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Changing Employee Behavior: Are Your People Getting the Message?

Chad Tisonik
Vice President & Advisory Practice Leader, HNI

Your Message

Is your workforce getting mixed messages? If so, it could be the difference between being in the red or in the black.

The other day, I was speaking to a large group of employees at an awards ceremony. Congratulations were in order as their cost reduction efforts had paid off.  They had just passed 365 days without a lost time accident, and this effort had saved the company an estimated $100,000 as their experience mod fell by 30 points!

During the post meeting reception, one employee mentioned that a new supervisor recently told her to improve productivity “at all costs”. 

I know the CEO of this organization and would attest that he does not subscribe to an “at all costs” mentality. [After all, the degree of profitability and cost reduction associated with this initiative says otherwise!]

How do often do our messages get lost in translation?

For whatever reason, it was evident that the original Quality-Productivity-Safety mantra the leadership team at this company had embraced somehow had been watered down.  The message has become fuzzy and the goals unclear. Where did this mistaken message originate? 

I can imagine a scenario where the CEO said something like, “We need to improve our productivity, our profitability depends on it”?  Each manager then perhaps walked away with a challenge to improve productivity, and it was left to them to figure out how to achieve the mission. 

This experience is something most managers and business leaders can relate to.  It's all too common that somewhere from Point A to Point B, your message gets distorted. 

Effectively driving employee behavior change in any organization starts with getting the message right.  Goals and specific behaviors need to be clearly articulated at all levels of the company.  How else can you challenge your team to change the behaviors that are holding your business back?

Let’s face it, changing employee behavior is tough stuff. 

You can't motivate your team to make a change by rewarding employees for reaching a milestone with pizza or cake a few times a year.  Real behavior changes require a deeper connection with the individual.  It starts with understanding the existing behaviors of your employees, and then outlining a detailed vision of the right behaviors.  This is the foundation of meaningful change.

Over the years, we've developed an approach to doing this called the Behavior Bank Account.  We use this approach to hone in on specific wanted or unwanted behaviors and motivate employees to adjust them.  

Want to learn more?  Listen to the webinar recording of our recent Behavior Bank Account HNI U event, which will discuss what it takes to design an incentive model for your company that really works.  

 

Topics: Construction Transportation Manufacturing