for Behaviour Change
The only way to get full value from your
training is when the desired behaviour is implemented and positively reinforced.
Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. The transfer of knowledge
in the training room is simply not enough.
Staff Training likes to "Keep
it Real" and our approach thus always involves spending some time on behavioural
analysis to identify cause and effect, thereafter moving to an actionable plan.
But let us talk you through an example using a case study.
"I would like training for my receptionist as she does not
carry out even the most basic of instructions, for example we ask her to switch
off the air conditioner and copier every evening to save power and three out of
the five days this does not happen. When I ask her what happened she just says
that she forgot."
Firstly we need to understand that when it comes to behaviour
change there are five potential influencing factors:
1. The Benchmark or
requested change needs to be clear
2. Recognise that some behaviours are
more difficult to change than others
3. Recognise that external influence/
policy/procedure change may be necessary
4. The behaviour change may have
to filter down from the top
5. There needs to be ongoing motivation for
the new habit
If we then look at the benchmark
for desired outcome, the explanation and/or illustration of this new standard
needs to be clear, without ambiguity and logical. In addition to this we need
to keep the processes and logic simple to encourage full engagement from the participants.
Explaining the what, when, how and why is vital. As well as the consequence of
not performing. In some instances a physical example of a benchmark would be useful.
that some behaviour is easier to change than others
In an organisation
it becomes abundantly clear that there are some individuals who will assume the
authority, responsibility and accountability (control) and others that will wait
until these are transferred to them.
It is easier to change your behaviour
if you have control, in other words you have full authority, accountability and
For example a junior employee wanting to ensure that the
air conditioner is switched off by the last employee if he/she is tasked with
the duty and needs to leave early, will find it more difficult to enforce the
request than the CEO would.
The difference is that the CEO carries the
full authority and there would be little doubt in anyone's mind that the request
from the CEO is in fact an instruction. The junior employee may not fare quite
Recognising that external influences and system/procedural
change may be necessary
Whilst a learner/employee, may well have the
desire to change his/her behaviour, it becomes difficult for them to do so if
the system does not allow it. For example a receptionist wanting to switch off
the air conditioner at 16h30 can do so every day, but if the procedure is such
that she has to walk to an outbuilding to switch off the air conditioner, and
she has nobody to answer her switchboard during this period, the chances are it
won't be done.
Additional authority and management buy-in may be necessary
to allow her the opportunity of a stand-by receptionist, alternatively the ability
to delegate the job to another colleague. Assisting a learner to understand this
step and the importance of then asking for the system change is imperative.
behaviour change may have to filter down from the top
So assuming that
the receptionist switches off the air conditioner and management who are working
late decide to switch on again, it is necessary for management to take the responsibility
of switching off when they leave. Should management then forget to switch off
and shrug off the duty as one that is trivial and unimportant, it will be unrealistic
to expect the employee to continue to enforce the behaviour of switching off.
needs to be ongoing motivation for the new habit
If the same receptionist
then does change her behaviour and does manage to switch off and the next week
she is faced with another hurdle that involves asking for the nearly impossible
with no support from management and/or others, it becomes difficult for her to
see why she should co-operate.
She may well slip back into apathy and procrastination
due to the difficulty of the task. Continued motivation for learners is often
as simple as saying "Wow, thanks, I can see the progress from last year this time"
a good understanding of these influencing factors it now becomes easier to investigate
and understand the cause and effect of certain behaviours and then to put an action
plan into place to change them permanently. A good training programme will recognise
that this is a desired route and as a result there will be more sustainable results.
Debbie Engelbrecht, January 2013-01-21
Debbie is a course designer and
facilitator at www.StaffTraining.co.za