Positive Reinforcement Part 2: Is Your Strategy Working?

b loehr - positiveDo you want highly engaged employees who help drive the company’s profitability? Of course, you do! A company’s greatest asset is its workforce. And one of the best ways to build a phenomenal team and motivate them to assist you in striving for success is to reward and acknowledge their individual and team accomplishments.

It’s a safe bet that you have high expectations of your employees. You want, need and expect them to do their best, to be at the top of their game. Your acknowledgment of their past, present and future successes is crucial to creating the employer/employee bonds that will drive the business forward and propel the entire team toward future success.

Failure to acknowledge, reward and celebrate individual and team accomplishments will not get you where you want to go. Not even close.

Bill Sims Jr., president of the Bill Sims Co., a leadership consulting firm, cautions against “Leave Alone/Zap” management. “Simply put, it means that we leave employees alone and say nothing when they do something right, but we are quick to ‘zap’ or to punish them when they make a mistake.”

Gauge your prowess at doling out positive reinforcement with these tips:
1. Sincerity must set the stage. Show appreciation for achievements with genuine actions. Don’t forget the importance of tone of voice, word choice, body language.
2. Be specific. While a generic “Great job!” is better than nothing, go a step further and give the employee concrete, specific information about what he/she did right.
3. Be realistic. Absolute perfection is a tall order that will discourage some workers from even trying. Make expectations clear and reasonable.
4. Acknowledge both effort and improvement. Not all “best efforts” result in stunning results, but consistent, top-notch effort will pay off in the long run.
5. Don’t wait for monumental achievements before recognition is made. Celebrate the small as well as the large victories.
6. Immediate reinforcement is much more effective than the vague, “Hey, that thing you did last month? Yeah, it was good.” Instead, try “Hey, Bob, Great job on the presentation yesterday. You certainly started our project on the right foot. I appreciate the difference you are making in this company.” It will make a significant and lasting impact.

When the situation warrants an actual award, do some behind-the-scenes work to come up with truly motivating rewards. A gas card for the best sales record will do little for the guy who takes the train to work. A family membership to the zoo or the Y won’t be much of a motivator to the singles in the office. Gift cards for the steak house downtown will be shrugged off by the vegans in marketing. You get the picture. Think outside the box to come up with rewards that will truly incentivize.

Boost your employees’ self-confidence with positive reinforcement and watch their eagerness to learn new techniques, take additional training, and accept more responsibility soar.

B. Loehr Staffing’s employees are the highest caliber workers to be found anywhere. Our pool of excellent candidates can quickly meet all of your temporary long and short-term, temp-to-hire, and direct hire needs. Contact our Staffing Specialists today and you’ll find it easy to engage in positive reinforcement because your workers will be the best.

Positive Reinforcement – Part 1: Why It Matters

Along the lines of the adage that suggests “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” positive reinforcement tends to get better results than negative feedback or punishment. “Reinforcing” positive behavior by offering a verbal or material token encourages that behavior to continue.

Behavioral scientists define positive reinforcement (PR+) as “any consequence that causes a behavior to repeat or increase in frequency.” It’s a reward for a job well done; one that motivates the doer to put in the effort to achieve the same results the next time.

A perfect example is the pride and joy a gold-starred paper brings to a first grader who put effort into writing out the alphabet. An adult world illustration is the feel-good vibes a person gets when sticking to a diet/workout plan that results in a lower number on the scale. In both cases, the positive reinforcement encourages continued effort.

While positive reinforcement is touted in the realms of parenting and education, we sometimes forget that adults also respond well to positive reinforcement. People never outgrow the need for affirmative feedback.

In the workplace, positive reinforcement can motivate a team or an individual to greater productivity, creativity, even a more pleasant disposition. Even though this is common knowledge, too often those in leadership positions find it easier to bring up what their employees are doing wrong rather than to make mention of their accomplishments and improvements. In fact, studies show that over 70 percent of employees never hear their boss say “thank you.”

When the focus is less on what people are doing wrong and more on what they’re doing right, being and doing their best becomes a habit. Consistent praise and incentivizing will shift your team into a constant mode of top performance.

Positive reinforcement does not mean ignoring situations that must be addressed. At times, correcting or admonishing, in order to seek a solution, has to happen. But the sting can be lessened when the correction is wrapped around some positive reinforcement. Hmm, sounds like the Mary Poppins inspired suggestion, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…”

“We appreciate how well you connect with our customers, but we need to talk about the monthly reports that are a week overdue.”

“Your willingness to fill in those extra shifts has been such a help to the company. Now let’s discuss what steps will help you keep the department functioning more smoothly.”

Every scenario will be unique and different. The key is finding specific “sugar” that relates personally to each individual.

Great leaders understand the role positive reinforcement plays in spurring employees to function at their best. And these leaders make sure their management team incorporates routine feedback of a positive nature. Just as muscles need to be worked out on a regular basis to remain strong, positive reinforcement will net the best results when it happens as an organic characteristic of the company’s structure.

In Part 2, we’ll explore the best strategies for utilizing positive reinforcements.

  1. Loehr Staffing’s team-based client support system is designed to find the best solutions to your company’s toughest staffing challenges. Our special processes enable us to respond quickly and efficiently to meet your unique needs. Contact our staffing specialists today.

 

 

 

Cap off Summer Fun Without Breaking the Bank

b loehr -summer funWith hot summer temperatures in St. Louis expected to last well into September, there’s plenty of time to squeeze in a lot more “fun in the sun” before the books are closed on the summer of 2016.

St. Louis boasts a multitude of family-friendly attractions, many of which won’t cost you a dime. Others offer great adventure at little cost. Grab a calendar and make plans to spend time with family and friends enjoying the great outdoors.

Water fun to beat the summer heat

  • The fountain and wading pool at Tower Grove Park provide a cool reprieve from the summer heat. Dozens of pop-jets and a large water bowl in the center of the fountain offer lots of opportunities for children to beat the heat. During the summer, the fountain and jets are on every day while the wading pool is open Tuesday through Sunday. No admission charge.
  • One of the city’s newer downtown attractions is Citygarden. The park is filled with fountains, wading pools, sculpture and more offering kids a great place to enjoy a hot summer day. Located along Market Street between 8th and 10th Streets, the park is open daily from sunrise to 10 p.m. No admission charge.

Who doesn’t love animals?

  • The 281-acre wildlife preserve and family attraction, Grant’s Farm, is located just south of St. Louis, on what was once the property of President Ulysses S. Grant. The farm showcases more than 900 animals from six continents. People of all ages will love the animal shows and petting The farm is open annually from mid-April through October. While general admission is always free, there is a charge for parking and some attractions.
  • The World-Class St. Louis Zoo is home to more than 5000 animals. Located at One Government Drive in Forest Park, this zoo is considered one of the top in the country. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended summer hours; the Zoo offers free admission although some attractions require a small fee.

Who says learning can’t be fun?

  • The Camp River Dubois Lewis & Clark Illinois State Historic Site, just up the Mississippi from St. Louis in Hartford, Illinois, marks Lewis and Clark’s exact point of departure for their famed expedition. Admission is free to everything on the property, including the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, a replica of the 1804 winter encampment, and special reenactment events.
  •  A visit to the World Bird Sanctuary provides an opportunity for an up-close look at bald eagles, owls, falcons, vultures and more. A variety of seasonal shows offer educational programs on the world’s threatened bird species. Admission and parking are free at the 125 Bald Eagle Ridge Road facility in Valley Park. The sanctuary is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas).
  •  The Delmar Loop Planet Walk offers a unique, scale model of the solar system. It turns the 6100 to 6600 blocks of Delmar Boulevard into a free, three-billion-mile walk from the Sun to Neptune where kids (and mom and dad) can learn about celestial bodies.

St. Louis—it’s a great place to enjoy summer!

B. Loehr Staffing  has proudly served the Greater St. Louis area as a trusted staffing resource since 1898. “We’re not the best because we’re the oldest, we’re the oldest  because we’re the best.” When you’re finished with your days of fun in the sun, Contact us to see how our staffing specialists can provide for all of your employment needs.

 

Impact your Diet for the Positive with Small Changes

Little changes can mean a big difference, not only for your waistline but also in a positive impact on your health.

If you’ve been turned off by stricter than strict diets or a list of don’ts longer than your arm, you’re not alone. Dieters who watched a “food police”-style video that bluntly told them “All sugary snacks are bad” ate 39 percent more cookies than those who saw a more positive clip. It seems a gentler approach that combines a balance of negative and positive messages about food has a better effect, researchers say.

Quickly dropping huge amounts of weight is neither healthy nor likely to be permanent. “Baby steps” may result in less drastic weight loss, but losing weight is not the only positive to be gained from adjusting your eating habits. In fact, referring to the changes you want to make as “adjustments” rather than “restrictions” or “rules” is also likely to have a better outcome. It creates a positive outlook which establishes a better foundation and an overall more favorable vibe.

“When you focus on just a couple of small changes at a time, you begin to ingrain some healthy habits that last a lifetime. Better by far than trying an all-or-nothing approach that more often than not fails because it’s too hard to follow,” says Lesley Lutes, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University.

Choose one or two of these strategies to begin your journey toward a lifetime of better eating habits. After a couple of weeks, incorporate another one or two.

Here are some general “don’ts” – the good kind – to get you started.

  • Don’t skip breakfast. While you may think you’re “skipping” calories, research shows the opposite to be true. Breakfast eaters consume fewer calories throughout the rest of the day, a major factor in both losing weight and keeping it off.
  •  Don’t give up snacking! An in-between-meal snack will help you consume fewer calories at the next meal. Opt for fresh fruits and veggies or whole grains and don’t forget to include some protein.
  •  Don’t banish all your favorite foods. Nothing sidelines a plan to improve eating habits more than the feeling you’re being deprived of your favorites. Allow yourself to savor a small treat daily. The key word here is Aim for no more than 150 calories.

Completely painless “tricks” of the healthier eating trade

  • It’s easy to make the leftovers in the fridge either MORE or LESS tempting. Hide in aluminum foil the calorie-laden options while leaving in full view, by covering with plastic wrap, the healthier selections. You’ll be more likely to reach for the ones you can see.
  •  Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth right after a meal or snack to quell the urge to keep nibbling. “It’s both a physical and a psychological signal to your body that you’re done eating,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Choices that make sense

  • Eating in is, on average, better for your waistline. Large portions and indulgent options too tempting to pass up are two of the ways dining out sabotages a commitment to improved eating habits. If the time it takes to cook a meal is an issue, stock the freezer with frozen meals and entrees. Especially helpful for controlling portion size, these convenient meal options are available in many delicious varieties. Look for entrees with fewer than 400 calories.
  •  Blatner continues, “Instead of refined and processed white foods, aim to have whole-grain starches such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread and bran cereals.” Generally speaking, the browner the food, the higher the fiber, and by now, it’s common knowledge that dietary fiber creates a fuller feeling that lasts The consumption of fiber also decreases the absorption of calories from other food sources. Substitute whole-grain options whenever possible. Add fiber such as a sprinkling of high-fiber cereal on yogurt or fruit. Adopt a pro-fiber attitude.

The road to better eating habits is a journey that doesn’t require sprinting. An easy jog will get you there. So take it one “baby step” at a time.

While you’re making smart choices concerning diet, put B. Loehr Staffing to work for you – helping you make smart choices concerning job opportunities. B Loehr Staffing is continually seeking the highest caliber candidates to join our team. We provide the chance to “look before you leap” and experience a position before making a commitment. To sum it up, our employees enjoy one of the most competitive pay and benefit packages in the industry as well as excellent opportunities for personal and professional growth. Contact us today.

Start on the Road to Better Health with these Small Steps  

Lots of people choose an all-or-nothing proposition when it comes to making improvements to their diet.  Thinking the only avenue to achieving better health is a radical revamping of how they eat – they give up before they begin, abandoning even small efforts to make positive changes. Too hard. Too much trouble and bother.

Well, folks, major diet makeovers aren’t necessary to achieve lasting results. In fact, research reveals that “baby steps,” rather than giant leaps, result in lasting, positive changes that impact overall health more than a major diet shift. New routines that incorporated minor adjustments proved more successful over the long haul.

While the aim of most diet modifications is to see a lower number staring back from the scales, the positive impact on overall health, energy, and well-being is every bit as important as a drop in weight – and sometimes, more important.

The key to achieving any and all of these improvements is making changes that are both practical and sustainable; that can be adapted for and adopted into everyday life. Incorporate a couple of these tips at a time into your daily routine.

Choose food wisely

  • Pack in the Protein. Not only are proteins one of the four building blocks of life, “they constitute more of a cell’s dry matter than do lipids, carbohydrates, and all other molecules combined.” Studies have found that doubling up on protein could help you eat less without feeling hungry due to making the brain more sensitive to leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full.
  •  Aim for protein as a part of every meal, with a goal of at least one-third of the calories coming from a source of lean protein.
  • Take advantage of the increasingly popular one-hundred calorie packaging of many snacks from chips to yogurt to nuts to ice cream. While these portion-controlled servings may be costlier than economy sized packages, the convenience, and the lessened temptation are worth the expense.

Monitor shopping habits

  • Never, ever shop on an empty stomach. Even a quick stop to grab just a couple of items can result in a plethora of craving-satisfying foods walking out the door with you.
  •  Shopping without a plan in the form of a specific list? Then expect some indulgent, I-didn’t-plan-to-buy-that items to appear in your cart. Guard against hasty decisions with a commitment to make a list and stick to it.
  •  Because Little Johnnie is too cute to resist, and Susie can be expected to sob until Mom purchases all of her favorites, shopping with the kids is sure to result in unplanned items getting toted home. If at all possible, leave the “beggars” at home. Swap babysitting with another Mom or Dad also striving for solo shopping excursions.

Smart dinnerware and utensil choices

  • A smaller plate at meals will look “full” with a lesser amount of food. Kind of a “mind over matter” situation that will lessen the sense of being deprived.
  •  Insert a smaller serving spoon into higher calorie dishes, a larger spoon into low-cal salads and veggies.

Tame your Achilles Heel

  • Everyone has those one or two foods they can’t seem to resist. Lesley Lutes, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University suggests, “If you’re eating six of these foods a week, try to go down to five.” Each week, drop another until you’re at no more than one or two. Substitute better choices like fresh or sautéed veggies, fresh fruits, and whole grains.
  •  Fool your sweet tooth with a piece of hard candy rather than indulging in a calorie-dense dessert. Savor the sweetness as long as possible then pat yourself on the back for settling for a healthier option.

If you thought you’d reach the end of an article about diet improvements without any mention of water intake, sorry. Most people grow weary of the “drink more water!” speeches even while admitting they struggle to consume adequate amounts of water. Even though they realize that drinking more water can increase energy, flush out toxins, and lower overall calorie intake, often that’s not enough motivation. Because let’s face it, water can be boring.

Here are few strategies that can help.

  • Purchase a reusable water bottle that’s handy to tote around.
  • Change things up with flavored or sparkling water options.
  • Have a quantity of cold, flavored water always on hand with a DIY infuser equipped pitcher. Experiment with different flavor combinations to liven up the taste of the ol’ H2

B. Loehr Staffing  is here to cheer you on – and, while you are making wise diet choices, we’ll help you make wise staffing choices too. Whether you have open positions or need extra help for special projects, rolling out new products, or making changes to your service processes, our team at B Loehr will ensure we find the staffing solution that best suits your organization’s specific needs. Contact us today.

The Secret to Enjoying Life

b loehr - enjoyIf the title enticed you because you expected a quick solution to magically make your life enjoyable, well . . . Sorry folks. We hate to burst your bubble, but there is no one secret to enjoying life. There’s no magic pill or formula or even supplement that will trigger an enjoyable life. It just doesn’t work that way.

But before you slink away in despair, consider this. What if the secret to enjoying life is realizing you can’t pin life happiness on any one thing? Or person or circumstance or event. Rather, it seems there’s a number of factors – many within your control – that contribute to an enjoyable life. Of course, some things in life simply are what they are, and there’s not a thing you can do to change them. But it’s also true that a lot of the other stuff that makes up the fabric of our daily lives is most definitely within our power to modify or improve upon.

Consider how working in the following areas could make your life more enjoyable.

  1. Take a chill pill

Not every obstacle has to be a mountain. Not everything is worth fighting over. I used to bristle when folks quipped, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” It seemed, to them, everything I sweat over was small. They didn’t understand my life, my circumstances. My issues were outside of their realm of comprehension. But after I smoothed down my ruffled feathers, I had to admit there were small things that I did sweat. Stuff I could have let go and should have let go.

  1. Make relaxation a priority

Our culture celebrates being busy, living nonstop lives, always trying to fit in one more thing – all to the detriment of both our health and happiness. We feel guilty at the thought of taking a break and ignore the mounting stress our go-go-go lifestyle produces. Taking time to relax, recharge and reconnect with ourselves and our family should not be considered a luxury but rather a necessity. Believe the truth that R & R will leave you better equipped to handle the challenges of your hectic life. If you have to schedule times to recharge, then do it. But no “penciling-in” allowed. Use ink.

  1. Set goals

 Could be you gave up on New Year’s resolutions years ago – so has more than half of the adult population. But why not jot down a couple of things you’d like to accomplish. Something simple like organizing the garage or a more challenging feat such as paying off a debt. Because even the smallest goals, when met, come with a sense of accomplishment that can boost your morale. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back and celebrate. Then set another goal or two.

  1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude

Ever notice how it takes zero thought to come up with something to gripe about but it can take real effort to think of something for which you’re thankful? Another casualty of busy, stressed-out lives.

If you’re serious about upping the enjoyment factor in your life, commit to writing down three things that you are grateful for each day. Such purposeful effort is guaranteed to make you happier because it will shift your focus toward gratitude.

At B. Loehr Staffing, we understand people. And it’s that understanding that has earned our reputation as a premier provider of staffing solutions in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Contact us today to learn more.