The Contingencies of Workplace Complacency

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By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA

Complacency in the workplace is at epidemic proportions.  According to Brett DiNovi, in his video titled “Good employees get dumped on,” only 45% are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive at work.  Moreover, rates of voluntary turnover (i.e., employees leaving for other work) affect nearly 25% of the workforce.  From the employer’s perspective, the costs of turnover can be astronomical – ranging anywhere between half and five times the employee’s salary. 

Many of you have been there – you start a brand new job filled with excitement and enthusiasm.  But overtime, your enthusiasm turns to anxiety and avoidance – your behavior as an employee eventually becomes a function of negative, rather than positive, reinforcement.

Often times, this happens to the employes that rise to the top.  Great employees get dumped on.  DiNovi likens the process to what behavior analysts call “ratio strain” – more and more work is piled on your plate without increasing the incentives motivating your work.  Thus, your behavior as an employee weakens over time and eventually something has to give – the worker is either fired or leaves for a better position elsewhere.

As a simple test for yourself, Brett recommends to do what Steve Jobs did and ask yourself the following question – “If today were the last day of my life, would I do what I’m about to do today?”  If you find you are consistently answering “no”, it might be time to reexamine your situation.

To hear more about complacency in the workplace, be sure to check out the video, and subscribe to Brett DiNovi’s YouTube channel and let him know what you would like to see in future videos.  Also be sure to subscribe to bSci21 to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world, bSci21.org.  bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, bSciStudios and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at todd.ward@bsci21.org

Brett DinoviBrett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA has the unique and distinguished experience of studying the principles of applied behavior analysis under the rigorous scrutiny of both Dr. Julie S. Vargas (formerly Skinner) and Dr. E.A. Vargas at West Virginia University’s internationally recognized program. For the past 26 years, Brett has used behavior analytic principles to create large scale change across school districts, Fortune 500 companies using principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), and across individual learners. Brett has been a OBM consultant in Morgantown WV, an instructor at West Virginia University, a guest lecturer at numerous universities, a speaker on multiple Comcast Newsmakers TV programs, an expert witness in due process hearings, has publications in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been in in executive leadership positions across schools and residential programs nationwide. In addition to an award from South Jersey Biz Magazine for “Best Places to Work,” an award for “Best of Families” in Suburban Magazine, and the distinguished “Top Ranked U.S. Executives” award, Brett’s proudest accomplishment is being a role model and father for his daughter and two stepchildren (one of which has autism). Brett can be reached at brett@brettdassociates.com

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