December 31, 2020

Nine ways to level-up employee recognition in the remote workplace

The act of recognizing employees for a job well done is a critical piece of employee engagement, especially during times of change or uncertainty. Here are three fundamentals of effective employee recognition and creative ways managers can show appreciation for their team today. 

In a working environment marked with uncertainty, stress and burnout, employee recognition is an increasingly important part of being a good manager. But how do you make sure everyone on your team feels appreciated when you're just trying to get by yourself?

It's an important question to ask, as employee recognition can have a powerful impact on retention and loyalty. In fact, one Gallup poll showed that when employees don't feel recognized, they're two times as likely to quit within the next year. 

In another survey from Psychometrics, 58% of employees surveyed indicated that being recognized would improve their engagement at work.

As it turns out employee recognition is something you can easily work into your habits as a manager — even on a remote team. It doesn't necessary require a big budget, extra hours, or even extra effort to layer in moments of surprise and delight for your hard-working employees — it just takes a little planning. 

How to improve employee recognition

First, let's set some ground rules. Recognition doesn't need to be expensive or flashy to have a positive impact on employees. However, if you want it to be effective, it needs to meet the following three criteria: 

Effective recognition is timely 

There's no wrong time to show employee appreciation. But your words will have more impact if they occur within a short time period after the actual event, such as showing initiative to take on a difficult project. Get into the habit of recognizing and acknowledging positive actions or results within a few hours of the event instead of saving them for the next meeting.  

Effective recognition is specific

Generic recognition feels good, but it feels even better to know exactly how you've helped someone. The same goes for employees, who will be much more likely to repeat the desired behavior if you explain how their work has helped or contributed to the team. 

Effective recognition is conscientious

Individual people have different comfort levels with praise — some welcome it in public, while some would rather not receive the attention, even if it's positive. As you practice giving more recognition, pay attention to signs that an employee might want to be recognized privately or in front of their group of peers. Better yet, check in with each employee at your next private meeting to ask their preference. 

It doesn't require extra effort from you to share your positive feedback publicly or privately, but it will go a long way to making the employee feel comfortable and appreciated in their preferred manner if you ask. 

Creative ideas for recognizing employees remotely

With ground rules in place to make your recognition timely, specific, and conscientious, let's explore some creative ways you can recognize your employees in a remote work environment:

  • A handwritten note or email recognizing an employee for a specific achievement or valuable contribution
  • A tag on social media or in your internal communication platform like Slack recognizing the person's achievement 
  • If possible, set up automatic alerts within your internal communication platform that notify the team when a specific goal is accomplished 
  • Start each 1:1 meeting on a positive note by mentioning something that's going well in the employee's performance
  • Ask employees on a monthly or quarterly basis to share what they're most proud of accomplishing
  • Sponsor co-worker recognition effort where employees nominate others for special accomplishments or contributions 
  • Collect anonymous compliments from teammates and share in a card or short video (Note: If you choose to do this, make sure to do this for everyone on the team)
  • A personal note of appreciation from someone higher up in the employee's chain of command, such as a member of the C-suite
  • If budget allows, consider sending a care package to the employee's home office for special occasions like birthdays, work anniversaries, or onboarding

Employee recognition to boost morale and prevent burnout

The working world continues to present challenges and changes to our workforce at large. Managers that embrace the opportunity to be a positive force in the life of their employees will have a powerful impact on the morale of their team and go a long way in helping to prevent burnout. Be that positive force by setting aside a few minutes each day or each week to share some remote recognition with your team. 


This post was originally published on Glassdoor, one of the world's largest job posting and recruiting sites.

View Collection

Thank you!

You’ll receive our next newsletter when it becomes available.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the latest thought leadership from Ceridian
See the Ceridian Privacy Policy for more details.