Since the start of the pandemic, most of your business’s staff have been working remotely. Though the threat of COVID-19 is waning, you suspect that this remote work style will remain in place in the years to come — which means you will need to alter your leadership style to manage a workforce you only interact with through a screen.
Recognition is an essential task for business leaders, who need to pay attention to the effort and achievements of their workforce to maintain morale and boost performance. Here are some tips for building effective employee recognition programs for a remote staff.
Establish a Culture of Recognition
It is important for any workplace to integrate recognition into its culture at every level. As a business leader, you are responsible for recognizing the effort and achievement of your staff, but coworkers should also feel compelled to notice and celebrate one another. A culture of recognition helps alleviate some of the pressure on you to identify and reward excellent performance but continues to ensure the satisfaction and productivity of your team.
Give Private Recognition Freely
Private recognition is praise or rewards that occur directly between you and a worker who is going above and beyond in some crucial way. Often, private recognition is smaller in scope, like an email expressing your gratitude or a small gift card send through the mail, which means it allows you to demonstrate that you see and appreciate your worker without severely interrupting their workday or interfering with their intrinsic motivation. Because private recognition is so small and easy, you should be willing to dole it out for any employee behavior you want to encourage, which could mean dropping a ”thanks” or two every day.
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Share Praise From Customers
Satisfied customers are what most members of an organization are working toward in one way or another. Unfortunately, many workers never get the opportunity to see the end result of their efforts, especially when employees work remotely. Every week or so, you should pull a few favorable reviews from customers and share them with the staff most responsible for these positive outcomes. By doing so, you are demonstrating to your remote workforce that you know they are responsible for your business success.
Award an Employee of the Month
Employee of the Month is perhaps the most traditional of all employee recognition programs — because it absolutely works. Different business leaders have different strategies for selecting the Employee of the Month, but no matter what criteria you use to choose the worker to celebrate, you need to be sure that it is tied to some aspect of performance of behavior. If you randomly select a worker every month, you will not see any boost to performance or morale from your team.
Pay Attention to Employees’ Personal Achievements
When you work in an office alongside your staff, you are more likely to participate in small talk that allows you to get to know your workers on a deeper level. Thus, you are likely to recognize when an employee is reaching milestones in their personal life.
Unfortunately, remote work makes it more difficult to see and celebrate personal achievements, like marriage, children and hobbies. You should go out of your way to try to learn personal details about your remote workforce, and when a worker reaches a personal milestone, you should congratulate them appropriately.
Host a Virtual Appreciation Party
To ensure that the workplace is not merely a place of stress, most organizations host the occasional workplace party, where employees can relax and enjoy themselves. Your remote workforce should be given the opportunity to blow off steam as well. You can schedule a virtual party to appreciate your team members and give everyone a chance to talk about non-work topics. As a surprise, you might send attendees a package of drinks and snacks for them to enjoy during the event.
Send an Electronic Workplace Newsletter
Workplace newsletters help keep every member of a large organization apprised of goings-on around the business. These days, most newsletters take the form of weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual emails. If you have the time to craft and send newsletters with greater frequency, you should include a section where you offer appreciation to a handful of particularly impactful workers. Then, the rest of the organization can recognize their important contributions.
Just because you do not see your remote workforce every day does not mean they are not working as hard to reach common goals. By recognizing the effort and achievements of your remote employees, you will foster a deeper relationship that will bring mutual satisfaction and success.
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