Positive Reinforcement Helps Build Resilience by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Positive reinforcement is one of the world’s most powerful motivators. Many people thrive on recognition, and even those who don’t still find it easier to deliver their best work when they know their efforts and accomplishments will be acknowledged. When people are working in a positive environment they are have more resilience to manage through the difficult times.

Most leaders understand, at least on some level, that recognition is important. However, many find it difficult to come up with new and innovative ways to recognize employees. Here are some tips to help ensure you let employees know when they’ve done a good job.

  1. Be specific. If your company or department has goals, offer incentives for reaching those goals. Perhaps, let the team choose the incentive to help encourage hard work. Specific recognition works well in many circumstances because the work done is measurable, making it easier to see who really shines.
  1. Focus on positive reinforcement more than negative. There will certainly be times when negative performance discussions are required. However, if, as a manager, you are seen as someone who offers more positive feedback than negative, your words will have more impact when you need an employee to make changes. In addition, employees are more motivated by positive feedback than negative.
  1. Don’t forget the power of the “atta boy.” Many managers waste valuable time and money creating elaborate incentive and recognition plans. These definitely have their time and place, particularly in results focused jobs. However, remember that regular positive feedback is more important to most people than an elaborate reward. Be sure that you’re making it a point to tell employees that you value their contribution on a regular basis. This recognition is free and easy, and is sure to keep employees wanting to come to work.

Most leaders have many plates to juggle. It is easy to let little things like regular recognition go by the wayside. However, it’s very important to remember that ensuring that your employees feel that their work is making a difference and that they are doing a good job can help keep your business running at its optimum efficiency.