According to the Gallup Organization, 67% of employees say recognition is their top performance motivator. With the drastic increase in work-from-home arrangements over the past few years, managers need to increase their ability to recognize their employees who are working remotely. Here are some strategies you can use to show your virtual employees they matter when they’ve done good work.
Identify employee motivators
Regardless of where your employees are working from, you need to find out
their favorite way to be recognized. You can do this one-on-one or in a group discussion. You can even provide a form that employees can complete. At Hyatt Hotels, they use “Me Pages” to allow employees to share information about themselves to help others know them better. At Wyndham hotels, they have all employees fill out a preference sheet of motivators when they first start their job, listing things like hobbies, their favorite foods, their favorite flower, etc. The preference sheets then go to the employees’ manager to better customize recognition for workers when they perform well.
Hyatt Hotels uses a technique where they assign individuals’ names of other employees they work with and ask them to praise that individual when they’ve done something well routinely. This makes employees focus on getting to know each other and their work to acknowledge each other better when it’s deserved.
Online meeting shoutouts
You can provide “shoutouts” to others in online meetings, thanking individuals for things they’ve done well as those items relate to the topics being discussed.
Virtual thank you cards
You can send employees virtual thank you cards or online memes as a fun and simple way to thank them. There are a host of online greeting cards available on the Internet, many of which are free and many that are animated that you can use.
This is a short and simple activity you can do at the beginning of any meeting, even if it’s a Zoom meeting. Say, “Before we dig into today’s meeting agenda, I’d like to take a few moments to go around our team, and as I call out your name, I’d like everyone else to share what they most value about working with each person on our team.” Ten minutes later, everyone will have received positive feedback from their team members, which will:
1) Make them each feel great
2) Make it more likely they each will do more of those things they were recognized for
3) Help strengthen and unite the team as a more cohesive group.
Electronic bulletin boards
Post messages of praise on your organization’s intranet or via Slack. Many companies now have news feeds with a steady stream of public recognition for individuals, groups, or the entire organization.
Celebrate group successes
Take time to celebrate successes when they occur, which can include a group activity or game or a choice of curated gifts for each member of the team. This can also include simultaneous celebrations in which you ask everyone to applaud wherever they are located at a set date and time, as I know one company to have done with success.
Keep a recognition log
For the employees, you don’t personally get to see very often if ever, consider keeping a Recognition Log for what you have done to thank them when they’ve excelled. This will serve as a reminder for you if it has been too long since you have taken time to connect with more remote employees about the positive things they are doing in their jobs.
Recognizing employees is a simple, common sense thing every manager should do if you want to maximize employee effort and results and keep them working longer for you. It doesn’t take much time or expense to make it a priority in your management style and the benefits of doing so are significant.
Editor's note: This piece was contributed by Dr. Bob Nelson, PhD; all views expressed are his own and does not reflect the views of Snappy App, Inc.
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Bob Nelson, Ph.D., is the leading advocate for employee recognition and engagement worldwide, president of Nelson Motivation Inc. (www.drbobnelson.com) and the creator of Employee Appreciation Day, celebrated on the first Friday each March. His books have sold over 5 million copies and, in additional to 1,501 Ways to Reward Employees, include The 1,001 Rewards & Recognition Fieldbook, 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees, and 1,001 Ways to Energize Employees. He frequently presents for management teams, conferences and associations about strategies for better motivating today’s employees. You can contact him directly at email@example.com or by phone at (858) 218-5049.