Fostering Employee Behaviour Change through L&D

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A learning culture is crucial to the wellbeing of any organisation that wants to outshine and go beyond both expectations and competition. In the past Learning & Development (L&D) teams have concentrated primarily on providing training and measuring knowledge retention. But nowadays L&D teams must influence employee behaviour and performance. These two factors are most essential in an organisation today as the performance of an employee is driven by the behaviour an employee demonstrates. L&D practitioners need to understand that driving behaviour change is a complex task which requires patience, attention, focus and time.

Impact of Behaviour Change in the Workplace

There is a need of change in an organization because there is always an expectation for further improvement and in order to sustain in a competitive market, the organization needs to be updated with changes.

Organizations investing in training staff that drives behaviour change will help reduce inessential sick days, staff turnover and staff anxiety. The better trained an employee is, the happier they will be at work which will ultimately lead to enhanced productivity.

Employees performing their tasks incorrectly can lead to damaging company profits but this can be reduced with the intervention of behaviour change. Shifts in behaviour, performance and conduct can steer employees in the right direction. This can lead to reduced mistakes, improved quality and happier customers.

How to get the employee behaviour you want?

Time spent on Hiring is time well spent – Hiring the right people who fit your value-system means you will spend less time addressing and managing behaviour you don’t desire in the workplace and more time working with and accrediting people with the behaviours that you do want.

Put yourself in your learner’s shoes –  Employees generally follow the example that is set by the rest in the organization and take hint for how to behave from those in charge. Leaders must accept their responsibility to act in accordance with the behaviours they want employees to execute each and every day.

Find out what motivates your people – People will generally reciprocate behaviours that are compensated or rewarded and not repeat behaviours that aren’t. When you want to see more of behaviour in the workplace, you must recognize and acknowledge it. Negative behaviour change approaches are never effectual means of getting the behaviours you want.

Think outside the box – Behaviour change takes time. So, you need to make the learning as fun as possible. Applying gamification is a powerful way to engage learners. The more regularly learners come back, the more training will complete and the longer the information will stick in their brains.

Consistency is the key – Organizations must be extremely consistent in their reinforcement and enforcement of behaviours. Telling employees a specific behaviour you want them to display and then punishing them for that behaviour will send confused messages.

What happens to an organisation if Employees resist change?

For an organisation to adapt to the changing environment the behaviour needs to change otherwise it will lead to disaster. When employees resist change a company can loss revenue. This may occur when the old way of doing something is more costly than the new technique. Organisations incapable of change rarely last very long so it is very important that they focus on the right behaviour. L&D led behaviour change initiatives will help everyone working towards the same objectives and through a common framework. For example, Blockbuster Video failed to accustom to the budding trend of online streaming. Now, a small company like Netflix is worth $28 billion, while Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010. This shows that behaviour change is significant to the growth of any organization.

Strategizing Successful Behaviour Change In The Workplace

Switch on to Social Learning – This learning basically takes place in a social context where new behaviours are acquired by observing and imitating others. In addition to the observation, learning also happens through noticing rewards and punishment. When a particular behaviour is rewarded it is more likely to persist and vice versa. Creating a knowledge sharing culture is a wonderful way to not only share knowledge but create new knowledge in the organization. When learners learn from each other and come together to discuss topics everybody wins. The more learners discuss topics, the more likely the topics get stuck in their brains.

Gamification done right – Using gamification within the organization can help enhance intrinsic employee motivation and productivity in order to obtain a desired behaviour. Organizational tasks along with game engagement can make people excited about work. Using a training solution that rewards learners with badges whenever they achieve something, attaching points to anything and everything will evoke their curiosity.  Learner versus learner quizzes will help in driving behaviour change by using the power of reinforcement.

Using Learning Campaigns – A learning campaign focuses on constantly delivering small portions of information on regular intervals to create lasting behaviour change. Because of the forgetting curve, we tend to retain only 10% of new information so the only way to get around is to reinforce the information on a regular basis. Every time we reinforce information, the percentage of decline minimizes.


Employee behaviour change in an organization is often used to describe the way that people get their jobs done. It affects how employees fit in with company culture, their engagement and also their motivation levels. If the organization wants the employees to behave in a certain manner, then L&D needs to make sure that they are managing them and the workplace in a way that braces, encourages, and holds them responsible for those behaviours. And most necessarily L&D should try to influence and change employees’ behaviour using positive means such as reinforcement, communication, empathy, understanding to achieve the end goal.

About Surya Prakash Mohapatra

Surya Prakash Mohapatra

Surya Prakash Mohapatra, Global Head – Talent Transformation, Wipro Digital and Platforms, specializes in orchestrating L&D functions for organizations, across multiple geographies. With over two decade of experience, he also has extensive experience in the domains of Leadership Development, Capability Building and Talent Management. He is a renowned leadership development trainer, and is a speaker of international repute, spoken at conferences organized by IOCL, EMC2, World HRD Congress, to name a few on topics pertaining to HR, L&D and Corporate Culture. World HRD Congress has recognized him as one of the ‘25 Most Talented Training & Development Leaders Worldwide’, and he was featured by the popular HR journal, Human Factor, as one of the ‘Best HR Heads in India’.

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