Reinforcement at the Workplace
Motivation is the psychological process that arouses and directs behavior. There are three theories that will help us understand the motivation of employees in the workplace.
Goal-setting theory – Suggests behavior can be motivated with specific, challenging goals that are obtainable. The key to goal-setting theory is ensuring employees understand what is expected and accept the goals.
Self-efficacy – Is the belief “I Can/Can’t Do this Task.” Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s personal ability to do a task. There is a lot to be said to scoring high in this trait. People who are confident about their ability tend to succeed, whereas those who doubt their ability tend to fail.
Reinforcement theory – Explains how behavior can be altered by administering positive or negative consequences to actions of employees. Behavior with positive consequences tends to be repeated, and behavior with negative consequences tends not to be repeated.
For this week’s discussion, I want you to take a moment to think about what it would take to motivate you to achieve your goals at work, and what it would take to motivate people that you’ve worked with, or your family or friends, to achieve their goals.
Of the four areas of study listed above, which would you focus on first?
Make sure to explain why you chose this area, and why it would take precedence over the other areas.Reinforcement at the Workplace
I would focus first on employee reinforcement. Reinforcement is a powerful tool of motivation that not only helps in attaining set goals but also achieving job satisfaction (Wei & Yazdanifard, 2014). Reinforcement mainly aims at managing employee behavior by controlling the consequences of their actions. The past outcomes of an employee determine future behavior. If an employee receives positive reinforcement, they are much likely to exhibit similar behavior in the future. Reinforcement at the workplace can easily be implemented as it does not necessarily have to be extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation, such as words of appreciation from the manager to employees, make them feel that their efforts are acknowledged. Punishments at the workplace are effective in discouraging unlikeable behavior (Madi, 2017). If an employee is punished, there is less likelihood of them portraying a similar behavior. However, punishments should be well-thought before implementation as they may affect an organization negatively. Severe punishments such as salary cuts and demotions should be avoided as they could ruin the organization’s relationship with the employees or affect its reputation.
When employees are constantly rewarded, they tend to be more productive. Every employee desires recognition by their employer as it creates a sense of fulfillment. If reinforcement is done openly, the employees who have not been previously working hard improve their productivity to get a reward like their colleagues. Even though the high productivity is aimed at receiving more rewards, the trend helps in building a good culture at the workplace (Wei & Yazdanifard, 2014). With time, employees learn the best organizational practices, which consequently improves the organizational culture. Firms which reward their employees for achieving their goals are more successful than those that only set goals and push the employees towards achieving them.
Madi, F. A. (2017). The Impact of Employee Motivation on Organizational Commitment. European Journal of Business and Management, 9(15), 134-145.
Wei, L. T., & Yazdanifard, R. (2014). The impact of Positive Reinforcement on Employees’ Performance in Organizations. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 4, 9-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ajibm.2014.41002