Employee Recognition & Rewards: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid For Remote Employees

by Gabby Davis Jul 6,2021

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

When some or all of your team is working remotely, proper communication is critical. Managers need to keep remote workforces engaged and happy now more than ever. Having a plan to recognize and reward your outstanding employees makes sure they feel satisfied doing their job. 

It takes more effort to be vocal about your praises or concerns in a remote setting than in a traditional face-to-face workspace . Whether your team is working from home temporarily or is from international time zones, managers must regularly acknowledge and recognize their work. OC Tanner conducted research that found 97% of employees who quit their jobs listed lack of appreciation as a major reason.  

Here are some common mistakes to avoid in order to keep your employees happy!

Also Read: 5 Benefits of Investing in Employee Recognition Software


DON’T WAIT until the next report to recognize employees when they do something outstanding. Call it out immediately. Avoid saving compliments to soften the blow of criticism, as keeping them separate is a better strategy. Be direct and specific about what you liked or how they helped. Not only will this help in making them feel recognized, it will reinforce these behaviors. 

If a customer praises an employee or their work, pass it along immediately. Daily micro-recognitions can help create a work culture of support. If leaders hold a habit of immediate praise, it will spread to all levels of the organization and make a welcoming work environment. Familiarize your employees with peer-to-peer recognition so as to help achieve positive 360 degree feedback.


Employee recognition should be consistent, but not automated. A short and genuine “Thank You” email or text will be more impactful than an automated, cookie-cutter recognition email. If your praise feels forced or hollow, they won’t feel value in their work. A common mistake many managers make is they have generic rewards. Instead, employee rewards and recognition should be tailored appropriately. 

Also Read: How to Support Mental Health of Your Remote Team

When you praise someone, specifically point out how they have improved. It’s also a good idea to praise them for personal achievements outside of work too. Without office small talk to mention personal praises, it is worth having a way to informally keep in touch with employees achievements. Congratulate your employees for buying their first home. Congratulate them on earning their MBA. Throw a virtual baby shower.


Many managers don’t know how to reward their employees virtually. It was so easy in-person. You could just give them a gift card, or buy them lunch. While some of the traditional reward and recognition practices are not possible any more. But, you can still do a lot of those things with remote employees. You can email restaurant gift cards or movie ticket passes as small rewards for a good job. An Amazon digital gift card is a safe gift for anyone. 

Lets not forget about  Employee Appreciation day. Have a themed dress up day, or change your zoom background. Take advantage of the virtual setting and play games with everyone! Make a Kahoot with creative icebreakers for fun team bonding. Instead of a catered lunch, use a delivery service like Doordash, Grubhub, or Postmates to deliver a meal from a restaurant nearby straight to your employees home.


Many managers associate giving an employee reward and recognition when they hit a goal or milestone. There are a lot more behaviors that deserve recognition, such as effort, honesty, dependability, ambition, innovation, professionalism, or problem-solving skills. These qualities aren’t as easy to measure as tracking performance towards a specific goal. Especially in the remote workspace, managers need to take extra effort to recognize when an employee shows these values. 

One important employee measurement to consider besides performance is time management. Time management can help you see what positions are overloaded or are underutilized. Goals for different team members will need to be adjusted based on who is and isn’t making deadlines. To be the most effective, tools like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp

Talk to employees about more than just their results, but ask them about their overall process. Did they run into any problems? If they worked with other team members for a project, get feedback about how they worked together. It will take more investigation, but making sure virtual workers are recognized and rewarded for more than just hitting goals will make them feel more valued. 

Want to know how Engagedly can make your remote employee recognition programs easy? Request for a demo from our experts.

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Gabby Davis

Gabby Davis is the Lead Trainer for the US Division of the Customer Experience Team. She develops and implements processes and collaterals related to the client onboarding experience and guides clients across all tiers through the initial implementation of Engagedly as well as Mentoring Complete. She is passionate about delivering stellar client experiences and ensuring high adoption rates of the Engagedly product through engaging and impactful training and onboarding.

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