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10 Ways to Recognize Employees During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

How to motivate your remote team during these stressful times.

Meaningful recognition is more important then ever, with employees working remotely and COVID-19 restrictions in force. Following are 10 t1ps for acknowledging and valuing your team members and their work now and after the pandemic. 

1.  Show more care and concern

Show your staff care and concern. Now is the time to drill down and ask them about their financial, physical and emotional well-being. Some people are dealing with serious issues right now. 

2.  Walk and talk

If your local jurisdiction permits it, go out for a walk (following proper guidelines, e.g. wearing a mask) and call employees from your mobile phone. Some people have a hard time being alone right now, so reach out and connect with them while taking some important exercise yourself.

3.  Create an online employee community

Set up a social recognition program or an online bulletin board for employees to express what they're grateful for. Each person can share a "success of the week." For some people, coworkers are the only "community" they belong to.

4.  Share positive news

Roy Saunderson
Roy Saunderson

Share positive stories on the company and industry organization with your team to boost their spirits. Some people are not feeling very happy right now.

5.  Honor people along their work journey

People are pulling out all the stops with creativity, new ideas, and getting the work done. Take time to appreciate them for who they are and recognize what they do. Some people's work has drastically changed or diminished.

6.  Be mindful of the stages of grief

Staff may go through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance when their workplace implements changes and job cuts. Some people will experience survivor's grief if still working. Acknowledge their emotions.

7.  Offer support to worried staff

Many of your employees know someone with COVID-19 or have family dealing with serious health issues. Make sure your employee assistance program and/or counselors are available to staff.  

8.  Add cheer to your meetings 

Are your Zoom meetings feeling rote right now? Liven them up with an upbeat chant or cheer at the beginning or end of the session.

9.  Make time for recognition

With many new and additional tasks on your plate, it's easy to neglect employee recognition. Make it a priority to schedule time each day to give thanks and praise to a member of your team, via an online recognition program, personal call or a handwritten note.

10. Hold virtual celebrations 

The show must go on and you should continue to mark achievements and milestones in these stressful times. With the pandemic preventing live events, get creative: organize online virtual celebrations, with special goodies and gifts delivered to people's homes, so everyone can participate.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is the author of Practicing Recognition. He is also a recognition strategist and the Chief Learning Officer at Rideau Inc. Saunderson provides consulting, learning and thought-leadership services, focused on helping leaders and managers give real recognition the right way. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter and at his AuthenticRecognition.com blog.