The 2020 pandemic has drastically transformed the ways daily business is conducted. Things have improved a lot since then, with the vaccinations being successful and the declining rate of the virus spread. Hence, it is a good time to reflect on the never-failing human willpower and how we, as a species has adapted to combat such a pandemic.

Referring to willpower, HR is the one who uplifts the morale of the employees in a company and the best way to do it is by utilising the existing employee recognition programmes and tweaking them to suit the pandemic. Since employee recognition is a vital part of employee engagement, it is crucial that it is tweaked and perfected to suit the remote working philosophy of the pandemic and applied effectively to uplift the employee morale and improve their productivity.

What is Employee Recognition?

Simply put, ‘employee recognition’ is the method of appreciating your employees for their time and efforts put into their daily work as well as pointing out any exceptional work they would have performed for the company. Many researches have proved that recognising the employees makes them work better for you as well as keeps them motivated and even improves their retention rate in the company.

Employee Recognition and Remote Employees

As we have seen above, employee recognition has multiple positive impacts on your workforce. Hence, it is crucial to divert your attention towards adjusting your employee recognition initiatives to benefit the remotely working employees. You can begin small by encouraging peer-to-peer recognition and moving on to tangible rewards. However, do keep in mind that your employees will always appreciate social recognition over monetary rewards as it is a part of our nature as social animals.

Since remote working has become the ‘new normal’ nowadays, employee recognition also needs to be adapted to suit the remote medium. According to a recent Workplace Trends survey, remote workers were more likely to feel disengaged and quit their jobs soon. Hence, it is vital to keep them motivated with new forms of employee recognition strategies as it helps them understand that you care about them. It assures them that their HR and company is there to support them during these trying times.

Value of Employee Recognition during a Pandemic

As stated above, employee recognition is very crucial in this pandemic with employees performing extra work from home. It takes more effort to work from home since there are many distractions like children or the elderly to take care of, social media, other hobbies or even the allure of the fact that no one is watching you. In such a scenario, employee recognition not only helps them stay motivated but also helps in assuring them you are there for any support.

Let us take a closer look at how employee recognition benefits you as a company:

·         Improved Productivity

Employees who understand that they are being genuinely recognized for their efforts are bound to reciprocate by putting further efforts into improving their quality of work. This acts as a win-win situation for both the company and the employee. While the employee is benefiting with accolades for their contribution, the company is benefiting from their better-quality work.

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·         Nurture Trust

Recognising your employee’s contributions also results in you gaining their trust. Studies have indicated that employees who trust their senior leaders are twice as likely to stay engaged and hence, have increased job satisfaction rates. This kind of trust is not built overnight. It is developed by various proactive methods implemented by the company such as employee engagement, employee recognition, appreciation, etc.

·         Higher Engagement

Employees who are recognized for their tasks are also bound to have higher engagement rates with the company as they would be inclined to participate more in the company development. They would even be proactive in providing suggestions for improvising the efficiency of their daily tasks. In fact, a recent study by Workhuman found that social recognition at work positively impacted the employees and there was a tangible improvement in their performance after the recognition.

·         Enhanced Job Satisfaction

Employee recognition also plays a major role in improving the job satisfaction of the employee. It helps them understand that their work is being appreciated by their peers as well as their seniors and hence, they will find an improved vigour to perform better. This leads to better work output which results in further accolades. This cycle of better output and employee recognition might even be addictive to a highly motivated employee which is bound to improve their performance and as a result, improving the product or service they are working on.

·         Higher Retention

It is no wonder that employees who are recognized for their efforts also tend to stay with their company for a longer period. It boils down to human psychology as individuals who are appreciated by their peers tends to get comfortable with those peers. They find solace in the fact that their work is being appreciated by those who matter, such as their colleagues and seniors. All of these factors result in them staying longer with the organization, leading to a higher retention rate for the company.

5 Simple Employee Recognition Ideas

Now that we understand the importance of employee recognition, and recognize the value it brings to the company, let us take a look at some simple tactics which can be implemented in any company irrespective of its size, for recognizing their remotely working employees:

·         Gather Employee Feedback

Before making any changes to your employee recognition structure, it is always beneficial to consult your employees and gain their valuable feedback. You will understand what are their requirements and even get new ideas for appreciating them from their feedback itself. This also has the practical application of helping the employees feel valued in the company as they are being approached for something which will impact them in the future.

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·         Recognize Publicly

As a golden rule of thumb, HRs know that one should always appreciate publicly and chastise privately. The former part of this common idiom also applies to recognising employees remotely. Showing off the achievements of the employee publicly in a virtual meeting also helps them with social recognition since it makes them feel appreciated by their peers. This motivates them to improve further and perform better.

·         ‘Humans 1st, Employees 2nd’ Approach

The ‘Humans 1st, Employees 2nd’ approach helps HR and the management to view their employees as human beings with emotions rather than just employees working for them. This humane approach towards the employees will help you in formulating the employee recognition programmes by considering these attributes. It will also help you in coming up with apt rewards for their recognition, thus helping in gaining their trust.

·         Say it with ‘Gift Cards’

Gift cards have become another avenue of spoiling your employees with choices. Popular e-commerce websites have gift card options that you can gift your employees for appreciating their work. This gives them the freedom to purchase what they require instead of having to settle for the gift you provided. It also helps them understand that you are thoughtful even about the gifts you provide as well as appreciate it in this time of financial crunch.

·         Have Corporate Perks

Modern companies have started providing added employee perks such as extra day-offs, exclusive discounts, free subscriptions, free dental care, etc. to attract new talent. However, these perks can also be used as a form of employee recognition by providing additional privileges to those who perform better. Similarly, the corporate perks can also be customized as per the pandemic to help the employees choose the ones that they require, which will be more helpful in the pandemic.

Employee recognition is one of the major employee engagement strategies out there and it is especially relevant in this pandemic-stricken hour. While the employees are unsure about the stability of their jobs, having a good employee recognition programme will not only put their doubts at ease but also help gain their trust as well as motivate them to perform better. This helps in retaining them for longer as well as gaining their trust and appreciation of their company, which are very valuable resources, especially during a pandemic.

To learn more about employee management, read our HR-related blogs here.

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