Keep Employee Engagement Up with Meaningful Recognition & Rewards During Covid-19:

9 Low-Cost, Remote-Friendly Workplace Recognition Ideas to Stay Connected

Organizations have taken big hits this year. Creativity, resilience, and crisis management have kept many afloat, and even others thriving. Behind every success is something quite powerful: collaborators who figured out how to work virtually, manage to care for children or elderly parents, met and even exceeded expectations, all the while being thrust into a new way of thinking about the organization’s value proposal, reaching customers, and continually providing quality services or products.

This deserves recognition.

Naturally, the budget has been cut (practically depleted in some cases), but finding low-cost, remote-friendly workplace rewards is more crucial now than ever. Meaningful recognition goes a long way, and we’re not just talking a pat on the back and “Good job.”

We’d argue that in a moment that we’re inundated with bad news every single day, recognition, kindness, and humanity is more essential to your organization than ever. Now is the time to cultivate gratitude, and this can be challenging.

Showing gratitude builds community – across distances, departments, and throughout the organization.

How can you celebrate the work of your collaborators, and, in turn, encourage them to do the same with one another?

1. Say thank you AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Be specific and LOUD. Make your gratitude known and meaningful. Send out an e-mail gratitude blast, highlighting the efforts and successes of specific collaborators. Don’t overlook anybody, as everybody’s job is essential, or it simply wouldn’t exist. Recognizing people’s work adds value to anyone’s life.

2. Photos and videos are a great way to personalize someone’s efforts. Get co-workers “in on it” to gather photos to create recognition videos. An easy stitch editing software can make this something anyone can do. Have a bulletin board or forum for collaborators, front line managers, senior leaders, and others share their gratitude videos.

3. Tie recognition to impact. If someone found a more inexpensive streamlining software, cell phone plan etc. saving the organization thousands of dollars; if someone’s efforts helped a team member; if someone simply made others feel better – all of these possibilities are valid and should be recognized.

4. Ask how? How do collaborators want to be recognized? Try the virtual suggestion box (free) to get feedback on the best ways to recognize and reward your teams.

5. Remember snail mail? Hand-write thank you cards to collaborators. Or, if sending a small gift, hand write the thank you note. A little attention to detail goes a long way.

6. Treat someone. Deliver a collaborator lunch from a local restaurant, fresh-baked cookies or muffins from a local bakery, or a fruit basket. This is a great, low-cost way to celebrate a successful project, birthdays, or employee success stories. Work with HR on a budget to spread the joy as much as possible. A little can go a long way.

7. Use everyone’s talents. Consider hosting an acts-of-service auction, where people auction off unique strengths (eg. graphic design exchanged for someone helping with a tricky budget) etc. What a great way to get people working together across departments.

8. CEO Informal Chats: It’s not uncommon for collaborators to feel disconnected from CEOs; moreso, during this strange time. Why not host backyard chats where employees can connect and ask questions about the organization, new processes, and anything else that might be on their minds? This recognizes your employees’ needs to stay connected and in-the-know. It also humanizes the workplace.

9. Wellness first. Remote work has been extremely hard for some. Wellness – physical and mental – must be an organization’s priority. Consider giving wellness stipends for collaborators to use for online Yoga classes, therapy sessions, or any number of other activities that can boost your collaborators’ well-being.

Right now is a great time to take pause and answer this question, “How are you rewarding and recognizing your employees?” Be creative. Be resourceful. Be authentic. A little kindness and gratitude can go a long way. And the best part is, it’s contagious.

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