Teaching people how to use your recognition programs takes time and effort. And the education opportunities are best if you repeat them in different ways at various times.
Try to set up the following ways to educate managers and employees on using your recognition programs.
1. Over the Shoulder. Have each department designate someone to learn and explore how to use the recognition programs you have. Then have them meet with each team member and teach your staff how to use the programs. They can literally be your over-the shoulder-coach for demonstrating the use of your recognition programs.
2. In-Person Training. As programs launch, you can provide in-person training on recognition principles for giving meaningful recognition to people. And you can orient people to each program through PowerPoint presentations and live demonstrations. Provide stand-alone instruction for each separate program and all the available features. Get people to commit to trying out at least one program and reporting back on their experience in doing so.
3. Online Learning. Have online training ready to roll when launching your different recognition programs. Send out emails to managers and employees with links to the training programs. Give principles and best practices for how to give meaningful recognition to people. Show them how to use your different recognition programs the right way each time they login.
4. Onboarding Instruction. There’s probably no better way to get the ball rolling with your recognition programs than with onboarding. Introduce each program to your new employees. Have them think of an employee who has made them feel welcome or helped them when they got stuck. Orient them on how to use the various programs and have them express some sincere appreciation using one of your programs.
5. Recognition Ambassadors. A great way to maintain the momentum and participation with your recognition programs is with recognition ambassadors. These are folks assigned or volunteered from departments to be the cheerleaders and educators of recognition. When you don’t know how to use a program, they can arrange a time to meet and show you how. They are the encouragers when program reports show low utilization. Read more on Ambassadors here.
6. Video Tutorials. An easy way to educate people on how to use your recognition programs is to record video screen capture with voice over. You can create video tutorials of how to send an ecard, entering a recognition message in the social newsfeed, or sending a gift or points the right way. Your vendor should produce these if you have third-party provider.
7. Step-by-Step Printed Guides. Some people love to read instructions instead of watching videos or online learning. Develop step-by-step guides that have visuals to help people see where they are in accessing your programs. This makes using your programs truly a 1-2-3-step process. When you make accessing your programs a procedure, then it won’t be a problem anymore.
8. User Campaign Immersion. You can provide all the tools to educate what to do, but if people don’t login, nothing changes. One way to educate people on using the programs is with a campaign to immerse people to use them. Send out email invitations to encourage people to look around them and see who deserves to be recognized. Suggest they do this once a day for one week. Give individuals taking part, social reinforcement, every time they send out a recognition message with an immediate response. You can do this through your programs by emailing out commendation to recognition senders.
9. Email Notification Reminders. You can program your recognition programs to notify users when they have not recognized colleagues in a while. They can communicate when the last time was that they recognized someone who reports to them. Perhaps they have nominated no one for an award in a specific time period. We all get busy and our programs can assist us to become better recognizers more often.
10. SMS Notifications. Use short message services to text recognition program users to get people on board with their programs. Send people the link to your programs in these texts. You can provide simple tips and tricks for using your programs wisely and efficiently. You can learn more here on How To Use SMS To Remind People To Give Recognition.
11. Annual Staff Presentations. Once a year, whether people think they need it, give a presentation on your recognition programs and how to use them. Capture video testimonials and experiences from employees sharing the difference the programs have made in their lives. Also, share candid feedback from employees who have not been recognized. Don’t hold back. Have leaders emphasize their commitment to do better and to invite everyone present to do the same.
12. Town Hall Sessions. These periodic sessions with executive leaders are a great way to show how well the organization is doing with recognition. Those who manage recognition programs can display reports on the usage and interpret the results. They say awareness is sixty percent of the solution. Allow sessions like these to receive questions, so the right people answer concerns.
There are many more ways to teach people how to use your recognition programs. Strive to have at least five ways to alternate between in your organization to increase participation levels.
Recognition Reflection: What alternate ways are used to educate people on using your recognition programs?
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.