On very rare occasions a company’s employees will behave just as the managers had intended, but it is more realistic to expect them to behave in a way that you are not going to be fond of. In fact, this will be the case in 99% of scenarios.
Unwanted behaviors can decrease morale, cause your organization to lose customers and/or partners, and significantly decrease productivity. This is why you should have specific knowledge on how to facilitate behavioral changes in your employees.
In order to help you out, we have compiled a list of five simple ways to change employee behavior. Let’s see what we’ve prepared for you, shall we?
Make Sure You Set a Good Example
The general rule states that employees follow the example set by others in the organization – especially the one set by their bosses. This is why you have to do your best to model the behaviors you want to see in your employees.
This method leans on the work of Albert Bandura, the famous social psychologist, who proved that people learn through observing others. This method is called “modeling” and in order to successfully implement it, you will need to make sure that certain conditions are met (attention and motivation being the most important).
Setting a good example is a good start. You should make sure that, while at work, your behavior during every interaction reflects exactly what you want your hires to do in the future. Your employees already have some incentive to start learning from you, because you are the authority figure in the organization.
It is your responsibility to set the example and guide good behavior. Since you are the behavioral model, make sure to work on your attitude towards work and people.
Creative Team Building Exercises
Creative team building exercises are the next method in line to be used to facilitate the wanted behaviors. Since there is a great variety of these exercises, make sure to pick the ones that facilitate the things you want to achieve.
Team building activities are predominantly used to develop trust among employees, improve communication and foster better collaboration. In order to maximize the effect of such an activity, make sure to take part in them. This is yet another opportunity for you to set a good example.
For instance, team building activities that require hand-in-hand collaboration between your employees are the best solution if you want to improve communication. On the other hand, these activities will also provide them with new opportunities for collaboration. The thing about the experience and knowledge gained through these activities is that it is transferable to the office environment.
Furthermore, team building exercises can be organized outside of the office building. The casual environment outside the office will enable your employees to get to know each other while having fun. Allowing them to see their colleagues from a different perspective will develop trust and deeper bonds between them.
Incentive programs is what behavioral psychologists call positive reinforcement. It is as simple as this: if you see someone exhibiting the behavior that you want to promote, reward him/her/the entire department. This rule is very crude and you might want to work out the incentive programs down to every little detail.
Incentives don’t necessarily have to be of a financial nature. Some people would prefer to be recognized by their boss or to be publicly acknowledged and given praise. This means that you will have to work hand-in-hand with your HR officer(s) who are familiar with the psychological profiles of your employees to determine which incentive program will work better with your hires.
While you are at it, you might want to consider what you are going to do with negative behaviors. Instead of just punishing your employees for a negative behavior, make sure to be direct and to provide constructive feedback right after the employee exhibits such a behavior. This will help them to understand what they did wrong and what is expected instead.
Get Problems Out in The Open
Many managers are struggling when it comes to choosing the way the message is going to be conveyed. The best possible way to achieve results when it comes to human behavior and the possible problems related to it is to put things right in the open. Don’t be afraid to practice this, as you won’t be able to over-communicate the behaviors you want and don’t want to see.
Employees can’t learn what is expected of them if you use methods such as intentional coughs, frowns, loud sighs and other similar reactions. First of all, it is quite passive aggressive, and secondly, you are the behavioral model and your employees will start doing the same things you are doing.
This is why you have to practice assertive communication and be ready to address the issue the moment it arises. There is one more thing when it comes to putting problems out in the open. Make sure to work on one problem at a time. If you address several issues at a time, you might confuse and overwhelm your employees, which may lead to additional problems that you will have to solve.
Coach your Team to Success
In order to bring out the best behavior in your employees, you will have to become the coach that will lead them to success. Now, this is easier said than done, but it is still manageable. You should start by building an environment where feedback is welcomed.
The coaching is a two-way street, your employees will have to accept your feedback and you will have to have enough patience to let them admit that a performance issue exists and then hear out their excuses. The ultimate goal is to teach them how to commit to responsibility.
By helping your employees to build relationships and trust among themselves, you will be setting them on a course for success. In order to address the issues that arise, you will have to organize regular coaching meetings. Coaching your team to success is a long-term process that requires your undivided attention.
These are the five simple ways to change employee behavior, with the last one being the most complex. In order to succeed in any of these methods, you will have to be consistent with your goals, behavior and the way you interact with your staff.
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