10 ways to appreciate an apprentice

Apprentice appreciation

Who doesn’t love praise? Well, that is not the point. When you appreciate a trainee/apprentice who is working on probation in your organization for the good performance and hard work that he/she have put up, you are honoring the commitment that they have given to you at the time of joining and has proved the same also. Taking the time and effort to appreciate such apprentices is considered to be a professional way of expressing your gratitude towards the person.

Especially at a workplace, positive affirmations on a job well done often boosts morale and empowers apprentices/employees to do better.  If you are a HR personal, a team lead or even a co-worker, don’t reserve your appreciation for your apprentice’s good work for special occasions. Make it a standard practice to thank your team regularly, let them know you care and promote their confidence at work. While every apprentice may have different needs for appreciation, your own needs can serve as a starting point. 

In case you were apprehensive about how to be appreciative to your apprentices or peers, perhaps this article will help you out.

Let’s look at 10 ways (some, you may have never thought of) through which you can tell your apprentices, you appreciate them.

  1. Public appreciation -Like the saying goes, “Praise in public, criticize in private,” take out time in a week or a month to gather your team and appreciate the apprentice who stood out. When you acknowledge an apprentice, they will use that energy as fuel to perform better. This is not the same for employees who have already landed the job. Appreciating apprentices before peers and management gives them the much needed validation to strive and become a worthy candidate for the job. Though Apprentice Appreciation Day is the name of an episode in the Story telling – TV series Chowder, it’s high time it becomes a real thing.
  2. Explain the nitty-gritties of the job – This is an extension of the above point, but crucial nonetheless– it is important to detail the work done by the apprentice that has created the opportunity to be recognized. This has two benefits. When you identify the agility, quick-thinking and acumen deployed by the apprentice in wisely handling a job, you are not only proving to your team that you are an invested manager with an eye for detail, but you are setting up your team to be more productive by showcasing the quality of your star apprentice; indirectly motivating others to emulate such traits while on the job. 
  3. Offer them comfort– This is crucial to today’s work culture of job-hopping and quick-fixes. When an apprentice feels that their contribution is recognized, their productivity rises. Employers need not move mountains to show appreciation, they can offer simple benefits like flexible timing or work from home options for management apprentices. By doing do, mutual goodwill increases which leads to lesser attrition.
  4. Challenge them with bigger responsibilities– Gone are the days when assigning of more responsibilities was considered a burden or an abuse of power. As ironic as it may sound, giving tasks that are more challenging is considered a benefit. It means you value them for their talent and believe that they have the capacity to handle a bigger responsibility. This motivates them to push their boundaries powered by the management trust in their abilities. It’s good ole’ psychology, basically.
  5. Do not incentivize; recognize– Money is a big part in employment; especially when finding the right talent. However, the value of appreciation is no longer attached with a fat pay-check as against the innate feeling of being appreciated. The Boston Consulting Group conducted an online global study of 200,000 employees from 189 countries, finding that “Globally, the most important single job element for all people is appreciation for their work.” Appreciation was the top factor for happiness on the job, ahead of 25 other factors.
  6. Bring them to the limelight– There is a misconception especially among Indian organisations that apprentices do not have managerial agility or decision making prowess as they do not emerge from mainstream educational background. This is false understanding. The Logistics Skill Council (LSC) through their Apprenticeship Program is training 3 lakh youth who are ready for mainstream job roles. Inclusivity and a positive step towards welcoming them onto important roles will boost their self-esteem and employ a sense of inclusion, appreciation and pride.
  7. Use the govt. benefits and hire (more) apprentices– 8 out of 10 companies do not hire apprentices as per the 2016 survey on Indian Employability. This is the overall finding from 2011 to 2016, but things are changing and quickly so. As Viola Davis in her Emmy Award acceptance speech said, “We cannot win awards for roles that are not available (for black actors)”. Similarly, making opportunities available for apprentices is by itself an appreciation of their talent and existence. Coupled with the government subsidy and tax benefit for industries and corporates, it is a no-brainer. Give them titles, “The Most hardworking person in the room” or “The most approachable apprentice in the floor”.
  8. Apprentices make for excellent mystery shoppers – Most apprentices have a mind for problem solving. In the course of their apprenticeship program, they are taught the nuances of doing the job right, focusing on details, highlighting mediocre from expertise, and that is why they make for excellent supervisors. By giving them out of premises responsibilities, it allows them to get a feel of the market, and gather feedback which they can deploy into their processes.
  9. Offer certifications and Training as a reward – Though this may seem to be an attractive opportunity for any employee, it is particularly beneficial for an apprentice.  For apprentices who are trying to dive into mainstream corporate, certifications of this kind will only place them at par with their peers and give them the needed edge in international market.
  10. Just say, Thank you – Simple and sincere – An honest word goes a long way.