Happy Holiday Reinforcement

Christmas carols like “The 12 Days of Christmas” take on a new meaning this holiday season, and can be paralleled to Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion – For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. A recent article from Talent Management.com‘s Aubrey Daniels shows us “The 12 Days of Reinforcement”. What kinds of behaviors and communication practices do you reinforce in your employees?

Let’s have a look at Newton’s 3rd Law. If every action has an equal and opposite reaction, think of your employees’ behavior. Their behaviors are based on your reactions and consequences for their actions. How can you positively reinforce good behaviors and promote an overall good vibe in the workplace? It’s easier to be cheery around the holidays, but these 12 reinforcement tips are good to use year-round.

Remember that behavior means taking action. Don’t assume employees know you appreciate their efforts just because they receive a regular paycheck. If you appreciate their effort and contributions, tell them!

Keep in mind that your peers and managers enjoy reinforcement too. A smile and a thank you for their efforts also makes your day brighter. Smiles usually pay their way forward. People who are reinforced, reinforce others more often.

It’s not uncommon for organizations to offer small gifts to their employees around the holidays, like a turkey or ham. This may not be the best gift for every employee, but it is enough to show them that you care. The main idea is to be sure that your employees know how much you appreciate them.

This time of year, celebration is also common. However, spread the warmth to the rest of the year too. Take the time to celebrate the little things – and it doesn’t have to cost anything. Give the worker a round of applause and a few encouraging words for their accomplishment or contribution. That will show them that their success matters. It’s also a good reinforcement tactic to tell them that their time, effort and commitment to the organization are important.

What are the key things to consider when practicing positive reinforcement? Be sure your message is sincere, specific, immediate and positive. You should also make it a habit to treat your employees and co-workers as you would your family – and work is your home away from home. If you look at these folks as family, you’ll be more kind and the positivity will spread.

Give the gift of time. In this tough economy, some business are struggling to stay afloat, so bonuses are out of the question. Possibly a bonus could be a prolonged lunch hour, a shortened work day or even an extra day off to get some shopping done or attend a child’s school event.

Don’t cry over broken ornaments. When people make honest mistakes, they (and the company) suffer the consequences. But everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them, sweep up the pieces, forgive and don’t label people. Move on.

Keep spirits up all year long by giving credit where credit is due, even if it’s a small thing. Share the good news with the whole organization via a meeting or announcement. The good news could be a prospective new client or improved performance ratings. The more fun you make the workplace, the better off everyone will be. Make some assignments into games, where goals have to be met and teamwork is enhanced.

There are many ways to positively reinforce your employees. And, these behaviors don’t have to come only once a year. Practicing positive reinforcement year-round will make your organization more successful and your employees will be happier. To read more about how to reinforce your employees, click here to read the full article.

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