Employee recognition ideas are a great way to express your employees that you value and appreciate their efforts.
Remote teams often struggle to prove their productivity. Recognizing and appreciating your remote teams will make their efforts visible.
It boosts employee morale and motivates them to give their best in every task.
The pandemic situation has further escalated the need for employee recognition for remote teams.
Why is employee recognition important for remote teams?
- Humans crave appreciation
- For better employees engagement
- To create a holistic work environment
- To keep your employees motivated
One Achievers study found that 44 percent of employees who switched jobs cited lack of recognition and reward as the reason.
Furthermore, Harvard Business Review points out that “40 percent of employed Americans say they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often.”
21 Employee recognition ideas for remote teams
Keep track of each of your remote employees. Whenever you spot anything worthy of recognition, step on it and reward them instantly.
You can do this through chat programmes, team-wide emails or thank them personally over a video call or a virtual meeting.
You can also use mobile applications like Workmates, iAppreciate, Achievers, GiveAWow etc. to make your recognition programme fast and technologically advanced.
Slack, which can be integrated with Karma and other bots, also allows everyone on the team to recognize and appreciate each other.
A panel hosted by the Institute for Human Resources (IHR) suggested that “Employees crave instant feedback rather than delayed praise,”
2Point-based reward system
You can initiate a point-based reward system for recognition. Give employees points every time they take one step further than their co-workers.
You can also ask your employees to nominate and vote for the best employee of the week. Reward the winner with points.
After cumulating a certain amount, they can redeem their points for gifts, memberships, subscriptions etc.
Some gifting ideas are –
- fitness trackers and other wearable devices.
- Gym membership.
- Vantage rewards
- Achievement certificate
- Gift cards of local brands.
3Donate for a noble cause in their name
You can motivate and appreciate your employees for their positive influence by donating for a cause in the name of the employee. It is a unique way of recognizing remote employees who donate to such charities.
This will result in recognition not just from the company but from other quarters as well.
4Offer support based on their needs
You can be thoughtful and support your remote teams with things they need most for smooth functioning.
For instance – At present, with the transition from offices to virtual workplaces due to the pandemic, there are new forms of expenses, such as high-speed internet costs, laptops, need for upgrading their equipment etc.
You can also support and encourage mental wellbeing of your remote teams in this trying time. This will strengthen their feeling of being cherished.
You can go an extra mile to know your employees’ needs and preferences. And offer personalized rewards for their achievements.
This can be a book of their choice, premium subscription of an app of their choice, a plant, personalized clothes and so on.
You can ask your employees about their choices directly and reward them with the appropriate gift option.
You can also add a personal touch to any reward with a hand-written message on it. Make sure employees receive personalized birthday and anniversary cards as well.
6Recognize and award their creative minds
You should never fail to acknowledge the creative minds of your company. Employees who go above and beyond with their unique ideas are worth recognizing.
You can do this by acknowledging their ideas in a conference meeting publically or send them a personal text or video message.
Rewarding their creativity will also encourage other remote employees to share and be vocal about their ideas.
Punctuality is worth appreciating in the remote workplace as much as in the office. There are a few remote employees who are always on time – whether it’s about meeting deadlines or joining a virtual meeting.
You can also offer a virtual badge or a title such as “Most punctual remote worker” as a reward. It will not only motivate the employee to keep doing it but also motivate others to maintain discipline.
8Refreshment in the form of informal meetings
Hold informal communication sessions. Invite your employees on a virtual meeting with Zoom or Skype.
You can also arrange Saturday virtual parties to announce the major accomplishments. Your teams can socialize and celebrate their wins together in this way.
You can encourage virtual yoga, workout, meditation sessions as well. Apart from refreshment, this will promote physical and mental wellbeing of your remote teams.
Such informal recognition sessions are more relevant in the present pandemic situation. It can help ease the anxiety remote workers often feel on the job.
Be transparent with your remote teams about the new or existing projects of your company. And invite opinions and suggestions from your remote teams.
Your employees are the one who will be executing the plans. It’s thus important to recognize that you value their judgements. It will make your employees feel heard and included as well.
10Virtual bulletin board
This is the virtual alternative of the wall of fame. You can post – customer compliments, Peer to peer notes, Welcome notes, Progress charts, employee updates, photos, and other fun stuff on the virtual bulletin board.
You can also use this digital method to post wishes on birthdays and anniversaries.
11Recognition on social media platforms
While recognizing your remote teams choose a public forum. This will ensure that everyone gets to know about their hard-earned achievement.
One of the ways of going public with remote employee recognition is by doing it through social media. It is an immediate, cost-efficient, and highly publicized manner of appreciation.
Social media has become an inevitable part of human life. Your employees naturally spend a lot of their time on social media as well.
You can post their photo and praise online. Appreciating your remote team over social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn will let your remote teams get socially recognized and flaunt their achievements.
Among brands that highlight their employees’ contributions actively on social media platforms are Best Western, Oracle, pointroll, @Spotifyjobs, @PepsiCoJOBS, and @MicrosoftJobs.
12Let them be the educator
It might be hard for the employees who are new to remote working to adjust and understand the company work culture.
Let your existing remote employees showcase their importance to the organization by mentoring the newbies.
It’s a nice way of recognizing their credibility. Moreover, it will provide an opportunity for your remote employees to showcase their expertise as well.
13Let them be the company ambassador for special projects
Invite your employees to represent their department at an important event or meeting with an important client.
This will provide your employee’s scope to work on special projects outside their typical responsibilities.
You can invite your employees to work on a project they typically won’t be a part of as a reward for another achievement. Ask them to report back to their teams about it.
Such appreciation programmes will make the employees feel that they’re worth to their organisation. It will also prove your confidence and believe in their capabilities.
14Facilitate employees’ development
Another creative way of recognition is by investing in the personal development of your employees. This will make your remote teams understand that you value their personal growth as much as you value the growth of the company.
You can send your employee to attend an online/offline seminar or educational activity of their interest.
Provide discounted or free online courses of their choice through platforms like Udemy, Coursera etc. so that employees can upskill themselves. Digital learning allows your employees to work on personal growth without obstructing their work schedule.
15Praise from customers
You can encourage customers to directly share their positive reviews with the remote teams’ trough cards or virtual messages. You can also use company intranet or any digital communication platform to share positive customer reviews.
This will definitely make them feel appreciated for their hard work and help building confidence.
16Acknowledge personal achievements
Acknowledging your remote teams’ non-workplace achievements is important. It ensures healthy relationships among the teammates.
Recognizing and encouraging employees’ personal endeavours will also let other employees know about their capabilities.
17Make them feel included
Employees need to feel included. So make your employees feel part of the team. For this, you can put your team on the company website. This will make your remote teams feel accepted as a part of the organization.
18Personalized company apparel
Send them t-shirts, caps or other goodies with the company with company logo printed on it.
Personalize the goodies by having titles such as ‘life savers’, ‘happiest remote employee’, ‘most productive remote employee’, ‘the creative soul’, ‘most helpful employee’. etc printed on the apparel.
19Peer -to-peer recognition
Peer to peer recognition is essential for maintaining a healthy work culture.
Employees and their smallest of achievements are better known by their colleagues than the manager or the HR. So, develop a peer recognition programme, where colleagues can acknowledge the contributions of their teammates publically.
You can also develop a dedicated reward and recognition online platform for sharing such words of praise and acclamation.
20Weekly, monthly and annual awards
Awards like employee of the week, month, or year can never go out of trend. They always work as tools of recognition.
Take to social media to announce these awards. You can also initiate voting system among your employees to choose the appropriate candidate for the award.
21Show respect to the respective cultures of your remote employees.
This is particularly important if you are dealing with multinational employees. This will help you to know more about the holidays and special festivities of different religions and nationals.
And you’ll be able to interact with them appropriately. This extra effort from your side can certainly boost employee morale and trust.
How to save employee recognition program from failing
1Frequency is most important
A good remote employee recognition programme should encourage frequent appreciation. It ensures long-lasting impact on the employees’ work behaviour.
2Recognition should not always be monetary
Only focusing on monetary rewards is a waste of time and resources. Recognition is more than just material progress.
Non-monetary rewards are more impactful in motivating and raising self-esteem of the employees.
3The key is how you make them feel
Employees may forget what you said or what they earned as a reward. But they would never forget how you made them feel. Thus your focus should be on making them feel valued and appreciated.
Managers must embrace new ways of engaging, rewarding, and recognizing employees and implement new strategies to keep the company culture intact.
It is important to make remote employees feel included, valued, and an integral part of your company.
Regular positive recognition to remote employees can ensure employee engagement. It is further important for maintaining a healthy work culture.