The fifth and final instalment of our Top 5 Strategies for Apprenticeship Success is devoted to recognising the great work that apprentices perform, rewarding them accordingly for this work, and celebrating the success of the programme. National Apprenticeship Week itself is after all a celebration.
So far in this blog series, we’ve discussed on a number of strategies to help businesses get the most out of their apprenticeship programmes, and the apprentices that they employ within them. What we haven’t yet touched upon is what to do when things go according to plan, and when apprentices reach or exceed the targets and goals that have been set upon them.
Most businesses have systems in place for managing under-performing employees. Whether these are appraisal systems, the use of warnings, or by limiting access to bonus and commission payments. Unfortunately, however, what is often utilised to a lesser extent is an equivalent programme at the opposite end of the scale, and which recognises and rewards employees and apprentices alike for going the extra mile, for adding more value than their colleagues.
Positive feedback reinforces confidence and brings about a feeling of empowerment. When employees feel empowered, they have clarity of their role, certainty that they are making a difference, and the courage to continue on the same path. Without this feedback however, employees are likely to become uncertain that they are making a meaningful contribution to the business, which in-turn will lead to fear and frustration.
Businesses and their operators must learn to recognise those small daily steps of progress and reward employees accordingly. These rewards don’t have to be financial, and they certainly don’t have to be significant. What they absolutely should be however is fair! If an apprentice is teaching a group exercise class, they should be paid the going rate for that class. If they are working on the gym floor and teaching programmes to paying customers, why not pay them the same rate as casual gym instructors for that time? Often, a word or two of praise is all that it takes to boost an apprentice’s confidence and top up their motivation tank.
When other employees within a business see that their colleagues are being rewarded and celebrated for their accomplishments, the effect on productivity throughout the business is both potent and infectious. People become what they are around and if they are around upbeat and energetic co-workers, this will subconsciously start to influence their own attitude towards work. Social and cultural influences are extremely powerful and so it’s important that businesses owners take the time to create a positive culture that rewards success, and which celebrates improvement and achievement.