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Remote Work is Here to Stay. What Does It Mean for Your Recognition Program?

Remote Work is Here to Stay

Many companies have already made notable strides in adapting to a streamlined remote-work model and built flexible strategies for the long run. We have carefully analyzed our path, as well as our partners and other companies who have openly shared their experiences.

Adjustments in the way managers communicate with employees and provide feedback are just as important as technical arrangements. Maintaining friendly and meaningful interactions between company employees is also vital.

This article is our take on the best practices for remote work management. If you’ve been looking for ideas and recommendations, we are happy to share the knowledge and expertise!

Don’t forget to show appreciation

According to the report published by Gartner in the last year, 74% of companies plan to shift to permanent remote work after the COVID pandemic. It will become a substantial part of HR practice due to the numerous benefits from financial and safety perspectives.

However, there are some inevitable pitfalls. For example, because of the nature of work in a home environment, employees often feel that they get mostly negative feedback, typically because aside from planned meetings, supervisors or managers only get in touch when something goes wrong. In a traditional workplace environment, this is not the case.

Moreover, people working remotely might become prone to negativity bias. When you pair it with psychological and physical stress brought on by consequences of the pandemic, there is a high chance that employees may overreact even to constructive criticism.

For example, an employee can misconstrue a message from a manager, and a simple request to amend something turns into “I think this isn’t the right job for you.” If such directives are formulated without regard for these nuances, all the while a manager is trying to help that employee improve and succeed, they instead think that their work is being unfairly or harshly judged. And this is understandable.

Tweaking a rewards and recognition program (or setting one), along with other activities that will help to adjust company culture to the new realities, helps companies overcome challenges of this kind.

Consider adding new metrics and KPIs

Remote Work is Here to Stay

Following SMART KPIs that evaluate working conditions, engagement, and outcomes is

highly beneficial for management, remote workers, and the company as a whole.

During lockdowns, there was a spike in interest in tools that measure the time employees spend working. It might not be that obvious, but the scope of their application is rather narrow.

The more employees’ work depends on their professionalism and creativity, the more harmful time tracking will be for employee-manager relationships (could be measured as Trust Index). Management by outcomes might be a way better option for most types of remote employee roles.

“I’m not so concerned about how much time is being spent on a project. I would rather have top-notch work that meets a deadline than think about how much time someone spent on it. The product that we deliver to the client is what is most important, not how much time each individual spent on making it happen.”

Shane Hebzynski, Founder of 3 Cats Labs Creative

While the exact set of KPIs to add in connection with the transition to remote work mode might differ from company to company, we’d like to highlight a few indicators we find particularly helpful.

  • Percentage of missed deadlines — might be a sign of a decline of employee engagement or unrealistic requirements;
  • Overtime per employee — helps to detect whether employees are working reasonable hours. High overtime signals that an employee needs coaching on time management or has an excessive workload. Watching this indicator is crucial to prevent burnout and decline in performance;
  • Requirements ambiguity — clarity of documentation and assignments. Messy requirements could significantly impact the length and quality of job fulfillment;
  • Extra-mile metric — shows how proactive is a worker when it comes to problem prevention and solving;
  • Quality of job fulfillment — dynamic in comparison to previous years, on the level of each employee;
  • Employee satisfaction rate — dynamic in comparison to previous years;
  • Employee turnover rate — dynamic in comparison to previous years;
  • Frequency and quality of feedback provided, whether it is actionable;
  • Tools and materials availability — it’s also important to show employees whom to address to solve issues of this type as quickly as possible.

Emphasize peer-to-peer recognition

A remote work environment has one significant downside – a significant decrease in informal, friendly interactions. This dilutes a sense of belonging, visibility, and connection, which inevitably leads to lower engagement.

It is vital to help employees maintain a sense of being a part of the team. Creating a virtual space where people can connect, share their success and stories, endorse each other for the great work is a great opportunity brought to us by the latest HR technologies.

Platforms like our WorkProud shape positive communication and stimulate colleagues to stay in touch and aware of each other’s achievements. Praises could be paired with gifts that make people feel even happier , which improves their engagement and overall emotional wellbeing.

Keep on celebrating employees’ success

Remote Work is Here to Stay

Celebrating employee accomplishments and work anniversaries could still be memorable in the remote work environment. With some creativity and proper recognition technology, you can provide an inspiring experience to each worker and a whole team.

A team can gather online or record videos with personal congratulations, send out nicely designed messages, or post a picture with an opportunity for other colleagues to join in comments to cheer the “star of the show.”

Having various options for awards that could be handed out remotely will help a company make them truly personalized and appropriate to an employee’s circumstances. Such awards can include paid time off, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, and a merchandise catalog with multiple reward choices.

Help employees maintain professional development

Opportunities for professional development and growth belong to one of the most valued perks for millennials and younger employees.

You can offer partially or fully subsidized online courses to build and hone their skills or launch your internal mentorship program.

Helping employees acquire new skills boosts motivation and provides skills that help them handle their tasks more efficiently. This is also important for the company because the business environment will become infinitely more competitive post-pandemic.

How WorkProud fits in

Remote Work is Here to Stay

A satisfactory work experience along with good relationships with coworkers positively influences employee engagement and a sense of fulfillment.

Transition to an online environment bears the risk of loosening attachments to the team. This is where leaders need to be mindful and shape a basic infrastructure that will help employees maintain relationships and enhance company culture.

Benefits of the platform include but is not limited to:

  • Customizable interface
  • Customizable point-based rewards catalog
  • Multiplatform app
  • Dynamic data displays
  • Scalability
  • Global deployment
  • Dedicated team of experts that ensures program success

Working with WorkProud means that your project is arranged by top industry talents with a proven track record in rewards and recognition. A dedicated team of experts focuses on helping you to achieve the program goals. To date, we’ve handled more than 450 projects with a 98% customer satisfaction rate.

Recognizing your employees’ skills and achievements is critical to drive engagement and build an inclusive workplace culture. Why not harness the state-of-art app for that purpose?

Frequently Asked Questions

Which remote employee appreciation gifts are a good choice?

Gift cards are one of the most flexible and easy-to-use options for remote employee recognition. However, you want to make sure that an employee can use the gifted card in a place they live.

How to engage remote workers?

Introduce a social recognition app where every employee can participate and share their experiences, stories, and achievements. Weekly meetings between managers and remote employees are also a great way to keep everybody on their toes.

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