Helping Employees Learn To Give Recognition Their Way

Your employees need to receive clear expectations from your leaders to take ownership for learning for how they can give more effective and meaningful recognition to everyone they work with.

You won’t be able to do this well on your own. But with solid leadership support you’ll be successful.

I had thought about personalization before especially when I think of how to recognize people. With learning about giving effective recognition skills, I can make assumptions about how personalization could work there too. But I had never thought about the term individualization with learning.

For this insight I am grateful to Sharlyn Lauby from HR Bartender for defining these two terms as they relate to training and learning.

Look and see how you can put these concepts into practice to make learning recognition easier and more practical for your employees.

Personalizing and Individualizing Recognition Learning

Now, read Laubry’s well-written definitions of personalization and individualization as they relate to learning and training.

“Personalization refers to “how” learning is consumed. Think of this like learning styles. Individuals need to understand how they like to learn topics. And they need to be preparedto change styles as appropriate to achieve the desired learning objective.”

Individualization focuses on “when” learning happens. Ideally, we should learn something right before we need to use it. That way, self learning provides access to the information/process/etc. and we can immediately apply what we’ve learned to increase retention.”

These concepts came alive for me as our company started using LinkedIn Learning as one of their learning and training delivery options. LinkedIn’s delivery of learning highlights the following benefits for learners:

  1. Personalized recommendations: Know the most in-demand skills available to you based on your experience. You check off those areas you are most interested in and like most preference-indicating systems (think Amazon, Netflix, etc.) the learning system presents a list of courses they think would interest you.
  2. On your schedule: This is the individualization focus coming alive. You can access on-demand courses from your computer or mobile-device––anytime, anywhere. The main concern is how much time will organizations permit employees to take out of their regular work time and demands to go online to take the programs.
  3. Learning resources: Practice with quizzes, exercise files and coding windows. This allows you to practice and monitor your own learning and hopefully apply what you need to know when you need to use the skill or knowledge in real time.

Creating a Learning Path for Each Employee

You need to create an opportunity for employees to design their own learning path. We typically see a learning path as a sequence of courses that a learner can take in order to master a topic in incremental steps. They consider this approach most effective when a learner has to absorb a lot of information on a specific topic.

A learning management system or online learning services like LinkedIn Learning can easily set this up for employees to follow. However, not everyone learns the same way or has the same time available to devote to these learning delivery systems. That’s when we need to create learning options across various learning styles and preferences.

Reading to Learn

For example, some employees like to read things they want to learn about. Provide access to a company library where employees can sign out books on essential topics. Negotiate with an author to provide access to a specific number of eBook versions of their book. Create various length articles on a corporate recognition resource page on your intranet––1 minute for the quick reads, 3 minutes for those with more time, and full-length articles for those who want to go deeper.

Watching to Learn

Over 80 percent of today‘s marketing has moved from text-based content to video. Many of the eLearning programs today have video or visually interactive learning modules. For most of the visual learners in the workplace, consider creating recognition tips and how-to videos using your senior leaders and exemplary managers as the teachers. Record screen capture videos of how to write and submit an award nomination or how to use your social recognition program with more meaningful recognition comments.

Listening to Learn

There has been an upsurge with podcasts and audiobooks of late. It seems people like to take advantage of their commute time listening to content besides reading. This is especially so when employees drive to work or use public transportation. Invite employees to take advantage of this time to listen to recognition, positive psychology, leadership, or other career development related podcasts. In the meantime, you can listen to past issues of Real Recognition Radio shows we made right here.

Practicing to Learn

Some of your employees will be hands on, in the trenches, kind of learners. They want to practice the behaviors and actions they need to give better recognition. Give these folk practical tools, recognition guides and job aids, checklists, forms and templates for them to fill in and apply recognition on the job.

Choose Your Own Learning

Remember reading those choose your own adventure books or your children did, or still do? The same idea can apply to your employees with their learning path for improving their recognition skills. Have them choose the learning style they prefer.

Sit down with them and ask how they would like to get better at giving recognition to their peers and others in the organization.

Find out their learning style–visual, auditory, or kinesthetic–and drill down on setting goals on how they will learn and when they will learn.

This could look like any of the following scenarios:

  • Visual > 1 or 3 minute reads > once a week, probably on Tuesday mornings if no meetings scheduled.
  • Auditory > read an audio book on positive psychology > listen in the car when driving to work each morning 5 days a week.
  • Kinesthetic > Download one of the available checklists > fill it in or complete it and try it out on the day they download it.

The key is making your employees accountable for learning about recognition by giving them the responsibility and the choice in how they will learn.

Recognition Reflection: How do you make employees responsible for learning to give better recognition rather than taking it all on yourself?

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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