Employee recognition – a critical component of the employee experience – can keep employees engaged and connected to your company, especially during crises like the current Covid-19 pandemic. While company culture is often thought to be physically created in a building, a break room or at an event, it’s actually a mindset that can be achieved through intent and actions.
Companies are now discovering the need to reinforce their culture outside of their physical boundaries to create stronger emotional connections with their virtual workforce. Here are three strategies to help you deliver recognition, strengthen bonds with employees and reinforce the values of your culture within a virtual work environment:
Hold Virtual Events
There are numerous types of virtual events you can hold to unite your team and appeal to a multigenerational workforce:
- Exercise classes or meditation moments are good for the body and soul, and reinforce health and wellness
- Creativity can be expressed through craft sessions and Spirit Day
- Contests using trivia, games or puzzles flex our brain muscle while appealing to our competitive nature
- Themed events like Murder Mystery fascinates those eager to problem solve
Communicate with Transparency
Communicating openly and honestly with your employees builds trust and demonstrates your commitment to sharing and welcoming feedback. When transparency is added to the corporate culture, employees are more engaged and committed to the vision of the company.
Here are a few strategies to build transparency within your organization:
- Be available: host ‘office hours’ like college professors to show employees your door is open
- Be vulnerable: transparency invites someone to stand at your doorway, vulnerability invites them into your space
- Listen and share: employ active listening and be authentic
- Encourage contributions: solicit feedback from everyone, emphasize that you value input from everyone, no matter the source
- Provide emotional support: get to know your people personally, find out what is important to them
According to research conducted by Ernst & Young's Coqual (formerly the Center for Talent Innovation), “39% of respondents feel the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues check in with them, both personally and professionally.” Furthermore, “when people feel like they belong at work, they are more productive, motivated, engaged and 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their fullest potential.”
When people feel like they belong at work, they are 3x more likely to fully contribute
Weave in Recognition
Recognition is one of the most basic expectations at work and in life. According to Glassdoor’s Employee Appreciation Survey, 68% of employees say their boss shows them enough appreciation; however, more than half (53%) of employees admit they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss.
We can use recognition as the fuel that keeps our employees motivated, makes them want to work harder and feel connected to others. Here are a few employee engagement activities that will help make recognition a habit in your workplace:
- Start each meeting with a ‘shout-out’ and celebrate the small wins
- Encourage the use of peer-to-peer recognition to acknowledge life events, personal and professional accomplishments
- Send emails to privately send messages and quick pick-me-ups, anytime
- Create recognition moments; share those stories during town halls of behaviors displayed in support of your core values
- Buy a stamp and send a card to the employee’s home
- Send visual culture reinforcement swag to employees’ homes
Employees that don't feel recognized are almost twice as likely to be job hunting. According to a recent survey conducted by TinyPulse, 24% of employees who had not received recognition from their direct supervisor in the past two weeks had recently interviewed for another position, compared to just 13% who had received recognition. “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person, not just an employee, are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability” (Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox).
The bottom line: continuing to recognize your employees while they are working remotely creates stronger connections, builds loyalty and increases profitability. It’s that simple.