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.