Power of Habit: Reinforce Desired Behavior with Recognition

I recently finished reading The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

The book begins by explaining how the “habit loop” forms then provides numerous examples of how people have used their understanding of it to transform themselves and organizations.

The habit loop begins with a cue, which sets off a previously formed habit that has elicited a reward. That sounds simple but the book dives deeper into how organizations (Proctor & Gamble, Alcoa, Target) have tapped into that process to make millions.

When you or your organization are in a “bad” habit loop, the cue sets off an undesired behavior (i.e. smoking, snacking, complaining, time wasting activities). The perceived reward isn’t actually a good thing but it’s what follows the behavior. Disrupting the habit loop in that situation can be difficult but it’s not impossible.

One of the methods of disrupting a “bad” habit loop in an organization is recognition. When employees feel unappreciated they are less likely to be highly productive and more likely to leave. That’s big bucks for an organization. Recognition, reward, and incentive programs are money well spent and when properly executed can lead to increased profits, lower safety accidents, and loyal employees who enjoy being a part of the organization.

The IRF 2019 Trends Study

The good news for the incentive industry is that more and more companies are investing in programs to keep their employees motivated and happy.

The attached article provides an in depth review of the various methods of offering non-cash rewards and their respective trend forecasts.

Highlights are:

  • Incentive travel continues to be neutral due to with net optimism at 3% due to multiple factors including cost, safety, & event disruption although expanding budgets offer a positive outlook for the year.

  • Gift cards and merchandise incentives are continuing to experience growth with net optimism at 43%. Brand name merchandise, electronics, and clothing/apparel are the most popular but offering a wide selection is the best way to excite the program audience.

  • Artificial Intelligence is helping reward program designers learn how to structure their programs to best address the needs of their employees.

  • Transformational travel is on the rise.

  • Flexibility in your program is key to addressing the needs of the diverse workforce.



Company Culture Change: Who Owns It?

“The only constant is change” —Heraclitus of Ephesus

Successful organizations recognize that change is imperative if they’re to remain successful. Some changes are simple and others are much more difficult. Changing company culture is probably among the most difficult but it doesn’t have to be. The mistake that many organizations make is relying upon HR to do all the heavy lifting.

This Harvard Business Review article by Rebecca Newton explains why this doesn’t work and offers a much more effective strategy for change.


Older Workers Helped Fuel Recent U.S. Growth: Can it last?

Americans who are reaching retirement age are choosing to stay in the workforce or reentering it after leaving. Over the past 3 years nearly 3 million Americans over the age of 55 joined or re-joined the workforce. How long will that trend continue?

Here’s an interesting article about this trend and the labor participation rate on the whole.