Reinforcement Strategies

Topics: Reinforcement, Reward system, Employment Pages: 5 (1750 words) Published: December 13, 2010
It's true that people don't come with instruction manuals, but don't fret. Human behavior, albeit unpredictable, is a process like any other part of an operation and can be managed as such. Gaining an understanding of this process will help produce a stress-free and profitable working atmosphere. If an employee is engaging in behavior to achieve something (positive reinforcement), he or she will constantly try to improve in order to attain more of it. But if an employee is trying to avoid a penalty, he or she will only work hard enough to avoid the consequence, essentially producing only the bare minimum.

Positive Reinforcement
If you want to improve your performance at something, or if you want to create new good habits, one very successful technique is the use of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is effective and largely used for two separate reasons. Firstly, it is one of the most powerful techniques available for the direction or motivation of the actions of other people. The second reason which is more philosophical is the versatility of the concept of reinforcement as an explanation of behavior. In other words, the question is why do people behave the way they do? The answer will be that it is because they (people) are reinforced for it. Many companies employ the use of positive reinforcements to increase productivity, decrease absenteeism and workplace accidents. When positive reinforcements are used, the desired outcome is that the behavior is reinforced. Subjects understand that the behavior is desirable and will tend to repeat it for the rewards. Validating employees by telling them how much you appreciate what they do goes a long way in the employee satisfaction and motivation department. How do you think it makes them feel if you can't even bother to take the time to give them a verbal pat on the back? Not too important, I assure you. I work as a Customer Service Associate, and I deal with retirees from GM and Chrysler Auto companies. Most of these people are in their 70's-90's age group and they are very confused about what is happening with their medical coverage and the whole transitions from their auto company managing their benefits to my company. What makes me get up everyday and go to work is to know that I am able to assist these customers with the confusion they may be having about all the information and mailing materials they received. At my job we have what we call a "kudos" email; it is when a customer speaks to a manager about what a great job an associate has done with assisting them. Just getting recognized for doing your job well is motivating enough to make me get up and go to work. So get positive - and get specific. Tell them what specific things they are doing that you like. Be specific!! Not only does this make your employee feel important and appreciated, but it helps them to perform better by having a frame of reference for the kinds of workplace performance and behavior that you value as a manager.

Negative Reinforcement Strategy
Being a part of team that involves over twenty people is tough but not impossible. Generally speaking the judicial part of the criminal justice system has many areas that must mesh well together in order to function on a daily basis. Each part of that system must know the purpose of the court and what it needs to succeed. A manager or supervisor should be able to use various types of reinforcement strategies to deal with employee situations or issues. One type is the negative reinforcement strategy which is used to encourage desirable behavior through the withdrawal of negative consequences for previously undesirable behavior. An example of this through personal observation is during my tenure as court clerk in the local county courthouse, personal phone calls were tolerated but only for a certain amount of time. It was told to staff that personal calls should be 5 minutes or less. Anytime longer than that on the...
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