Positive reinforcement, in general, occurs when a certain type of incentive is offered after an action or behavior and that behavior is further encouraged, as a result. It has many forms that are both tangible and intangible.
- Concrete Reinforcer: This is tangible i.e. a gift in the form of a thing
- Social Reinforcer: This is a responsive gesture or action e.g. a shrug, nod or hug
- Activity Reinforcer: This is a chance to engage oneself in an interactive and fun activity.
Positive reinforcement at the workplace demands much more advanced reinforcers, one of which is RAP. Recognition, Appreciation and Praise (RAP) is very important to let employees know how much they are being valued and respected within a Company. Most organizations overlook this and take their employees for granted. Here are a few tried and tested techniques that promote positive reinforcement:
- Emphasize and highlight the positives: Instead of exhausting an individual by expressing annoyance and disappointment, mitigating reviews and delivering them along with an affirmative and encouraging note will help stabilize productivity in the long run.
- Unbolt the doors of communication: It is obvious that being a manager, one has to deal with multiple tasks-both simple and complex-which sometimes may lead to overlooking people on the inside. It’s most important to attend to and press on group discussions and act as a coherent mediator. This way, employees feel connected, appreciated and depended upon.
- Clearing nepotism: Favoritism at work or school or anywhere is unavoidable, but noticeable. Partiality always creates discrimination and induces negative reinforcement. Hence, the feeling of being biased should be left alone and a fair game should be played.
- Match the talent to the job at hand: Team excellence is essential for maximum productivity but it can be so only when it is rightly handled. Choosing the right expertise and making a quick switch of responsibilities will enhance team spirit and result in the maximum yield.
- Persuade employees to self-construct solutions: It is always appreciable to let an individual make his own decisions. Offering a constructive advice in case of a problem and allowing the individual to self-develop from available resources would certainly motivate the employee to feel appreciated.
- Professionalism via communication: Maintaining professionalism in every way is vital in the corporate world. If an employee is recruited, he has, for sure, deserved to be there. Hence, professionalism should be delivered most by means of communication. Sounding parental and being domineering would trigger negative reinforcement within the organization.
The above list highlights the simple ways along the boulevard of reward and recognition, which are being overlooked. Positive reinforcement can be achieved by recognition, appreciation, praise and gratitude. To make the most out of positive reinforcement, RAP should be:
- Direct and instantaneous
- Different and indiscriminate
- Seldom combined with a tangible reward
As dynamic and powerful as RAP might sound, the extent of its impact is based on how it is being adept.
Do share your thoughts on the same.