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How To Change Employee Behavior For Better Performance


August 14, 2019



How To Change Employee Behaviour For Better Performance

How do employees fall into a certain habit? And how do those habits soon become usual behavior? Habits start with a single response to a stimulus and after being repeated enough times, that response becomes a habit. A behavior is formed when a habit is carried out for a considerable amount of time and once is becomes consistent, it is tremendously difficult to eliminate it.

Changing Behavior

Corporate organizations require their employees to learn a number of skills to fulfil its business objectives, and bad behavior can obstruct those objectives from being fulfilled. How? Let’s look at an example.

Claire is a customer care executive who specializes in product information. While Claire can answer any question related to the product, she has a habit of talking to customers in a condescending manner, about which she has received several complaints. Such a behavior leads to her poor performance and consequently affects the organization in a negative manner. There are many employees in every organization who, just like Claire, perform poorly due to bad or wrong behavior.

In order to change employee performance behavior, an organization needs to motivate its employees to halt bad behavior and inculcate good behavior in them. This can be easily accomplished using microlearning.

How Microlearning Can Change Employee Behaviour

According to the trans-theoretical model of behavioral change, a person goes through five states or phases when learning new behavior. These are:

1. Pre-contemplation
2. Contemplation
3. Preparation
4. Action
5. Maintenance.

Microlearning can be used to guide employees from the pre-contemplation phase through to the maintenance phase, which leads them to quit negative behavior and start practising positive behavior. Now let us learn what each phase or state means, and how microlearning can be used to guide employees though each phase.

1. Pre-contemplation

In the pre-contemplation phase, an employee is unaware of their bad or wrong behaviour and thus is not considering changing his or her behaviour.

To get employees out of this first phase, they may be given microlearning courses consisting of videos classifying wrong and correct behaviour. This way, employees now know what classifies bad behavior and are able to identify it.

2. Contemplation

In the contemplation phase, the employee understands that aspects of their behavior are wrong or poor, and they contemplate changing these behaviors.

To draw employees out of the second phase, they need to be motivated to take the first steps to change their behavior. Microlearning can be used to inform employees about the benefits of inculcating good or correct behavior in themselves, by letting them take microlearning courses with motivational material, comprising of information and stories learners can relate to, promoting behavioral change.

3. Preparation

As is evident from the name itself, in this phase employees have decided to change their bad behaviors, and are preparing themselves to actively adjust their actions and mannerisms. They may have even started taking small steps to rectify their behavior.

In this phase, microlearning should be used to supply employees with ways to change their behaviors, using bite-sized courses that guides them step-by-step through quitting their previous negative behavior while instilling correct behavior. It is better to turn this into a group activity, as social learning offers the support of other employees trying to change their own behaviors, which can be comforting.

4. Action

The action phase is where the employee is actively taking measures that lead to them to quitting negative behaviors and developing positive ones.

In this phase, employees need tremendous amounts of genuine motivation to progress. Microlearning courses with motivating simulations on performing positive actions should be provided to the employees on a regular basis. To motivate them further, a great incentive is to tangibly and intangibly reward learners, for progress or the completion of the full microlearning course.

5. Maintenance

In this phase, learners have already changed their behaviour considerably and need to sustain it to ensure that they do not fall back into old habits.

Microlearning should be used in this phase to refresh suitable behaviors in the employees, as well as motivate them on achieving this feat. It is essential to discourage them from returning to prior habits by reminding them of the drawbacks of their old behavior, as well as the benefits of the new behavior.

Behavioral change is a human-process that takes time, the duration of which differs from person to person. While some employees may easily jump from the first phase to the last in a matter of days, some could take months. The important thing is to ensure that they keep moving forward and to use microlearning wisely to change their behaviors one step at a time.


If you would like to learn more about how to build the most effective employee training strategy!

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Guest Author Daniel Brown

Daniel Brown is a senior technical editor and writer that has worked in the education and technology sectors for two decades. Their background experience includes curriculum development and course book creation.

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