How often should you be training people on recognition skills?
That’s an interesting question to ponder on. Unfortunately, not enough people ever ask it or even think about it.
Recognition skills fall into the realm of being “soft skills.” People define soft skills as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.
What should be the frequency of soft skill training, and in particular, recognition skills?
The Challenges of Soft Skills
Global employment company, Monster.com, surveyed 3,100 recruiters from the U.S., Canada, the U.K, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden on what the most in-demand skills are. They reported their findings in The Future of Work 2021: Global Hiring Outlook, and found that dependability, teamwork/collaboration, problem-solving, and flexibility are the top skills that employers are looking for.
From a strictly U.S. perspective, Wiley Education Services surveyed over 600 human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) professionals, including nearly 100 leaders at the Executive/C-level, to get a better understanding of what the biggest skills gaps are. Their Reimagining the Workforce 2021: Closing the Skills Gap Through Education study showed that employers have the hardest time finding three skills: critical thinking, communication, and creativity.
No matter what soft skill you are looking for, they are not something that a person can learn overnight. Learning these attitudes and behaviors takes time through repetition and ongoing training. And it takes learning and practicing these skills with a group of people, in a team, for example.
Lack of Training of Soft Skills
They have identified some causes for the soft skills gap. They comprise a lack of employees’ development initiatives and options, poor in-house resources for training and development, and a lack of leadership support or even awareness of the disparity in skills.
As far as training recognition skills, there should be regular offerings of education and training. Education to build awareness and explain the importance and need for recognizing everyone. Educations answers the “why” questions. Training to provide the specific skills and knowledge for giving meaningful and effective recognition. Training addresses “how” to give recognition.
WorldatWork found in their 2019 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey that most organizations do not offer recognition training (average of 57 percent do not provide formal training) to their employees or managers. The few organizations that provide training (an average of 29 percent) favor online education.
Preferred Methods For Training Recognition Skills
The best method for learning how to give meaningful and effective recognition has always been to practice giving meaningful and effective recognition. I have found this best done face-to-face in an instructor led classroom. Sure, you can conduct a half-day in-class workshop to learn recognition practices. Then I always ensure that table groups set goals together to practice one skill and report back on their success 30-days later. Accountability must always be in place. Building in this transfer of learning back to the workplace is critical.
Most people are successful in implementing one practice skill or behavior back at work. It is important to do this. They also have the moral support of a small group of peers doing the same goal. I have also found learners reporting that it was easier to complete the task than they imagined it would be.
From personal practice in interpersonal communication skills, you have the best approach to mastering recognition skills. You could have a learning corner in the office, if you are back in the office, for any learning opportunity or discussion. You could you flag times for recognition skill practicing. This could also be a chance to discuss recognition situations that are difficult or out of the usual scope of things.
Microlearning and online learning is great for disseminating bite-sized learning content around behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes of effective recognition skills. When you build in prior and follow-up assessments of recognition skills, you have a baseline and outcome scenario in place.
Setting goals to implement the knowledge and skills learned from online learning is essential to gaining any carryover. In addition, there should be situational learning evaluations after each learning module.
Microlearning can also consist of infographics with factoids and ideas, learning aids to teach new skills such as using your recognition programs, recognition program tutorials, written articles and blog posts, and instant short-length videos answering any recognition question that comes up.
But… How Often?
The answer to how often you should be training people on recognition skills is you never stop training and educating people.
So, it is all the time, and with a la carte availability for anyone and all formats for on demand learning. One problem with creating a library of learning content, whether on your intranet or LMS, about employee recognition, is that no one accesses it. The key is gently pushing and embedding any training and learning resources on recognition skills everywhere you can.
Provide the links to very specific content in HR generated emails sent out. Suggest managers review learning materials explicit to giving more effective career milestone celebrations whenever notification of staff anniversaries is sent out. Include applicable learning links throughout your social recognition newsfeed, occasionally, to encourage reviewing insights and ideas on recognition skills. And don’t forget to offer webinars and program tutorials on a rotating cyclical basis.
Educating and training people on recognition skills is a continual, everyday self-discovery of the nuances behind communicating and expressing praise and acknowledgment of people and their amazing contributions.
Recognition Reflection: How often do you make recognition training and learning content available to your staff?
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.
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