It’s essential to educate your managers on giving real recognition the right way. If behaviors are going to change they need to learn how to do so.
You can provide great in-class workshop sessions or online learning courses on employee recognition and still not be able to get your managers on board in taking them – let alone completing them.
What can you do to get your managers to complete the recognition training you provide for them?
From our experience in delivering face-to-face learning sessions, along with our prescriptive Vistance Learning® online recognition courses, we’ve seen five essential things that need to be present for manager course completion.
1. Set Expectations
Have their leader set clear expectations for taking whatever form of employee recognition learning you’re prescribing. When managers meet with their leader invite them to share what they personally intend and plan to learn. Their leader should record their intention and review upon course(s) completion.
Ensure managers are told what the leader and company specifically want them to do. Have managers prioritize the recognition courses during their regular workload. Recommend managers integrate the newly learned recognition practices into their everyday work.
Request from managers what they plan to get out of the training before ever taking any of the courses. Have them set a personal, recognition relevant goal with their leader. Find out their “so what?” for taking the recognition training.
2. Communicate Why
Give your managers the reason why for learning about employee recognition practices. Tell them examples of what happens with managers who learn how to give better recognition. Managers who learn to give better recognition produce higher people and performance results. Help them know the benefits of taking the courses.
Make the purpose of taking recognition related courses very clear to managers. Explain how this is the direction the company is moving in. Show managers how recognition will help support the overall human resources strategy and achieve strategic objectives and key results.
If there is one thing I have seen, especially for online learning courses, is to always be communicating. Constantly communicate to managers the importance of recognition. Leaders should give regular and consistent updates on how things are going. Share examples of best recognition practices given by managers as well as by employees. Highlight the need for taking the recognition courses all the time and not to just when launching at the beginning of the learning.
3. Strategize Learning
Give your managers the strategic value of taking recognition training. Provide the big picture by reviewing their current employee engagement results. Drill down and identify how recognition stacks up for them. Ask them, what would make recognition better? How could they improve?
Show your managers the relevant business and people metrics for their area of responsibility. Review how they’re doing and show them how improved recognition scores can enhance their performance results.
Analyze performance and engagement data. Correlate and tie the recognition scores with how the managers are doing with the strategic business goals. Find out how people are feeling about their manager and the company. Would they recommend working with their manager? Would they recommend working for the company?
4. Review Learning
Expect your managers to actively set goals for what, and how, they’re going to apply the new recognition behaviors they’ve learned. This makes them accountable to transfer the learning into their everyday work experience.
Have managers carefully observe and record their observations of employee reactions after they implement a specific recognition behavior. This allows them to see and internalize the benefits of applying new skills they’ve learned.
Create an opportunity for managers to share their learning experiences with one another. Invite managers in your management meetings to share challenges and successes with using recognition behaviors they’ve learned. Discuss how learning to give better recognition improves employee satisfaction and engagement.
5. Hold Accountable
Hold regular one-on-one meetings with your managers. During a leader’s one-on-one’s with their managers, suggest they ask them what they’re learning and how they’ve applied the learning so far. This kind of interaction is a coaching method that better encourages ongoing learning.
Have each manager provide a written report along with verbal feedback in a face-to-face session with their leader at the completion of the learning course(s). This should be an introspective opportunity where the manager conducts some self-evaluation on how they did with the learning. How have they, or will they, become a better recognizer of their employees?
Finally, invite a sample of the manager’s employees to provide some candid feedback to their manager on applying recognition behaviors. Ask them how their manager has improved (or not) with recognition giving. Have they noticed any changes? What behaviors have they seen improve? Do they feel better valued and appreciated? Obviously, ask employees whether their feedback should be kept anonymous or if they can share details if permitted
Reflective Questioning: What do you do to encourage your managers to take recognition courses or online learning?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.