Employee Engagement | Article

4 Ways to Adapt Employee Recognition to the Virtual Workspace

Remote work has transformed the way many companies engage, recognize, and reward employees. And we like to believe it’s for the best!

A lot has changed since the pandemic, including employee recognition. Gone are the days of recognizing solely with trophies and certificates, and the number of days employees receive praise is also shifting. Yearly and even quarterly recognition has been deemed “not enough” for a generation yearning for real-time feedback.

Even before the pandemic, we started to see a shift to more personalized and more frequent employee recognition. Here are some ways you can modify your employee recognition to be better suited for the virtual space many of us work in.

1. Leverage Technology

Working in person comes with a lot of important little moments. It could be a high five for finishing a project, a water cooler moment of connection, or eating lunch together. When you have employees working remotely, these moments can be harder to come by. That’s where employee engagement technology comes in.  Send a random GIF that you thought was funny, or schedule an eCard for an anniversary. Eat lunch as a team over Zoom and reimburse team members for the meal. There are so many ways technology can foster meaningful moments at work!

2. Customize the Experience

People love autonomy. Part of that autonomy might be choosing their own rewards. Rather than giving all employees the same gift at their 5-year service anniversary, let them decide how they are recognized. Implement a point-based program to give your team members more options to redeem their rewards. One individual may want to be rewarded with a vacation, while another would like new headphones. Donating to a charity of their choice is even an option! Everyone has unique preferences, so having a “one-size-fits-all” approach is likely to be less effective.

3. Enable Peer-to-Peer Praise

People often think of praise as only coming from a leader. But the reality is that any team member can – and should – recognize others. In fact, front-line team members typically have the most visibility into daily moments that deserve to be highlighted. Enabling peer-to-peer recognition empowers employees, and increases the frequency in which recognition is being given. This is especially helpful in the virtual workspace when there are fewer daily interactions.

4. Gather Feedback Often

Ask your employees what they want! Sending out quarterly surveys is a great way to go about gathering feedback on a regular basis. The simple act of asking your people what they think of your recognition program is powerful. You can uncover many unique ideas and solutions. Of course, follow through on utilizing employee feedback when possible. This creates a better experience and shows that you truly value their input.

While the influx of remote work has come with challenges, we believe it has also brought about positive change. Recognition is highly impactful when it is personalized and frequent. More and more employee recognition programs have become peer-to-peer enabled and supported by technology. Both of which are beneficial to remote and in-person employees. It’s a win-win!