In a working environment marked with uncertainty, stress and burnout, employee recognition is an increasingly important part of being a good manager. But how do you make sure everyone on your team feels appreciated when you're just trying to get by yourself?
It's an important question to ask, as employee recognition can have a powerful impact on retention and loyalty. In fact, one Gallup poll showed that when employees don't feel recognized, they're two times as likely to quit within the next year.
In another survey from Psychometrics, 58% of employees surveyed indicated that being recognized would improve their engagement at work.
As it turns out employee recognition is something you can easily work into your habits as a manager — even on a remote team. It doesn't necessary require a big budget, extra hours, or even extra effort to layer in moments of surprise and delight for your hard-working employees — it just takes a little planning.
First, let's set some ground rules. Recognition doesn't need to be expensive or flashy to have a positive impact on employees. However, if you want it to be effective, it needs to meet the following three criteria:
There's no wrong time to show employee appreciation. But your words will have more impact if they occur within a short time period after the actual event, such as showing initiative to take on a difficult project. Get into the habit of recognizing and acknowledging positive actions or results within a few hours of the event instead of saving them for the next meeting.
Generic recognition feels good, but it feels even better to know exactly how you've helped someone. The same goes for employees, who will be much more likely to repeat the desired behavior if you explain how their work has helped or contributed to the team.
Individual people have different comfort levels with praise — some welcome it in public, while some would rather not receive the attention, even if it's positive. As you practice giving more recognition, pay attention to signs that an employee might want to be recognized privately or in front of their group of peers. Better yet, check in with each employee at your next private meeting to ask their preference.
It doesn't require extra effort from you to share your positive feedback publicly or privately, but it will go a long way to making the employee feel comfortable and appreciated in their preferred manner if you ask.
With ground rules in place to make your recognition timely, specific, and conscientious, let's explore some creative ways you can recognize your employees in a remote work environment:
The working world continues to present challenges and changes to our workforce at large. Managers that embrace the opportunity to be a positive force in the life of their employees will have a powerful impact on the morale of their team and go a long way in helping to prevent burnout. Be that positive force by setting aside a few minutes each day or each week to share some remote recognition with your team.