The Power of Positive Reinforcement


When diving deep into improving office culture and employee retention, one of the first and most effective steps is to consider how you are reinforcing your employees. Positive reinforcement is one of the best strategies for encouraging desired behavior while making your employees feel valued and celebrated.

What is positive reinforcement? It’s the act of adding a positive stimulus in response to a good behavior. It can be as simple as a “thank you” or “job well done” note, but it must be delivered immediately after the action has been performed.

Employees thrive in a culture of positive reinforcement. Regardless of how you deliver the praise, whether it’s a physical reward or written recognition, this small act can motivate your team and improve employee retention. Positively reinforcing your employees not only communicates what’s expected or desired but also promotes an environment where employees want to learn and grow.

It may be common knowledge that positive reinforcement cultivates self-confidence and an eagerness to know, but many leaders do not know how to execute the delivery of the reward or praise. In one of my first jobs out of university, I had a boss who would cast a wide “good job team” at the end of a busy day. While this praise was appreciated, it would have meant so much more if he provided specific examples of what went well and who was responsible for the success. Positive reinforcement can also be perceived as cheesy or insincere if you go about it the wrong way.

The best approach to rewarding and praising your employees is making sure that you are coming from a genuine place. Make it personal and unpredictable, and deliver the positive reinforcement in a timely manner from when the task was completed. Public recognition is another effective way to make an employee feel special and demonstrate to your team that no good deed goes uncelebrated.

In order to step of the box and go above and beyond, employees need to feel affirmed in their actions. You’ll quickly realize that happy employees lead to a successful and profitable business. If your employees feel like their work is valued and important, they will take it more seriously and pay attention to the finer details. Employees will also not want to leave a position where they feel appreciated and celebrated, therefore increasing the overall commitment to your business.

Learn more about how we foster a culture of celebration at Imagine Media here.

Story By: Sophie Duncan