5 Behavioral Science Principles That Increase Employee Engagement


By Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA

bSci21 Contributing Writer

A previous article briefly touched on how the principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) were implemented to coach employees to facilitate social skills interactions among learners being transported in stretch limousines. This piece goes into more depth about those OBM applications and the implications to further disseminate behavior analysis throughout the world using telehealth.

Why a stretch limo? We’re realizing these limos floating around NJ & Eastern PA serve as a mini controlled laboratory. Our telehealth system, which is a camera installed behind the limo driver using a HIPAA compliant platform, can precisely observe learners in small groups while they remain in the viewing area of the camera. With child safety locks and seat belts, the learners are unable to dart out of the camera view which has been challenging when using telehealth systems in the learners’ homes as they may move from room to room. The following 5 behavioral principles are demonstrating rapid increases in employee engagement with the learners on an increasingly massive scale:

  1. Transfer of Stimulus Control from the clinician to the direct service provider is often one of the most challenging aspects of applied behavior analysis. Training through the use of telehealth systems is decreasing the dependency on the clinician from the outset since the clinician is not physically present. The absence of the clinician is also reducing the reactivity effects on the learner. In other words, the learner is behaving more naturally without our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) hovering over them. Throughout my career as a behavior analyst, I’ve even had learners ask me why I was in their classroom or home which clearly demonstrated my presence in their environment had an impact on the learners’ behavior.
  2. Goal Setting: The BCBA sends the clinician a text message with a screenshot of graphed data displaying the clinician’s previous performance and the new goal he/she is aspiring to achieve. The employee’s performance that was charted and sent represents the number of active engagements the clinician had with the learner to facilitate social interaction divided by the number of minutes observed. Although the learner’s behavior is tracked, the clinician’s performance is of primary interest for measurement and goal setting.
  3.  Coaching & Feedback: The BCBA observes the clinician via an iPad camera and provides live in-vivo coaching and feedback during the clinician’s session with the learner. The learner cannot hear the BCBA coaching the clinician, because the coaching is occurring via a headset/Bluetooth that the clinician is wearing. 
  4.  Self-Monitoring: The clinician monitors his/her own performance and sends the BCBA a text message that rates his/her performance at the end of the coaching session.
  5. Reinforcement: The BCBA compares his/her data to the clinician’s self-evaluation and provides written and vocal praise to the clinician if both the BCBA and the clinician’s evaluations match and the goal was met. The clinician also receives intermittent monetary reinforcement and public posting of this achievement on the company’s closed Facebook Group called BDA Culture.

The implications for dissemination of applied behavior analysis using OBM principles resulting in effective staff training through the use of telehealth technology go way beyond the use in the BDA stretch limousines.  Variations of this training package are currently being used all throughout NJ & Eastern Pennsylvania. In fact, one learner with autism received effective treatment on an international scale in the Netherlands. Brett DiNovi & Associates also projects its proprietary telehealth training package to be impact employees in Delaware, Florida, Virginia, and Maryland.

Do you have suggestions on how to increase employee engagement using behavioral science?  Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!


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 [email protected]

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1 Comment on "5 Behavioral Science Principles That Increase Employee Engagement"

  1. I’m really interested in how this could be applied to coaching independent clients, namely entrepreneur types?

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