Reward and Reinforce Good Behaviour
Rewarding Good Behaviour in the Hope of Repeat Performances
Whether it is an employee, dog, or performing seal, they all have something in common: rewarding them when they do something that is desired will reinforce the message that it should be repeated, with the potential prospect of receiving a reward the next time. For animals, the reward is likely to be a tasty food treat. For people this is more likely to be either a financial reward or a non-financial type such as recognition, job enrichment or more authority.
Rewards Can Lead to Expectation and Dependency
This method can change the behaviour and habits of both workers in an organisation and animals. The downside is that it can also lead to dependency and an expectation of a reward every time.
Whilst for pet owners this can mean getting through a lot of food (and possibly a fat animal), workers who expect and get a reward each and every time they perform a certain action can end up costing the business a lot of money or other resources.
Although animals will not know any better, workers should know that sometimes the behaviour that is expected of them such as the willingness to go above and beyond so that the company they work for can achieve a certain objective is something that they should be doing anyway as a condition of being paid a salary in the first place.
Stopping Rewards Once Started Can Result in De-Motivation
As far as animals and workers are concerned, both will be disappointed, de-motivated and begin to wonder what they did wrong if the reinforcing rewards stop coming. So for managers in a business, they need to weigh up the pros and cons of rewarding behaviour and actions. Whilst it can increase the productivity and motivation of their employees, they need to consider the consequences of making it a regular expectation. A little reward every now and again is a powerful motivational tool, but too much of a good thing can spoil workers and make them greedy.