Want Your Team to Perform Better? Try Positive Reinforcement.

No company picnics necessary. These simple steps could lead to increased profitability.

learn more about Bill Sims, Jr.

By Bill Sims, Jr.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you keeping up with your New Year's resolution? If you're like most folks, you're probably hard at work on that new diet or workout program.

While you're doing those next 25 crunches, ask yourself these questions: What's my New Year's resolution for my business? What are the exercises that will help me and my team perform better at work this year?

That answer is positive reinforcement.

Behavioral scientists define positive reinforcement (PR+) as "any consequence that causes a behavior to repeat or increase in frequency."

Now, I'm not talking about employee of the month programs or company picnics. Nor am I referring to the annual performance reviews that create "winners" and "losers." Studies show that these attempts at employee motivation often do more harm than good.

Think of it like this: You stick to your workout plan and lose a pound. Then another. Then another. You feel so good, you want to keep going.

That's positive reinforcement at work.

Related: How to Motivate Employees in Less Than 5 Minutes

In business, there are thousands of ways to provide PR+ for your team. From science, we know that PR+ has to be delivered immediately. And employee satisfaction research shows that two of the most powerful reinforcers are:

1. "I get to make a difference at work" and

2. "My boss has thanked me recently for what I do."

You see, as business leaders we usually do a really good job telling our employees what they do wrong. But we forget to tell them what they do right. Studies show that over 70 percent of employees never hear their boss say "thank you."

The key to being a great leader is ensuring that your management system provides positive reinforcement for your employees when they do something extra or just do something well. Just like a muscle, this practice needs to be done routinely and repeatedly for the best results.

When you and your leadership team fully understand and exercise the remarkable power of positive reinforcement, your business will thrive. High levels of employee engagement drive profitability for your business.

Related: Want to Flourish in Business? Cultivate Positivity

Bill Sims, Jr.

Bill Sims, Jr., is president of Bill Sims Behavior Change. For more than 30 years, he has helped companies improve performance and profitability through positive reinforcement. Bill’s book, Green Beans & Ice Cream: The Remarkable Power of Positive Reinforcement, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and leading book stores globally.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Business News

'This Made Me Physically Recoil From My Phone': Lingerie Brand Apologizes For 'Creepy' Ad Referencing Ryan Reynolds and Bras

Online lingerie retailer Harper Wilde is under fire for a bizarre sponsored post it has since pulled from Instagram.

Business News

Viral Sensation 'Popcorn Guy' Has Earned a Gig at the 2023 Oscars

Jason Grosboll first went viral on TikTok for his theatrical method of buttering popcorn in a Texas movie theater.

Thought Leaders

5 Small Daily Habits Self-Made Millionaires Use to Grow Their Wealth

We've all seen what self-made millionaires look like on TV, but it's a lot more subtle than that. Brian Tracy researched what small daily habits these successful entrepreneurs adopted on their journey from rags to riches.