Workplace culture is constantly evolving. With the influx of Millennials and Gen Zers into the workforce, workplace behaviors have experienced some distinct changes. One major shift is a growing emphasis on engaging employees recognizing their contributions to the company.
Today’s employees grew up in a fast-paced world. They want to work quickly and efficiently. They also expect that their efforts will be recognized without delay. They feel unappreciated when that recognition isn’t forthcoming in a timely fashion. This cultural shift is so prevalent that employee appreciation and recognition programs have become an ingrained part of most corporations’ employee management plans.
At the same time, many businesses are seeing a shift toward remote working. This is due in part to the improvement in technology that makes many employees’ presence in the office unnecessary. The fast-paced, demanding nature of the corporate world also plays a part. Employees struggle to balance their life outside of work with their duties at work. Many have found that the extra time achieved by working from home helps offset the extra demands their job places on them.
As the two trends of increased employee recognition and remote working converge in the workplace, businesses are facing a new challenge: how to handle employee recognition in the remote world.
All of this was true even before the COVID-19 pandemic caused many businesses to jump into remote work feet-first. With the additional urgency of figuring out remote systems on the fly, it’s no surprise that many managers have struggled to figure out how to make sure their employees feel recognized. As remote work becomes the new norm for many businesses across the globe, managers are looking for actionable, effective steps to take to make their employees know that their efforts are valued.
Why Employee Recognition In the Remote World Is Important
People like to feel appreciated. Someone who knows their effort is valued will work harder and feel happier than someone who thinks their work is going unnoticed.
When you add in the isolation of remote work, recognition becomes even more important. Humans tend to need to feel a connection to other humans. When we’re cut off from our normal methods of interaction, we feel lonely and adrift. For many workers who are only working remotely because they have no choice, this lack of opportunities to socialize at work can be stressful. New workers can also feel lost without the chance to ask questions and get support from their colleagues. Recognizing the contributions of your employees can help maintain the feeling of connection and engagement that previously came from in-person interactions.
Hopefully, employee recognition is already part of the culture of your business. You probably have strategies in place to recognize different ways that employees contribute. If you let that recognition lapse due to working remotely, you’re increasing the likelihood that employees will feel unappreciated and disconnected from their job. If anything, working remotely makes those signs of appreciation even more important than when all employees work on-site.
It’s also important to consider that remote employees often feel pressure to prove that they’re working as hard as they would be in the office. There’s a common assumption, even among managers, that employees will be less productive if they’re not being watched. Unfortunately, the need to disprove this assumption can increase employees’ stress. As a result, their work may be less efficient and accurate. Reminders that their work is appreciated and their efforts seen by management can lead to happier, more efficient employees.
Perhaps the most important reason to engage in employee recognition is to strengthen relationships. People who feel appreciated are more likely to keep lines of communication open. They’re more likely to be engaged with and committed to the company’s core values. When employees feel like the company wants them to succeed, they want the company to succeed as well.
Innovative Ways to Recognize Employees Remotely
- Cloud-Based Rewards Management. Companies would not have been able to pull off such a massive shift to remote work so quickly at the start of the pandemic without using cloud tools. Whether used to manage projects, hold video conferences or share work materials, cloud tools have made working from home possible. They also make remote recognition programs possible. Cloud-based rewards programs allow management to recognize employees from anywhere. They’re often fun for employees as well because they use gamification to make the recognition system exciting.
- Go Digital. Even though the pandemic has made in-person rewards difficult, you still have the option of remotely offering gift cards, perk systems and discounts. Digital perks and gift cards are especially useful to employees who are largely stuck at home.
- Social Media Appreciation. Using social media to recognize employees draws attention to their hard work. It also lets their community know how much you appreciate them.
- Encourage Self-Care. Show your concern for your employees’ well-being by offering ways to support healthy habits. You might offer virtual exercise or meditation classes. You could also keep your employees informed about the best practices for avoiding COVID-19.
- Find Out Employees’ Needs and Offer to Help. The sudden shift to remote work may have left employees without the tools they need to do their job. One way to show that you value their work is to help with added expenses like increased internet costs or home office equipment. They may also be struggling with childcare and need flexibility in their work requirements.
- Offer Development Opportunities. Since your employees are working from home, some may find themselves with extra time on their hands. Providing training opportunities for them to increase their skills at no cost shows that you want to help them succeed.
Vantage Rewards Makes Employee Recognition Easy
As you find ways to engage in employee recognition in the remote world, you’ll find that certain tools make implementing recognition and rewards more manageable. Vantage Rewards is a unique program that simplifies recognition for management while making it fun and engaging for employees. Vantage Rewards uses points, badges, a leaderboard and peer recognition to create an atmosphere where employees know their efforts are seen and valued.
Vantage Rewards makes recognition easy with these features:
- Integration. Vantage Rewards integrates easily into your existing SSO software and systems.
- Interface. The Vantage Rewards interface is highly customizable and offers white-label branding so that it fits perfectly into your company’s programs.
- Gamification. Using leaderboards, points, virtual badges and other game elements, Vantage Rewards makes the recognition system fun.
- Points System. Managers can give employees points that can be turned in for gift cards. This lets employees customize their rewards to their own needs.
- Adaptiveness. Vantage Rewards can scale to fit the size of your company and works world-wide.
Adapting to the realities of a remote workforce is a challenge. Don’t make the mistake of allowing your employee recognition program to fall by the wayside as you’re trying to meet that challenge. With the assistance of cloud-based employee recognition programs, you can implement an employee recognition system that creates a positive workplace culture and lets your employees know that they are valued.