How HR Can Leverage Employee Recognition & Rescue Morale

We don’t need to tell you why it’s tougher than normal to support employee morale right now. All of the expected challenges attached to the task remain, but now they’re complicated by the world’s response to COVID-19. In the current climate, team building activities and in-office perks, normally use to keep spirits high, are likely neither feasible nor sufficient. The world is re-opening, which means positive change is on the horizon, but it won’t happen overnight. 

Employee Recognition

With much of the workforce collaborating as they work from home  (many for the first time), one of the few tools HR leaders are left with to keep team morale high is their company’s employee recognition programs. These programs allow colleagues to give each other notes of appreciation. Also, depending on the program, they can add points and via a public social feed, other employees can read, like, and comment on their colleagues’ positive exchanges. The practice is a simple but powerful one. Employee tools for recognition allow teams to stay connected from afar. When used effectively, are inclusive, engaging opportunities to improve morale. Given that positive employee morale is correlated with productivity and negatively correlated with high turnover, the issue certainly warrants leaders’ attention.

Here are 5 strategies to leverage your employee recognition program & rescue company morale.

Employee Recognition Ideas – Encourage Your Team to Max Out Giving

One common barrier to high-frequency recognition is the concern that an occasion is not significant enough to warrant the use of the program. Let your employees know that in the current circumstances with many teams newly distributed, they are encouraged to utilize the platform as much as they possibly can. You should especially emphasize the importance of having managers and senior executives lead by example.

To take it one step further, you might even implement a recognition challenge where the highest-frequency recognizer receives their own, company-sponsored recognition for excellent participation. Now, how’s that for some solid employee recognition ideas. 

Ideas for Employee Recognition – Create New Recognition Occasions

If you already have an employee recognition program in place, chances are you’ve set up custom recognition occasions to let employees know the high-level behaviors and objectives they should celebrate one another for. Having thoughtful recognition occasions in place is a best practice for any successful program. And, if your company’s priorities remain the same there’s no reason to take away existing occasions. However, adding one or two new occasions to the mix is an easy way to re-energize your program.

Some of the best ideas for employee recognition include the option to offer custom recognition occasions specific to remote work or incorporating a more light-hearted one purely as a way to drive up morale. Maybe some of your team members really deserve recognition for the quirky creativity they show with video conference backgrounds. Whatever it is, the change will be exciting for employees and can help keep the program from feeling stagnant.

The Best Employee Recognition Programs Incorporate Relevant Rewards

Words of praise mean a lot, but words of praise accompanied by a tangible reward mean that much more. With that in mind, another great way to maximize the impact of your worker’s recognition program is to incorporate redeemable points that can be cashed in for a reward of the recipient’s choosing.

Most modern employee recognition platforms enable this kind of rewards system. If yours does, revisit your catalog of offers and perks to ensure they are still valuable given the current stay-at-home orders. At-home workout subscriptions, meal delivery services, and other things that can be enjoyed from the safety of home are all great options.

Encourage Peers to Pile on the Praise – One of the Best Employee Recognition Examples

If employees echo one another’s words of praise, the impact of your program is amplified that much more. When this happens, the recipient receives a kind message from the original person who sent them a recognition. They also get to hear that many of their fellow team members also appreciate their efforts. Encourage employees to use their voices and participate by liking and commenting on the recognitions that appear in the public company social feed. 

Host a Virtual Recognition Event – The Employee Recognition Awards Night

Finally, morale-boosting as reading through an employee recognition feed can be, isn’t always enough. Sometimes, there’s nothing like having real-time interactions with your fellow team members. To seal in the culture of regular recognition that you’re trying to cultivate, consider organizing a virtual employee recognition awards ceremony where you call out team members who have made laudable contributions to the company.  An award can be given out to every member who displays excellence.

Who Doesn’t Love Employee Recognition Gifts?

Your employees will be praising you just as much as you’re praising them when you give them a recognition gift.  Hosting an awards ceremony, centered around staff recognition is not only is a fantastic opportunity to let your team know their efforts are seen and appreciated. Also, it is a social event that people can look forward to as a chance to connect with their peers.

Although it can be difficult to conceptualize, culture does still exist virtually, and the best leaders are constantly seeking new ways to support it. You can use your employee recognition program to help virtual company culture feel more tangible.

When employees log onto their laptops for another day of isolated remote work, they’ll know that they’re entering a virtual environment where team members see and celebrate their contributions. It’s this kind of environment where employee morale — and consequently, the company objectives it helps support — can truly thrive.

Support Your Employees by Streamlining Your HR.

Written by: Katerina Mery

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