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Positive reinforcement at work can be a wonderful thing. It’s a powerful tool to recognize and acknowledge a job well done. It can come from a variety of sources, including supervisors, peers, team members, and patients.

Let’s consider a surgical team as an example. Each person on the team can offer positive reinforcement to the other members of the team, and it can improve everyone’s attitudes. Just as positive reinforcement from a surgeon can lead to a better attitude for surgical techs, positive reinforcement from surgical techs can lead to a better attitude for surgeons.

Why is it important?

Positive reinforcement is more than just a nice thing to do: psychological research has shown us time and again that it’s the single most powerful tool in our arsenal for eliciting and maintaining desired behavior. That’s compelling, and, as an added bonus, positive reinforcement is highly cost-efficient, which means it can be implemented without an adverse effect on the organization’s bottom line.

When people acknowledge positive behaviors at work, that acknowledgment serves as positive reinforcement, improves self-confidence, inspires people to do their best work, and enables them to make a dramatic and lasting impact on the organization. Clearly, it’s a win-win situation: it’s easy to give this type of feedback, and it has a positive impact on the individual receiving it, but it also has a wonderful ripple effect.

How to give it

In order to work well, positive reinforcement must be done well. The first and most important factor is that it must be genuine. If it’s not authentic and sincere, it will come across as hollow, fake, and meaningless.

To build on that foundation, positive reinforcement should be specific and immediate; in addition, it should be done repeatedly in a sincere and genuine way. It can also be helpful to note small improvements, especially because they can build bigger improvements. Giving positive reinforcement may feel awkward at first, but it will feel less awkward when it’s genuine and natural.

It can be especially helpful in certain situations

Any workplace can be a mix of personalities, work styles, and agendas. Sometimes those elements clash, and people can find it tough to find common ground. Positive reinforcement can be especially appropriate for those situations because it focuses only on behavior and performance; personalities and other differences aren’t hindrances.

Sometimes, a problem doesn’t start to get better right away. Positive reinforcement can be useful to let people know that they are making progress and that others recognize their efforts. That can help lead to additional improvement.

Fostering positive reinforcement

At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. We know what a difference positive reinforcement can make, and we’d like to help you find a situation where it’s part of your life. Give us a call at 310.436.3650 today!

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