Behavior Contracts for Adults: Template & Examples

Instructor: Joseph Madison

Joseph received his Doctorate from UMUC in Management. He retired from the Army after 23 years of service, working in intelligence, behavioral health, and entertainment.

Behavior contracts can be used for employees to lay out what is expected in an office and why. This lesson provides an overview on these contracts and includes an example template.

Behavior Standards

Every business has a set of behavior standards, or particular behaviors a business finds most pleasing. A behavior contract details these standards. This document is read, agreed upon, and signed by the employee. In turn, the contract holds both management and employees responsible to each other.

With the document in place, employees will have a better idea of what a company expects. For example, in a call center, representatives are expected to be courteous and respectful to customers. Representatives are also trained on how to behave during an irate call. Both are behavior standards.

Usually, companies do not have these behaviors documented for employees to sign, but some do. Although behavior contracts are usually seen in school and hospital settings, they can also be used in business settings. They may seem extreme, but these behavioral standards are already expected, just not documented.

The Basis of a Behavior Contract

A behavior contract can be created for two reasons:

  • Negative Behavior Contracts - These contracts are created on an as needed basis with employees to address negative behaviors in the office. They usually only address specific behaviors such as angry outbursts or violence.
  • Positive Behavior Contracts - These contracts are based on positive behaviors only and are also called social contracts. The contract is created to lay out positive behaviors a company would like to see in all of its employees, like ambition or adaptability. These contracts can be created solely by management or developed and added to by the company as a whole.

Many companies use behavior contracts as more of a social contract; it becomes an agreement between the management and the employees so both sides receive a positive outcome. These contracts are created in meetings and large brainstorming sessions. This makes the contract less of a ''big brother is watching over you'' issue, and more a community effort to create a positive and engaging environment.

Example of a Positive Behavior Contract

The following is a simplistic example of a positive behavior contract.

(Company Name) exists to help our customers thrive. Here at (Company Name) we believe there are certain behaviors that are good for our clients and our employees. We want to promote a positive and innovative environment, so we have listed a variety of behaviors that we feel encourage this.

Customer Engagement

  • I will be respectful.
  • I will stay upbeat and positive.
  • I will take responsibility for mistakes with customers.
  • I will take care of the customer quickly and effectively.

General Behavior

  • I will be engaged with my team and the company.
  • I will accept constructive criticism.
  • I will be respectful and positive with my peers and management.
  • I will strive hard in my job.
  • I will be ambitious and will grow within the company.
  • I will be honest.

I acknowledge these behaviors and agree to abide by them.

(Signature & Date)

Behavior contracts can ease a work environment

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