Do You Catch People Doing Things Right?

March 27, 2013

Have you ever attended a dolphin show? If so, did you notice that each and every time a dolphin completes a trick, it receives praise? Whether it’s a hug, a tap on the nose or a treat, the trainer is always there to provide positive reinforcement.

How often does this happen for the rest of us?

When we train people, we know that rewards and reinforcement afterwards are nice. We generally like to receive them ourselves. How often are they planned into your training programs? The professionals we work with tell us that the answer is, “Not often enough.”

Here are some practical ways to incorporate positive reinforcement after training so that you can “catch people doing things right.”

  • Create “caught you doing something right” cards and give them to the supervisors of training participants. Include a brief note describing the desired behaviors after training, and ask them to recognize at least one person per day or week (or whatever time interval is logical for the skills taught) for successfully implementing the new skill.
  • Coach whoever will be observing the on-the-job performance of training graduates to call out and praise successful execution of new skills.
  • Make a scoreboard showing the number of times or percentage of overall time that each person in the department performs a new skill correctly.
  • Email or call participants after training and ask them to share a time when they performed the new skill. If possible, record their testimonials and share them to inspire others and recognize good performance.

Please log in and share your ideas for how to reinforce the performance of new skills on the job after training.

The key to making reinforcement happen is building systems and tools while you are developing the training program. Instead of an “event” mindset, think of training design in terms of what happens before, during and after the training program, with the emphasis on post-training support. Just a few small changes can increase the application of new skills.

Additional Resources:Increased Results from Fewer Resources: How Maersk Line Accomplished ItThe Brunei Window Washer: Bringing Business Partnership to Life
Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program
Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certificate Program

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