interest in the honour and ultimately make it more effective, motivating employees to work harder to try to win the award.

Set Reasonable and Clear Expectations

Unclear instructions and unrealistic expectations will always result in frustration. Positive reinforcement means making sure employees are motivated not only through encouragement, support and praise but manageable deadlines and clear guidelines.

Work Hard, Play Hard

Have an ethos of work hard, play hard. This will motivate staff as they know that hard work is rewarded by good times. 

Be Positive

Always be positive and enthusiastic. Your staff will feed off that positive energy. 

Work with Passion and Conviction

If your employees see you working hard and you also show them how much you believe in the company’s vision this will provide positive reinforcement and motivate them to do likewise.