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Top 10 Virtual Recognition Programs for Remote Workers

How to recognize home-based employees during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The current coronavirus crisis has seen an unprecedented shift to remote work, with organizations’ entire workforce having to “self-isolate” and do their jobs from home. But in a time like this, when the team is not together in the office, it is more critical than ever to recognize employees for their hard work — even if it can’t be done in person.

Fortunately, we have never had more available technology to expand the opportunities for awarding employees and peers with recognition and reward programs. The vast array of options at our fingertips are often integrated into one recognition portal or platform. Which of the following Top 10 Virtual Recognition Programs for Remote Workers do you have in place?

1. Manager-to-Employee Recognition

Beyond face-to-face opportunities to recognize staff, managers have online programs. These are tools to acknowledge staff and appreciate them for who they are and recognize them for what they do.

2. Peer-to-Peer Recognition

These online programs provide a simple way for everyone to express their appreciation for team members’ contributions and to the individuals who have made a difference in their work life. 

3. Performance-Management Programs

Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP
Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP

When people do exceptional work and move the dial on results, this merits a monetary or tangible reward along with recognition. Going above and beyond is the key indicator for getting rewarded.

4. Career-Milestone Awards Program

Longtime-service awards honor employee loyalty and celebrate service and contributions over time. Companies realize they also need to recognize earlier years before the first five years to retain younger employees.

5. Giving Points for Rewards

While cash was mostly the reward of the past, today's programs use points or gift cards to reward their employees. Carefully assign point values for specific criteria levels to ensure fairness and equity across rewards. 

6. Access to a Rewards Catalog

Those reward points add up and can be redeemed by employees for a desired gift items. Similar catalogs are used for service awards. Providing choice is the key element for effective rewards catalogs.

7. Social-Recognition Program and Newsfeed

Like Facebook behind your firewall, social-recognition programs create opportunities for peers to post recognition moments in a newsfeed. People add comments and like one another’s notes.

8. Sending Recognition E-Cards

Sending a special note to thank a colleague for their help, congratulate them on an achievement, or simply to express care and concern over a loss helps create important touchstones with employees.

9. Social Badges to Commend People

Like gaming and learning programs, badges motivate people to aspire to receive. Digital badges are given by peers and posted on online profiles or leaderboards, awarding people for living the company's values or achieving goals.

10. Recognition Programs to Provide Data

The benefit of all recognition programs is tracking. Data provides ways to measure the reach and effectiveness of award process. You then correlate recognition data with performance metrics to prove recognition ROI.

For more recognition ideas during these unconventional times, read Roy Saunderson's 10 Ways to Recognize Employees During and After the Covid-19 Pandemic.

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.