Teaching All Employees How To Give Effective Recognition

In the near recent past, the top down delivery of recognition perpetuated the perceived need for only managers to receive education and training on recognition skills.

However, with the increasing demand for peer-to-peer recognition, use of social recognition programs, and flat organizational structures, everyone deserves to learn how to give meaningful and effective recognition.

The challenge is allocating the resources to teach all of your employees about recognition giving. And, teaching everyone in the organization on how to give meaningful, and effective recognition to people every day, is not as easy as it sounds.

Use some of the following ideas to reach out to all of your employees in teaching them recognition skills.

Awareness Building Of Recognition

 Awareness of the value of employee recognition is half the solution to learning how to give recognition well. Teach your managers and supervisors the importance of how meaningful recognition received by everyone can help drive employee performance and the achievement of strategic business goals.

Teach them how properly given recognition can elevate the positive relationship strength between the giver and receiver of recognition, and thereby improve employee engagement levels. This is valid for every employee level.

  • Continue to provide in-class, blended learning, or online education about recognition skills to your managers and supervisors or in your leadership curriculum training.
  • Instead of ending their formal learning with a nice certificate of completion, have them be accountable to their leader in applying chosen recognition skills they learned in training and reporting on the outcomes.
  • Have each manager, and eventually, every employee, follow an “each one – teach one” concept of instructing a peer on a recognition practice they’ve now started doing.
  • Start keeping a gratitude and recognition journals whether hardcopy or online. Have employees record only positive behaviors and actions they have observed from others, along with their personal reflections on how well their recognition attempts were received.

Training on a Smaller Scale

The benefit of employee recognition is that it can be easily learned. Recognition is a learned behavior. Don’t get overwhelmed by thinking of teaching everyone. Start the ball rolling in a small way in whatever way you can. Always tailor the teaching of recognition to your specific industry and to the types of employees and the job roles they have.

  • Think about hosting in-the-room/ cafeteria “lunch and learns” periodically over the year, and across departments, targeting some key behaviors and skills you want to encourage all employees to do.
  • Where employees are technologically connected you can send out occasional instructional emails with new concepts, recognition ideas, micro-video learning content, and direct to online resources.
  • Have supervisors/ managers utilize team huddles or shift meetings to highlight positive behaviors of staff and invite staff to stop and acknowledge people whenever they see good things happen.
  • Provide online micro-learning content that demonstrates and teaches how to demonstrate typical behaviors of recognition, or create a page or two on your Intranet with helpful written and video resources.

Recognition Job Aids

Any skill or behavior that might have some delay between training and using it warrants having a job aid or recognition guide because people simply forget.

Job aids can take a variety of media or format. They can range from apps for smartphones, laminated cards, checklists, and printed guides, frequently asked questions, templates, online resources, and email notification reminders.

  • So the use of job aids or recognition guides is intended to follow initial education or training on a subject or skills. They supplement and help reinforce previously received training.
  • Recognition job aids support individuals with performing a task or behavior and are not meant to do the original teaching. They help cue acronyms or behaviors they learned how to do.
  • Job aids and guides are the quick spur of the moment helpers to review before a person actually goes to recognize someone, especially if they are not confident and just what some way to review what they intend to do.
  • When you think about the user of the recognition guide with the situation of their particular work, this will cue you not to put a lot of text in the guide and to draw upon lots of graphics, icons, and pictures where possible.

Communicate Recognition Every Time

Communicate about recognition skills and behaviors in all the mediums available to you on the job. If you have an Intranet site claim a corner to promote recognition practices. Use your employee newsletter. Have tent cards printed up for the cafeteria focusing on selected recognition message points. Create posters to encourage recognition giving. Enlist employees in a competition to generate photographs or graphic image ideas for printed and electronic cards.

  • First, teach only employees of those leaders and business partners who are already great exemplars of recognition giving in the organization in order to create a positive momentum before spreading out.
  • Make sure your recognition messaging to employees teaches the purpose and principles of employee recognition so the practices are easier to understand and implement.
  • Face-to-face or personal communication is always the best medium, but don’t hesitate to use mobile communications, electronic channels, and written messages, to highlight recognition behaviors you want focused on.
  • Create an annual recognition communication calendar to remind all employees of the recognition skills and messaging supporting what they have learned, and encourage them to use online recognition programs, if applicable.

Once you have begun teaching recognition skills to everyone, ensure all employees are held accountable for recognizing the people they work with in every direction on the organizational chart.

Recognition Reflection: How do you presently teach all of your employees to give their colleagues great recognition?

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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