Best Ways To Teach People How To Give Recognition

Every organization wants to have managers and employees do a better job of giving amazing recognition to one another. 

The challenge is educating and train everyone on how to give real recognition the right way wherever they work. 

Which is why it is so important to find out what are the best ways to teach people how to give recognition. We’ll look at lots of ways.

Following The Learning Pyramid 

The National Training Laboratory developed a pyramid model of learning in the early 1960s at their Bethel, Maine, campus.

From this Learning Pyramid they outline the level of learning retention gained from auditory, visual, kinesthetic methods of learning delivery. For example, the model suggests that most students would only remember about 10 percent of what they read from textbooks. But the level of learning retention would likely be nearly 90 percent when they have to teach others about the subject. 

Naturally, the key criteria would be a person’s ability to accurately and correctly teach about a subject to others. This means having a good mastery of the concepts, and superior retention to recall the information to share with others.  

Ways to Teach People How To Give Recognition

While this pyramid model is not scientifically accurate and is a framework across learning style preferences, it still provides a simple outline to follow to look at the different options available to you to teach recognition giving skills. 

And keep in mind that you can always vary the different styles of learning and not think you should stay with one method. 

1. Lecture suggests a retention level of 5 percent. The lecture style format that many of us grew up with in school and higher education, is not the most favorite method to receive new learning by. 

However, using lunch and learn sessions to give a presentation on the latest research on where recognition methods work well and where they do not, can still be interesting. The crucial point would be to always gain participation from the employees present to seek their input on the recognition significance.

2. Reading suggests a retention level of 10 percent. I am sure this is the case if you are a passive reader. But what happens if you read the book again, or maybe you underline key points, and you mark up the book with notes to yourself. Then the book can become a powerful tool to learn recognition practices. 

Personally, I am a visual learner and love to read books and always get new ideas from them that I want to try out and share with others.

If you haven’t read my book Practicing Recognition, make sure you download a complementary copy right here. Remember to underline and take notes. 

3. Audio-visual content suggests a retention level of 20 percent. This could apply today to much of the online videos, microlearning, or narrated PowerPoint® presentations. Nowadays, there are oodles of courses available from learning platforms like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning.

At the E2E Group, our recognition platform and programs have microlearning content addressing how to learn essential behaviors needed to give meaningful and effective recognition skills.

What ups the retention level from the old school Learning Pyramid? Foremost is a recognition skills assessment which prescribes which learning modules you need to take first. Then there are quizzes that ensure retention of knowledge learned. After that there is a goal-setting component where those taking the module have to set a personal goal to implement the new skill.

Along with reminder notifications and follow up from the manager you report to, the learning retention increases because they apply the new behavior.

4. Demonstration method suggests a retention level of 30 percent. When someone shows you how to express recognition in a specific way, things are going to stick more. If they use negative practice and show you what a lousy attempt at recognition looks like, you’ll not likely to forget that, too. 

This method of learning is more active than the more passive nature of the previous methods. Demonstration helps you to better understand what is meant by a novel way of doing things. Learners can observe the impact of speaking positive words on the kinesthetics of the human body much better when they see it for themselves. 

5. Discussion method suggests a retention level of 50 percent. This method relies on the cooperative learning method where a group of people interact with one another while learning new material, such as recognition skills.

You could use the discussion method in a manager meeting to stimulate thinking on how employee recognition could be improved. A facilitated discussion also leads to more involvement from everyone present. You could collect suggestions on what one thing each person will do during the next week to improve their recognition skills. 

As mentioned before, when you get engaged involvement, the learning retention will far exceed the 50 percent suggested.

6. Practice doing suggests a retention level of 75 percent. Many people oppose role playing, but it can be a powerful skill if you lay out the exact structure of behaviors to be learned. 

In learning the Two-Part Specificity Rule™, our workshop sessions incorporate the chance to practice the structure approach in three different scenarios. You break groups up into triads where individuals rotate their role as being a giver of recognition, a receiver of recognition, and an observer of recognition who gives feedback to the giver.

This is impactful on retaining a simple method for consistently giving amazing recognition to people. People experience giving and receiving recognition done well, and they don’t forget it.

Further practice can occur if you do a transfer of learning exercise. Learning participants have to try out a new behavior they have chosen back in the workplace and report back in a month how they did. It is always interesting to discover what people learned about themselves and implementing the skill. 

7. Teaching others suggests a retention level of 90 percent. Of course, to teach someone else to give recognition better than they do already, you really have to become well versed in all things employee recognition. Which usually means all the above levels of learning retention to experience and retain everything they need to know.

The concept of “each one, teach one” originated with literacy campaigns whereas one person learned to read or write they would pass on the knowledge to someone else. The same principle applies today in the workplace. As you learn a new behavior with recognition skills through whatever method you gain the learning, recommend people plan in time for just 10-minutes to teach what they have learned to someone else. Imagine, if the recipient of that learning shared another aspect of recognition behavior back to their colleague. 

No matter the veracity of the Learning Pyramid or not, the bottom line is the more deeply new knowledge and skills are processed, the better people retain and apply what they learn. By using a variety of methods, you gain more connections for a person to learn the recognition behaviors. The more connections with the recognition subject, the more easily it will be remembered and practiced.

Best Way? 

There is no one best way to teach everyone how to give better recognition. However, there is a best way for each person. Sit down with each individual and have them rank order the ways they most like to learn a new skill or behavior. 

Work hard at delivering learning of recognition skills and behaviors in multiple formats in order to get not only great retention, but amazing recognition happening. 

Recognition Reflection: What is the predominant method of delivering learning of recognition behaviors to your employees?

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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