How To Successfully Link Learning To Reward And Recognition

How To Successfully Link Learning To Reward And Recognition - People Development Magazine
How To Successfully Link Learning To Reward And Recognition - People Development Magazine

In which way do you link learning to reward?

There are two distinct ways to link learning to reward and recognition.  Both have pros and cons.  Here we take a closer look at the issues and benefits of combining learning and reward.

Learning as a key benefit for employees

Some companies use learning as part of their reward and recognition strategy. From a business perspective (if you do it right), this can be a smart strategy.  In the right culture, employees can embrace and enjoy being given development opportunities.  In this scenario, your reward is then simultaneously a benefit.  As a reward, this will bring additional benefit to your business. So imagine the scenario, you have an employee who is performing well.  You then reward them with further learning opportunities.  This is a win/win as it develops your employee and creates more skilled people for your business.

Using learning and development as a reward has many benefits.  It helps to shape your culture, underpinning a learning ethos in the workplace.   Rewarding high performing people means the investment of your training budget is likely going to people it is going to benefit most.   It is better than investing in individuals who will not yield an acceptable return on your investment.

Synergistic effect

Rewarding good performers with training opportunities sends a more positive message to the rest of your team.   They will realise that when they do well, they will have access to good quality development interventions.  Overall it can create a synergistic effect, embedding the notion of learning across the team and organisation.

The problem is that when you only do it in this way, training may not always be applied where it is needed most. Your achievers have earned the investment of further development.  However, often the biggest benefit from learning will come from employees who you may not currently consider being in your top performers’ category. To get the most from your training initiatives, you need to consider using it as an enabler of achievement as well as a reward for achievement, which leads to the second scenario.

Rewarding employees who undertake learning

On the other side of the coin are those companies that reward and recognize people for learning. There are so many different ways to approach this. Some companies send out a note of congratulations in a flash email. Alternatively, they announce successes in the company newsletter.  There may even be an award ceremony. Any good company will reward employees with learning opportunities, as well as rewarding people for undertaking learning opportunities.

Using new-found skills

The wisest of them all remember to at least create opportunities for employees to apply their new-found skills in the workplace. This is a no brainer if you’ve invested time in helping people to learn.  Without application, it’s just a “nice to have” intervention.  Conversely, this strategy carries a more significant danger.  If you fail to create those opportunities to apply the new skills and expect an employee to remain unchanged after their learning experience, you have effectively wasted precious resources.   Additionally, employees can feel frustrated, demotivated and you may ultimately lose them.

There are a number of reasons organisations don’t free up opportunities for people to put learning into practice.  It might be there is a fear of investing in people, only to lose them to the competition.  It could be because there is a resistance to change.  Talking about change is much easier than taking the difficult steps to people out of their comforts zone and getting on with the change. Sometimes, learning interventions equip employees with knowledge and ideas which are different from that shared by senior management. It can take maturity and courage for a management team to accept the challenge.  In these circumstances, the management team must remain open to new ideas instead of becoming defensive.

The best of both worlds

Perhaps it’s useful to consider both approaches to successfully link learning to reward and recognition.  A carefully thought out strategy harnessing the benefits of both may mean your business can have the best of both worlds.  Whatever you choose, make sure employees are able to put their learning into practice.  This will benefit them and your business.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Su-Mari du Bruyn

Su-Mari du Bruyn

All businesses face continuous changes in the business environment. Long term business sustainability is directly linked to the ability to continuously improve and Adapt To Change. Along with globalization came increased competitiveness and in today’s economic circumstances one of the biggest pressures most businesses face, is financial pressure –the pressure to maintain or improve business results in the midst of increasing competitive forces. The downfall of many businesses lies in their attempt to address these pressures with strategies that proved successful in the past…in an environment that today no longer exists. The world is significantly different today and today flexibility and innovation are almost synonymous with business sustainability.With more than 50 years’ experience, the continuous improvement and supply chain experts at Adapt To Change are making businesses better! Adapt To Change is dedicated to transform, optimize and empower organizations and the individuals that work within them.
Su-Mari du Bruyn
  Our very latest Q & A with Su-Mari Du Bruyn! Su-Mari Du Bruyn is co-founder of the company Adapt To Change. She is a qualified HR practitioner and logistics specialist and is passionate about Continuous Improvement and people development. Through Adapt To Change, she assists businesses to improve their business performance and better engage their staff.She believes that all individuals should have a healthy, stimulating and gratifying work environment and that is why she has dedicated her life to transforming, optimize and empower organizations and the individuals that work within them.. Q & A With Su-Mari Du Bruyn - People Development NetworkQ.   What Do You Do? Adapt To Change's business enhancement specialists assists businesses to improve their financial performance and be more competitive.  Long term business sustainability is directly linked to the ability to continuously improve and Adapt To Change. In today’s economic circumstances, one of the biggest pressures most businesses face is the pressure to maintain or improve business results in the midst of increasing competitive forces. The continuous improvement and supply chain experts at Adapt To Change can assist through a wide range of services, including business and management consulting, training or by assisting clients to align business strategy with execution and performance management. We are dedicated to transforming, optimize and empower organizations and the individuals that work within them. Q.   Who can most benefit from the work you do? We focus on assisting organizations with between 10 and 150 employees in either the manufacturing or services sectors. Q.   What excites you about what you do? I am passionate about Continuous Improvement and people development and in this line of work I get to contribute to both! My wish is for all individuals to have a healthy, stimulating and gratifying work environment and that is why I have dedicated my life to transform, optimize and empower organizations and the individuals that work within them. Q.   What are you most proud of achieving? Building Adapt To Change from scratch with my two amazing business partners and writing and publishing my first book The Power To Ignite. Q.    Who is the biggest inspiration in your life and why? My parents. They have instilled in me a positive can do attitude. Just looking at what they have accomplished and overcome is a wonderful example that I admire. I am extremely grateful for their love and support. Q.    What is your favorite leadership or people development book and why? The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is an amazing, easy to read the story that teaches valuable life lessons. A very close second would be The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, which shares real life lessons about making your own dreams come true and enabling the dreams of others. Q.   What is the most important piece of business advice you can give our readers? Never ever forget that you are working with real human beings. It may sound ludicrous, but most things in businesses go wrong when the people in charge of the organization lose sight of this important truth. And never ever stop learning and evolving! Knowledge not applied, is wasted. Thank You, Su-Mari!   

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