How to Develop Employee Recognition in Remote Teams

Developing a sound employee recognition programme can work wonders for your remote teams, bringing engagement and morale levels up. Here’s how.

Developing a sound employee recognition programme can work wonders for your remote teams, bringing engagement and morale levels up. Here’s how.

Put simply, employee recognition refers to the acknowledgement and appreciation for employee contributions made to the organisation. There is a constellation of ways to show employee recognition, from a bonus pay-out to a simple email shout-out.

The impact of well-designed employee recognition is tenfold — it can improve employee engagement, productivity levels, and strengthen purpose. As remote work redefines every nook and cranny of workplace matters, employers need to relook into how they can show virtual appreciation for their teams.

With little face-to-face interaction and reliance on teleconferencing tools, showing recognition might require different methods. This is even more important for remote employees, who may often feel like their work and achievements are invisible.

Recognition is far from being a one-size-fits-all approach. Appreciating your employees in a way that resonates with them can involve a couple of methods. Consider simple and effective approaches that are sincere and personalised. Here’s how.

1. Say thank you more often

One of the simplest, yet often overlooked, ways is to express our gratitude whenever the opportunity arises. This can be as simple as sending a ‘Thank You’ message to employees who’ve worked hard.

Building a supportive workplace culture starts from the top. Managers and leaders can set an example by saying thanks more consistently and genuinely, in both private and public settings. It’s also important to thank employees who are often doing thankless work so that you establish the right tone. Every job is important.

Regular reinforcement over time will cascade down to creating a culture of gratitude among employees. Over time, the expression of gratitude can influence and shape policies at work. This can range from farewell parties for employees leaving to monthly recognition calls.

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2. Incorporate gratitude in everyday communication

In a period of remote work, we may find ourselves communicating less often and only when necessary. This can reduce the window of opportunity to relay gratitude to our co-workers and managers.

However, there’s no shortage of ways we can express appreciation online. Go beyond the customary employee recognition programmes and make showing appreciation an everyday element. Often, unprompted recognition, when done sincerely, can be meaningful to employees.

There are a number of ways you can demonstrate appreciation for your employees in a remote setting. Consider the following:

  • Start your meetings with positive feedback on the employee’s performance
  • Include a shout-out for employees who are doing well in informal meetings and conversations
  • Send handwritten notes or care packages to their home

3. Offer virtual perks and discounts

Remote work offers an avenue for managers to recognise employees through virtual events, coupons, and discounts. Not only are these methods functional, but they are also flexible and can be tailored to individual employee needs.

From online shopping vouchers and discounts to personal development courses, the list is endless. Depending on the different motivation triggers of your employees, you can build a recognition programme that comprises virtual perks and discounts to incentivise them.

For instance, Siemens Group of Companies offered their employees modular, bite-sized training sessions through mobile and Web-learning platforms that they could choose to enrol in at their own pace. Gek Choo Seah, talent partner at Deloitte Singapore, notes that Deloitte has organised activities that engage employees elsewhere, like virtual cooking competitions.

Virtual rewards can be helpful for employees feeling invisible or disconnected during a period of remote work.

4. Build a virtual awards programme

Another way to spotlight employee contributions and accomplishments is through a virtual awards programme.

Organisations can still continue to hold awards or recognition programmes virtually, using teleconferencing tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Get creative by putting together a video showcasing the top contributions or accomplishments of your team. Offer recognition through biweekly or monthly emails.

Keeping employee engagement and morale high is essential for remote teams. Employee recognition is a key component of that, allowing managers and leaders to regularly and consistently demonstrate appreciation for them. Using novel and creative ways to do that remotely can bolster positive workplace culture.

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