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How To Build Employee Recognition And Influence Positive Employee Behavior Through Reward Systems

Nov 02, 2023

In the rapidly changing business landscape, a significant challenge for organizations is employee engagement. In a riveting podcast episode, Bill Sims Jr., a global expert on behavior change and the president of the Bill Sims Company Inc., shares his insights on how to revolutionize employee recognition and unleash the power of positive reinforcement in the workplace. 

Breaking Down Conventional Wisdom 

A prevalent belief in most organizations is that programs such as 'Employee of the Month' are beneficial. However, Bill challenges this assumption, arguing that such programs can sometimes be more harmful than helpful. The real impact of these programs lies in how they influence employee behavior, and often, they do not create the intended positive change. 

Introducing Innovative Systems 

Bill introduces his unique system of 'Safety Bucks', a real-time electronic platform that measures positive reinforcement touchpoints. This platform encourages managers to immediately recognize and reinforce positive behavior, leading to a more engaged workforce.

The Power of Timely Reinforcement 

A powerful takeaway from Bill's conversation is the power of a well-timed 'thank you'. Positive reinforcement doesn't have to be a grand gesture. A simple, sincere 'thank you' can motivate employees to go above and beyond their basic job requirements. The fact that there is usually less than a 3% pay difference between high-performing and underperforming employees underscores the importance of timely reinforcement over monetary rewards. 

Understanding the Right Reward Systems 

Bill shares his experience with implementing effective reward systems in major companies like DuPont, Coca-Cola, and Disney. One common misstep in many organizations is the belief that a paycheck is sufficient reinforcement. However, Bill argues that this is far from enough. Positive reinforcement needs to be specific, immediate, and meaningful to the employee. 

A one-size-fits-all approach to rewards and positive reinforcement doesn't work. Each employee is motivated by different factors. A system that allows employees to select their own rewards can be much more effective. For instance, Sims' 'Smart Card' system allows employees to accumulate points for positive behavior, which they can then exchange for a reward of their choice. 

Recognition and positive reinforcement are essential tools in motivating employees and creating a supportive and productive workplace culture. Understanding the nuances of employee behavior and creating a well-structured system of positive reinforcement can significantly improve overall employee performance and satisfaction. This is an investment that all organizations should consider making to ensure their continued success.

Visit the Wannos Law Firm, a premier Florida employment law firm, to discuss your employment needs. At the Wannos Law Firm, we help Florida businesses with the following:

  • Legal Document Preparation: we prepare employee handbooks, employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, and other legal documentation for Florida businesses with employees
  • Risk Assessment: we conduct a comprehensive audit of your business and HR procedures and policies to help ensure you are legally protected
  • Florida Workplace Investigations: we are a neutral third-party investigator of workplace matters, including claims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
  • Florida Mediator for Employment Claims: Karly is a Florida Supreme Court Certified mediator and helps the parties reach a resolution of their Florida employment lawsuits 

For more information, visit The Wannos Law Firm at 
If you want to learn more about The Employment Experience Podcast, check out

The Wannos Law Firm, P.A. provides legal advice to Florida businesses. Karly Wannos is a workplace investigator for claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, Florida employment law mediator and provides training to businesses on employment laws. 

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