Setting Learning Goals for Managers To Improve Recognition Giving

The wonderful thing about giving employees the recognition they deserve is that the ability to give recognition is a learned skill.

But the only challenge is getting managers to learn the skills they need to give Real Recognition™ the right way wherever they work.

That’s why I am going to outline some ways for your managers to set the right goals for learning how to recognize one another better. 

Find Out Manager Learning Preferences 

Each person has a different learning style or preference for how they like to learn things. 

One way that people learn is simply by doing. Give your managers the goal of specific books, blogs, and other interactive learning tasks to review. Same level peer managers can work together and talk about their challenges with giving recognition. They can also act as a buddy system together in supporting one another with trying out different behaviors or using recognition programs in an improved way.

Those who learn by thinking and talking will certainly benefit from taking online course or in-person classes. The chance to reflect with peers and share their own observations in trying out new practices is very beneficial. Massive online open courses (MOOCs) allow managers to experience lecture style delivery of learning if this is their learning preference. 

For the analyzers amongst your managers, they’ll benefit from receiving research papers on motivation, recognition, rewards and other similar topics. They will see the clinical significance from these research papers and apply the findings in their leading and managing of staff. Some managers may enjoy the opportunity to run data tests with the metrics from your recognition programs. Let them conduct analytical deep dives to see which managers are good recognizers and why that is the case. They can examine correlations with recognition output data and performance indicators and people metrics, like engagement. 

A good first goal is to provide education and training in a variety of delivery methods that will fit the needs of your managers. 

Ask leaders and managers which delivery method of learning they like the best. Make sure you develop and can provide learning content for recognition skills in a variety of ways. 

Availability of Recognition Education and Training 

There is a harsh reality regarding the opportunity for managers to take recognition education and training. According to The Ken Blanchard Companies, new managers do not get the training that they need. Only 34 percent of managers receive any mentoring and only 31 percent receive any coaching.

That leaves the possibility of nearly two-thirds of managers not being coached or mentored on recognition giving skills. WorldatWork validates this in the 2019 Survey of Trends in Employee Recognition. They found that 61 percent of organizations do not provide training on employee recognition to their managers. And, when recognition training is provided, it is infrequently given, and the content is rarely updated.

If you really want your managers to set goals for improving their recognition giving skills, you had better provider a complete roster of learning resources. Give your managers the education and training options to choose from and put behaviors and skills into practice.

How about some of these ideas?

  • Webinars with leading experts in the field for employee recognition.
  • Mircolearning course modules on personalized learning content about recognition attitudes, behaviors, and skills.
  • Short, focused learning content that is digestible in small chunks and repeat them over time.
  • Micorlearning delivered in short videos on a variety of recognition related topics.
  • Chatbot delivery of content on a just-in-time need based on managers’ use of your recognition programs.
  • Ensuring you offer in-class courses on a rotating schedule to give this delivery option to people.
  • Gamification with games and quizzes to engage learners in recognition knowledge and skills.
  • Short scrolling pages of content providing quick read and longer reading material.
  • Top tips for how to give meaningful and effective recognition in person and online.
  • Variety of the above content in video, text, audio, and infographic format and accessible on mobile devices.
  • SMS or a quick series of short text messages providing insight on giving motivational recognition, or how to present an award, etc., on request of the learner.
  • Setting up a podcast on various learning topics to help managers.
  • Notifications to reinforce usage of your recognition programs or to flag when a program is not being used well or very often.
  • Provide snippets of recognition information and insights in the employee newsletter and on the homepage of your intranet site. 

Which options do your respective managers need to take advantage of? Do you have these learning options in place?

Start With The End in Mind

Consider what your annual goal is as an organization for improving employee recognition practices and better use of your recognition programs. 

Annual Goals: Expect managers to set a behavioral change and performance goal with employee recognition giving. This can be a goal that leaders and managers set for their annual performance goal setting. 

Align a manager’s recognition goal with the Recognition Strategy objective and other organizational objectives.

And, as an organization, you may have specific goals you want all managers to do simultaneously to improve recognition so that there is consistency.

Quarterly Goals: Managers can break down their annual recognition goal into measurable quarterly learning opportunities. These targets allow a manager to gauge their progress toward their overall yearly goal. 

Monthly Goals: What do you expect from your managers on a monthly basis? Naturally, leaders will follow up on the annual goal that managers have set. In their one-on-ones they can ask how their managers are progressing on their goals, recognition related and otherwise. 

Weekly Goals: Getting down to this week is an intensely personal goal. It usually means applying something you have learned over the last month and putting it into action. The manager can plan to address an employee recognition moment coming up that week. Or they may spontaneously practice a behavior or skill when they see someone do something positive and recognition worthy. 

Daily Goals: These goals are more awareness and attitude building. It might be practices like keeping a daily gratitude journal. Perhaps they don’t start work before sending an uplifting email to someone. Or perhaps they ponder at the end of each day if there was someone that they should send a message of recognition to.

Improving recognition skills is a daily commitment that requires the recognition resources to learn from.

Recognition Reflection: Are managers encouraged to set learning goals for improving recognition giving?

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