3 productive ways to spur positive employee behavior

Reinforcing positive employee behaviors requires quick feedback

By Sathee Brent,

In their approach to sales performance management, managers typically don't focus enough on correcting employee behaviors. While managers reward employees who meet their sales goals or even exceed them, they may not take an active role in shaping worker productivity. Although there are a variety of ways employers can talk to employees about their performance, there are more effective ways to get workers moving toward achieving business objectives after going in the wrong direction.

Here are productive ways to changing employee behavior:

1. Provide feedback as soon as possible
When managers notice something employees might be doing wrong, it might be weeks or months before they bring it up with their workers. This could be out of fear of how their employees will react or because they are preoccupied. However, quick feedback is crucial to correcting employee behavior, Entrepreneur suggested. When managers notice that employees are not progressing as quickly in accomplishing sales targets or are slacking in other areas, they should give feedback on the negatives they observe so employees are aware of where their performance goes wrong so they can get back on the right track. Before bringing up areas of improvement, managers should consider also reinforcing positives they have seen so employees do not get discouraged. 

2. Ask employees what drives them
Although employers may have a good idea of what makes the perfect employee, workers might have a different vision. Rather than telling them what it means to be productive, companies should ask employees the question, "Who are you when you are at your very best?" wrote John Beshears and Francesca Gino, professors at Harvard Business School, in Harvard Business Review. This question brings to mind what drives employees and what they are capable of doing to optimize their performance. It could also be a good basis for choosing personalized incentives for star performers who may be more motivated by noncash rewards rather than money. 

3. Assess the workplace environment
Employee behavior is often influenced by the environment that surrounds them. Workplaces that may have distracting elements or other internal problems could prevent workers from achieving their sales goals and get them away from meeting business objectives. Companies should evaluate the workplace environment and whether it is as conducive to encouraging positive employee behavior. Employers could look to determine whether their incentive compensation structure is great at rewarding the right behaviors or if they need to change up management styles and more. 

With the importance of molding employee behaviors to meet business goals, companies should consider equipping themselves with the right tools to analyze employee performance. 

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Sathee Brent