Image by Sarah Reid
Your remote staff need the same level of morale boosting as your onsite employees. However, this doesn’t mean that what works with the latter will do the same for the former. A tailored remote employee recognition program can help you make sure your remote teams stay productive and on your side.
Lack of physical presence is no excuse
Remote staff can easily feel detached from your company if you don’t play your cards right. Patty Azzarello, founder of the Azzarello Group, says "invisibility makes remote staff feel isolated and powerless." Lack of presence can make employees thinking they “disappear from thought, lose opportunities, and lose chances to influence outcomes." These are thoughts you have to make sure never cross your remote team's minds.
Maria Wood of SkilledUp says that remote employees, like onsite staff, "must be immersed in the corporate culture of the organization," and they need to feel that you value their work. Keeping them engaged and motivated are two ways to show your appreciation. But the ways to engage and motivate remote staff differ hugely from how you’d usually do it with onsite employees. Losing face time and working in different time zones means needing to communicate differently.
Having an employee recognition program specifically aimed at remote staff can help solve this problem. Here are four ways to do so:
Recognize based on specific results
Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, cites crediting specific results and behavior as one of the best practices of employee recognition. “Don’t just give someone a reward for being ‘employee of the month,’” Josh says. “Give them an award for delivering outstanding customer service when a particular problem occurred.” Otherwise, you risk making your rewards look impersonal and less special – even worse if you're just doing this through email.
Encourage frequent recognition
Out of sight should never mean out of mind. Roy Saunderson, president of the Recognition Management Institute, emphasizes that regular recognition can be as simple as giving daily updates, weekly shout-outs, or monthly meetings to celebrate team accomplishments. “Whether by phone, Skype, email, or tweet, thank your employees and teams as things happen, ideas are proposed, and deliverables are executed, in order to keep their work top of mind.”
To make recognition even more frequent, Josh Bersin recommends implementing peer-to-peer recognition. Your team would appreciate recognition from you, but recognition from each other delivers more impact. “Peers know what you’re doing on a day to day basis, so when they ‘thank you’ for your efforts the impact is much more meaningful.”
Make your rewards desirable
Employee perks will differ depending on where your remote teams are, especially if they're offshore. You can't just give gift cards to a cool streaming application to remote staff based on countries where the service is unavailable. You have to find a way to make sure your rewards are applicable to your remote teams.
Uncover, for example, allows you to customize your recognition program by providing a vast selection of employee perks and rewards. These include credit rewards for services like Uber, Google Play, iTunes, and Starbucks. You can check with your remote teams which services they'd love to get extra credit for, and then change your program around their selections.
Promote your recognition program
Make your recognition program part of company culture. According to Baudville, provider of employee recognition solutions, “it’s important to let managers and employees know that your recognition program is an important part of the culture at your organization, and you expect them all to participate.”
To keep your remote team actively participating in the program, the Baudville team suggests to keep your employee recognition fresh. A few ways to do that include frequent reminders, good packaging, and constant updating with new rewards and incentives.
How do you recognize your remote team’s accomplishments? Any programs or tools you like using? Tell us all about it.
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