Engagedly Developing Culture in the Remote Workforce

COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions have forced a lot of companies to take their entire workforce almost entirely online – focussing much more on work from home than coming to the office and spending their day in a cubicle. In the absence of a personal touch and most business being conducted through Zoom, it becomes slightly difficult to build a developed business culture for a remote workforce, but not impossible. In this article, we discuss several performance management tools that can help you do so. 

Performance Management – Why Do We Need It? 

For teams that did not work from home or remotely in the past, the sudden shift to a WFH culture can be quite overwhelming. Different people react differently to such changes: while some employees might actually thrive in this environment and become more productive because of the lack of distractions (you’re not bumping into someone every 15 minutes at the water cooler), others might find themselves burnt out. 

Working from home also brings with it a lack of personal connection – for those whose jobs revolve around interacting with people, productivity might take a hit. Additionally, people often feel the need to overcompensate for how long they’re working – they’re so desperate to be seen as someone who’s not slacking off that it often leads to them overworking and suffering from fatigue. 

Also read: How to promote employee wellbeing at workplace?

Employee Engagement – Things That Work

Organizations have taken to adopting a variety of mechanisms to ensure that even in the virtual world, their workforce can still enjoy a high level of engagement. One such idea is the Swedish custom of Fika – daily meetings where people take 15-20 minutes out of their day to sit with the rest of the team and drink coffee while talking about anything outside of work. It could be Netflix shows that they might have seen to their vacation plans – it allows them to destress for a while before getting back to work.

Another idea is the use of virtual pubs across different time zones – this can be a wonderful place for employees to hangout and interact with different team members. Additionally, it can allow for the humanization of management in the eyes of the employees, leading to more close-knit and collaborative teams within the organization. 

Working across Time Zones – Find the Rhythm 

Most organizations work across a variety of different time zones, and in such cases, finding the right organizational rhythm can be quite challenging – especially when working from home. Different cultures can have their personal lives structured differently – maybe a single parent can’t take meetings during lunch because they have to feed their family, or maybe their sleep cycle has changed. 

In such cases, communication becomes the key – and it can ensure that no one is overworking. By letting others in the team know what time slots employees are and aren’t available in, they can ensure that meetings can be set according to their convenience. This responsibility also falls on the shoulders of the managers, who have to ensure that meetings are being held in a way that does not interfere with the personal work rhythms of the employees. 

Collaborative Tools and Performance Management 

Because of the shift towards remote working, organizations have also seen an increase in their demand for tools that can allow them to manage everything more effectively. For example, most companies use Slack for their internal messaging needs, often relying on platforms like Zoom or WebEx for meeting needs. A particularly interesting step that organizations sometimes take is having a “camera-in” policy in their meetings. Under this, unless an employee has a specific reason for not wanting their camera on, they are encouraged to turn their camera on in meetings, which allows for greater personalization. 

Besides this, other tools can also be used. For example, organizations can use tools like Trello, Asana, or some other Monday alternative for their project management., and GSuite products like GDocs and Sheets for sharing documents across the firm. 

Also read: Performance Management Tools And Techniques To Drive Employee Engagement

The Future of WFH – Balancing Tech With Employee Engagement

It is hard to say when organizations will confidently choose to go back to working from office, and how employees would react to that. A school of thought is that the WFH culture would become much more prominent, leading to a healthy balance of technology and human interactions. 

What some firms have already done is allow employees to work from home almost the entire week, and have one day where they have to come into the office. However, this day is then reserved for tasks that are best done in person, such as white boarding or brainstorming. Such organizations then see the future of the office as being more of a social environment than a place where people sit and work in isolation. 

Employee Recognition in the WFH Culture 

Employee recognition is a major part of how organizations ensure that their workforce is motivated and feels valued – and it can significantly impact employee morale. In the WFH era, employee recognition also becomes more challenging, since you cannot really have conferences where you recognize impressive achievements made by employees. 

Therefore, a better solution has to be found. One thing that has been done recently is to make it more of a personal event for the employees than a professional one – for example, hiring an Animal Farm to take the office around a farm (virtually) and show them all the different animals, and then using this opportunity to applaud and recognize employees in front of their families and friends instead of simply their peers. 

Want to know how Engagedly can help enhance your remote workforce? Book a live demo with us.

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How to create an employee recognition program that works?

Acknowledging an employee’s achievements can have an excellent impact on return on investments. Not only it improves productivity levels, but also boosts business outcomes. This itself is a good reason for organizations to focus on employee recognition program.

But it is a tedious process and not a one day activity. An organization needs to plan for the right and effective programs and recognition ideas in order to achieve the best possible outcome. Effective recognition strategies can help enhance engagement levels and boost employee morale. Before we look into tips to create employee recognition programs, let us understand more about employee recognition.

Also read: Creating a Performance Based Culture in Your Organization

What is employee recognition? 

An employee  recognition program is mainly about acknowledging the dedication and effort an employee puts in as an individual or as a team member. Based on this, one’s contribution to the organization gets evaluated and an employee gets suitably rewarded, which consequently helps to build a motivated workforce for the company. This involves establishing an emotional connection between employee and company, supporting their work and contribution towards the company as long as they maintain the company’s standards. The idea behind an employee recognition program is to make the employee feel that they are valued in the organization.  

Why are employee recognition programs important?

The employee recognition initiatives should have that spark and element of surprise to appreciate the contribution of employees and talk about their subjective behavioral approach. Intangible reward and recognition programs create a lasting impression on an employee and to create memories better than monetary benefits. It drives in value and impacts on company culture, with better employee engagement. 

What are the benefits of recognition programs?

The more satisfied an employee feels, the higher his performance would be, which impacts productivity. Increase the positive mindset among workers and encourage them to notice each other’s accomplishments. It improves work culture, contributing to the success of the organization and promotes a healthy work environment. Other than that, it is a key component in building a successful team. 

  • Boosts Morale 

A well-thought employee appreciation program is sure to boost employee morale, especially after difficult times. Recognizing an employee’s contribution at any point in time is advantageous for the company. It motivates them to put in their best. 

  • Higher engagement 

Engagement states the emotional commitment of an employee with organization and dedication to achieve goals. When an employee feels valued at work, it will increase desire to go the extra mile for the company and accomplish his mission, boosting the engagement level with the company. 

  • Helps Perpetuate Company Culture 

Employee recognition program helps perpetuate a positive work culture. New talent value workplaces which focus on culture along with the financial benefits. A culture of rewards and recognition creates a culture where employees are valued for their hard work.

  • Lowers turnover 

Bad bosses are often the reason for employees to leave a team or company. This potentially impacts overall turnover, which can be rectified by working on employee manager relationships. Employee recognition initiatives can revive the lost spark with appreciation and communication. It is certain to help the employee decide on staying.

Also read: 5 Best Tips To Reduce Employee Turnover

How are rewards and recognition different?

Tangible rewards with financial value are more appreciated by employees, however, money alone cannot make up for a memorable company recognition program. Intangible rewards are also appreciated in organization, and turns out to be a memorable moment. To make it significant, adding cash rewards can help. 

According to study, ‘Getting beyond Money’ it is praiseworthy to note that rewards and recognition from managers motivate and work wonders. An organization has to think creatively to appreciate employee’s hard work and plan for recognition or reward programs, adding monetary benefits to it. The main reason for investment is to get a good ROI initiative. 

How to plan for employee recognition programs?

Employee recognition initiatives should be impactful, engaging and ultimately help in improving retention. This would help employees to connect with rewards, knowing their personal contribution and the value it brings to the company.  

  • Have a standard framework for rewards and recognition approved by the leaders
  • Try to plan for the employee recognition program on a consistent and regular basis to keep up employees’ motivation 
  • Employees should know the criterion for recognition and rewards    
  • Don’t settle on a one size fits all approach

10 Employee recognition program ideas

Some innovative employee appreciation programs can make your employees feel loved and cherished for the work they have done for your organization. 

  • Spot bonus

When an individual meets goals, do something admirable on the spot, beyond what they could imagine. It is to appreciate their effort, with something more than just words of praise. This is where a spot bonus works the best. It is a great option to appreciate and encourage teams for their collaborative approach, and it especially means a lot for a distributed team.  

  • Employee care package 

Reward employees with a suitable care package filled with items that show how much the organization cares for them. It should include gifts, certificates, notes, wholesome snacks, games, and others. The items should be carefully selected and lovingly arranged to deliver an impact which turns out to be bigger than any other gift. You can also prepare packages to be sent to employees via logistics service and get customized ones that suit your requirements. This makes it a lot easier to prepare for a care package and will have a great impact on recognition of employees. 

  • Peer-to-peer appreciation

Recognition from leaders is as important as from colleagues and peer-to-peer recognition and works as the key to engagement and retaining it, impacting on a positive work culture. Make peer-to-peer recognition an easy thing to encourage with Engagedly’s recognition and rewards tool. Give badges and value points to drive in attention, and appreciate hard work in the best way possible. Encourage employees to appreciate any instance of positive contribution.  

Also read: A Guide To Share Effective Peer Feedback
  • Give Surprise Leave 

Given the present situation, work from home is not an easy thing to do. With extended work time boundaries, work-life balance can be challenging. However, when it is time for employee recognition in such situations, giving a surprise day off is the best thing you can do to appreciate one’s hard work. The benefits enjoyed by this make it one of the best virtual recognition ideas to value an employee.  

  • Performer’s HAT

A performer’s HAT, or a badge, can be gifted to top employee performers and show them respect and value. It is a proud moment for the achiever and other employees will feel motivated to get the HAT in future. 

  • Give a shout-out

Given the present virtual mode of work, shout-outs on social platforms can be impactful. Try to send the note written in heartfelt words, and it is a super effective way to recognize employees. The congratulatory announcement should have elements of surprise, making the employee or the team happy and they are grateful to the company for recognition of their victory. 

Also read: Tips To Manage Stress Of Your Remote Team
  • Digital recognition works

In-house recognition is definitely special, but digital recognition can also do wonders. Technology helps you recognize an employee’s hard work in such a way that customers also get to know about the achievement. 

Other than having leaders’ names on company websites, including a section to mention names of top performers, showcasing their achievement is good to recognize them. This is a great option of digital recognition that acts as a powerful motivator for an employee. 

  • Virtual wall of fame 

It increases the chance of social recognition of an employee by publishing rewards for the employee. Try to create a live feed section where employees and colleagues can post about success stories of achievement and congratulate each other virtually. Social participation through likes and comments will make the recognition worth it. 

  • Help Setup Employees Workspace

It is both a fun filled and practical approach to celebrate victory and value them for employees. Try to get something for a workspace and it is a daily reminder of how much they are valued and appreciated for hard work. To boost up the overall sentimental effect of gifting the person, try customized options. 

  • Take advantage of employee recognition platform

Incorporating Engagedly’s recognition platform is an excellent way to practice recognition in the workplace. A good platform makes social recognition smooth and it can become fun and hassle-free with these mobile friendly platform options. Try to showcase the recognition in such a way that it highlights the positive behavior of the employee. It can boost the result by allowing employees to add and contribute to colleague’s recognition for better appreciation. 

How creative feedback can motivate employees?

If you have received it once, you must know its magic and how it can work wonders on an employee. Try to give feedback publicly as it is a great motivator for employees and helps them earn confidence in what they have succeeded and achieved for the company. A creative and consistent feedback to employees will help them know where they actually stand and where they should improve. 

Besides, it gives direction to a team to understand how much they have progressed towards their goal. It can encourage an employee, motivate him and help him identify his strengths better. Focusing on result-oriented feedback can develop better connections and thus, a good choice for recognition program ideas. 

Also read: Continuous Feedback: What Is It And Its Benefits

How can rewards be a part of an employee recognition program?

One should understand the value of rewards for encouraging employee motivation. Rewards, more than monetary benefits, can drive people to contribute more and get effective results from recognition programs. As rewards are directly connected to productivity and achieving goals, it spurs one to dedicate effectively and try to be productive. People will be happy to work hard when they get appreciation via excellent recognition plans, and study states the same. It also results in high morale. And a happy employee will maintain the productivity level and put in more dedication to achieve success at work. 

List of reward programs for employees 

1. Custom made option 

Standard rewards are good to appreciate, but customized rewards have a higher chance to motivate. It can be something of specific interest to the employee and the HR team has to keep a close watch on every individual in the team and reward accordingly. 

2. Creative reward 

Creative approach to appreciate efforts and hard work always creates lasting impressions and keeps one motivated. A creative way to reward is to show the caricature of an employee’s achievement and mood.  

3. Monetary incentive 

Monetary incentive is always a lucrative option and boosts employment engagement greatly. A well thought incentive program can boost performance level to a great extent. If an employee helps increase the sales funnel or cut on expenditure, part of the benefit should be shared with the performer. This incentive program should be like rewarding the contribution of the person who will be motivated to perform well and drive in future goals for the company. 

4. Development and learning event 

Encourage and arrange for scopes of learning and development events for employees as part of reward programs. If they are part of an online developmental course, it will motivate them and can become a competent person, contributing positively to the company. However, this motivates the employees to take up bigger responsibilities for the good of the company.  

5. Personalized gifts and gift cards 

 As rewards can have lasting and personal impressions, a custom-made gift item or card can be the best option. In this virtual organization setup, gift cards are sure to work the best. They will have the option to encash it from their favorite ecommerce site. 

Also read: Employee Burnout: What You Need To Know About It

Therefore, rewards and recognition are an excellent approach on part of HR’s strategy and boost the organization’s culture. An employee’s motivation and interest will make him dedicated to work. Given the present work mode and culture, this emerges as an effective tool and helps with enhanced participation, increases motivation, helps improve team efficacy and helps organizations to foster a better work culture. 

Learn how Engagedly can help you implement employee recognition programs in your organization by requesting  a demo with us.

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Employee Experience: Show Your Employees You Care

Researches show a clear link between rewards and recognition and employee retention. A survey by Achievers brought to light some alarming results. 55% of 1700 respondents were planning to switch jobs. When probed deeper, the number one reason for it was lack of recognition. A much as 69% of these employees went on to mention that a more thoughtful reward and recognition program would inspire them to stay on. This was in 2018.

In 2021, the situation does not appear to be any better. There is not a soul unaffected by everything that has been paining our world in the past couple of years. Despite such a tough environment, employees are constantly striving to maintain balance and deliver. So as an employer, a ‘Thank You’ is the least you can give to your employees.

If you wish to make sure your high performing workers continue to deliver and remain in your organization, here are some things you can practice:

Work Life Balance:

Now that most employees are working from home, screen time has soured throughout the global population. They overwork without even realizing it. This leaves most employees stressed and exhausted, which ultimately affects their productivity. With the workplace constantly intruding into personal space, they get less time to spend with their families. Result? Employee burnout. Gallup, in their recent research, highlights that employees who report burnout are 2.6 times more likely to look for a new job.

Employees should know when to switch-off, and organizations must understand the importance of work-life balance. Having a work-life balance is as important as having a good salary, job satisfaction, security, employee benefits and perks, etc.

Also Read: Embracing Hybrid Work Culture In 2021

Mental Health for Employees: 

As per the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey for Americans between ages 15 to 54, 18% of employed individuals experienced symptoms of mental health issues.

Often times, while discussing workplace issues, many articles or surveys highlight bullying, poor managers, workplace biases, and work-life balance. But mental health is repeatedly overlooked. It’s a very serious issue that needs to be given importance like any other.

Working from home has allowed employees to work from anywhere and work flexibly. However, it has led to other issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and isolation. As a manager or an HR, you can’t always act as a therapist or a shrink, but you can take a series of steps to ensure that your employees are doing well.

  • Informal conversations to understand how they are doing
  • Conduct anonymous surveys
  • Equal importance to mental health, like physical health
  • Train employees to identify their mental health issues 
  • Online therapy and counseling sessions as a part of employee benefits and perks
  • Encourage everyone to speak up

Necessary Physical Fitness: 

The perfect alignment of mind, body and soul makes for a balanced human being. So physical wellbeing, as we have mentioned earlier, is as important as mental stability. When employees were working out of the office, they had access to ergonomically designed workstations, gyms, healthy eating options, etc. But with work from home, many of us have the habit of working from the couch or bed. There is no fixed routine for work or breaks. It leads to obesity and fatigue, which ultimately affects the productivity of the employee.

Here are a few things which you can do to ensure your employees’ physical wellbeing:

  • Set up their remote workspaces
  • Conduct exercise and yoga sessions online and encourage your employees to take part
  • Gift your employees’ smart bands to track their steps
  • Offer incentives to your employees for calories burnt
Also Read: Employee Burnout: What You Need To Know About It

Communicate Often:

In the global workspace, which is mostly remote, employees feel disconnected and isolated from their teammates and the organization because of a lack of communication. So, with a sturdy communication process in place, employees feel connected and valued. Have a one-on-one connect with your team members, or encourage them to share their concerns in team meetings. Let them know you are there to help them out if they face any difficulty working remotely. Encourage your employees to block time for virtual water cooler breaks so that they can have a casual discussion with their colleagues. Additionally, ensure that they have the tools and software required to make communication and collaboration easy. Some of the most commonly used tools are:

  • Engagedly for real-time performance management, feedback, rewards, and gamification
  • Slack, Google Meet, and Skype for communication and easy collaboration
  • Asana, Basecamp, and Trello for Project Management

Your workers are your assets! So a good employee recognition program is beyond necessary for your organization. Have you started taking care of them yet?


Do you want to know how Engagedly can help you with employee recognition and employee retention? Then request for a live demo.

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