Here’s a shout out to all the bosses in cyberspace…
Do you think that motivating your employees begins and ends with their salaries?
I hate to break it to you but over 20 years of research suggests otherwise. Since at least the year 2000 (if not before), we have known that non-financial rewards are good (and necessary) employee motivators.
Employees surveyed reported that “highly personalized recognition for a job well done is a critical dimension of their reward system”. (source) Did you notice the word “critical”?
Even though employees are pretty clear about what they need, management seems to be unsure. In fact, management seems “somewhat vague” about what this recognition is and how to do it effectively.
This may be a prime reason why many employees do not complete workplace training—they are just not motivated to do it. They see it as “in addition” to the duties which they are paid for and don’t feel they are “getting anything for it”.
Why does personal recognition help?
While training as a teacher (at roughly the age of 40), I noticed an interesting thing.
Our pedagogy lesson was split into 1.5 hours of lecture and 1.5 hours of workshop. During the workshop, we would (as students) actually do what we had learned about in the lecture.
For example, during the lecture, we would learn about a type of group work. During the workshop, we were given this type of group work task so we could experience it as students.
While I was one of the oldest, most of the students were between 30-40 years old. So, not “kids” and not youngsters.
Here’s what I noticed: during the lesson, their inner child often came out. For example, my fellow students would often chat while the lecturer was speaking—interesting, considering that as teachers, they would expect their students not to. Similarly, some continually asked for deadline extensions at the last minute—again, a situation they would probably not encourage or allow for their students.
The importance of our inner child cannot be overlooked.
One big thing that children crave is attention. Any of you who are parents or grandparents see this all the time. Children want to be “seen”. In other words, personally recognized and validated.
Your learning management system (LMS) can help with rewards.
Quality learning management systems have built-in reward and recognition features. These options will give your employees the personal rewards and recognition they are looking for…and deserve.
Gamification and real rewards
The data shows that for the inner child “there is no age limit on play”.
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Gamification means taking elements from games and applying them to educational tasks. A learning management system can help you create gamified activities which are accessible via the mobile phone. Your employees will feel like they are playing smartphone games at work, while, in fact, they will be completing training lessons.
Then, take this to the next level by providing real rewards for “playing”. Enter the Star Bar.
You tell your LMS when trainees earn stars. Perhaps they receive a star each time they open a training lesson. What about completion of a training task? Maybe it is when they get the right answers. You decide, set it up, and your LMS manages it automatically.
The fun part is spending the stars. Your trainees use their stars to play games for prizes.
One example is the reward game Spin to Win. It costs 1 star to play. The trainee watches as the image spins. If all four images match when the spinning stops, the trainee is a prizewinner. (An LMS algorithm calculates the frequency of prizes.)
The great thing is that the prizes are real.
Your organization offers real prizes such as coupons for free coffee/tea at a local cafe, discount cards for shops, small items such as luxury toiletries or digital gadgets, etc. So, trainees are receiving actual rewards for learning. This is recognition of their good efforts. It also gives them “bragging rights” if they wish to tell others about their wins.
Employee Recognition & Leaderboards
When you are the best AND your peers know it, that’s a great type of recognition…ask any inner child if they like “being the leader”.
The best learning management systems come with built-in ranking options that can broadcast the status of your trainees. Leaderboards are one example.
A leaderboard is basically a ranked list. After doing all allowable attempts on a lesson, trainees earn points for their best score. The LMS keeps track of all the points and continually ranks and re-ranks trainees.
Leaderboards can be private, so only admins (trainers, managers, etc.) can see them. However, that is not their greatest value.
Their greatest value is when trainees can see them. You can set up one leaderboard per group. This creates healthy competition between group members. You can also set up one leaderboard per several groups. This encourages groups to compete against other groups. In each of these cases, top trainees/groups get recognized for the leaders they are.
Employee Recognition & Surveys
Our inner child loves to be asked his or her opinion. Not only does it show that they are “seen”, it also shows that their thoughts and ideas matter.
LMS surveys are a great way to facilitate such recognition. A variety of templates help you find out information in different ways. For example, you could ask a question and then give a choice of answers. Another option is a slider bar in which trainees are free to choose their own responses within the given scale (0-10 or “not at all – totally” for example). A third template asked trainees to categorize their responses in order to give a more graph-oriented response.
For organizations, surveys serve another purpose. Besides the recognition factor, surveys give you important feedback about your training programs. You can see where you are on track and, more importantly, where things need to be tweaked.
Discussions and assignments
Do you remember excitedly bringing home a picture you drew at school or a great report card you got and waving it in your parents’ faces? You were so happy when they took some time to look at your drawing/report card and praise you for it, right?
Even as adults, our inner child is still looking for such praise.
World-class learning management systems allow trainees to upload assignments in a variety of file types, including images or videos. These assignments can be viewed and commented on by both trainers and peers.
The discussions element can take things further. Assignments can be used as catalysts for group discussions that further understanding of the lesson or course material.
In both cases, trainees can receive praise for their grasp of training content, as well as their creativity and thought processes.
How well are you rewarding and recognizing the inner children in your trainees? If you could be doing a better job, this LMS can help.