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Employee recognition ideas for remote teams

1 Feb 2021 - Blog

10 Employee Recognition Ideas For Remote Teams

Friday 5th March 2021 is a chance to thank and recognise your employees for their energy and commitment through a challenging year. 64% of employees say that recognition and appreciation is more important to them when working from home. But what does ‘good’ employee appreciation look like? And what really matters to employees at the moment? We’ve gathered 10 impactful ways to show employees you care. 

Credit: HR Grapevine


  1. First: Build appreciation into business

We can’t underestimate the importance of the human ‘thank you’. Look at your employee lifecycle and assess when the key moments are to check in, surprise them and thank them for their hard work and effort. No, it’s not a new idea… but how many of us actually, consistently recognise employees in this way? Praising employees in team chats, recognising their work anniversary and writing thank-you notes are small acts that go a long way. Micro-gifting platform Huggg empowers managers to surprise their teams with small acts of kindness like a cup of coffee from their favourite shop, ‘lunch on me’ or cinema tickets – with all gifts shared via a text or email link.


  1. Prioritise learning and development opportunities

Development opportunities are frequently the item most correlated with employee engagement in our surveys. Employees want to find their work interesting and challenging so create a ‘Culture of Learning’ by offering lunchtime talks, access to online courses, collaboration with other teams and allowances towards qualifications. Your employees will feel fulfilled and motivated when they feel inspired in their role.


  1. Perks and rewards

Offer interesting rewards, based on what your employees want (not what you think they want). PPL overhauled their benefits package after only 43% of employees thought it compared favourably with other industry employers. New benefits include annual expense claims towards music and social activities, additional holiday days and extended access to health and life assurance policies. Overall engagement has improved considerably, with the belief that PPL benefits are good compared to other employers increasing by 18 points.


  • Find little ways to say thank you 

The last few months have seen shining examples of colleagues pulling together to help organisations come through the pandemic stronger. With awards nights off the cards, consider other ways of recognising employees for their hard work.

For example, Imperial College London hosted a Thank You day which included sending personalised cards from the President and Provost to 2,000 key workers. Other organisations have encouraged colleagues to nominate ‘Hidden Heroes’; used post-it notes to create a Wall of Praise thanking on-site workers; or hosted virtual events with video messages from leaders and colleagues that celebrate individuals.

Read more: 7 ideas to engage your employees during lockdown


  1. Build in your brand values

Reinforce your values to align employees with your brand. Cancer Research UK developed the ‘Our Heroes’ recognition scheme to show appreciation for employees displaying the organisation values. Winners are invited to a VIP party. Live streaming of the awards to all offices ensures everyone is involved. Follow up surveys have shown a 7% increase in employee recognition, with their Brand Beliefs embedded into the day-to-day business.

Read more: 7 tips to create a motivational employee experience strategy


  1. Crowdsource nominations for awards

Encourage teams to recognise and praise each other using a nomination system over email, your intranet or Team meetings. Treats and prizes for employees with the most nominations could include vouchers for a takeaway, additional holiday or a shout-out in team meetings or newsletters.

Credit: Pexels


  1. Knitting circles

Increasingly during the last year, people have looked for alternative experiences where they can learn new skills such as knitting, painting, cooking and jewellery making. Hosting virtual activities like these will have a minimal impact on your budget too; employees just need the chance to develop new skills and engage with each other.


  1. Look after employee wellbeing

With the growth of emotional and mental health awareness, it’s important to assess the risk of stress and burnout in your surveys. Flexible working, wellbeing support, massages and mindfulness training can all support employees.


  1. Trust your employees and show it

Give your employees the autonomy of where and how they work. 75% of employees would prefer flexible working, and millennials are most likely to look for flexibility when applying for jobs. Where possible, allow employees to work remotely and make sure they have the right tools to complete their work effectively. Ensure you achieve a balance between communicating through team chats and social activities and offering remote workers space to fulfil their role without guilt or pressure.


  1. Ask for feedback and then do something about it

Offer employees a platform for feedback by using People Insight’s employee surveys and 360 feedback services. Many employees don’t believe change will happen after a survey, so keep them updated with regular communication from your leaders, your managers and employee task-forces. Invite them to give further feedback and ideas at open offices and town halls too, to keep up momentum before the big changes are ready to be introduced.


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