COVID-19 has brought the employment market into a new norm: the work-from-home set-up. It killed the traditional workplace. However, as the world returns to a sense of normalcy, managers and business owners will have to accommodate changes in the work patterns, how they work, and cultivate workplace culture.
While some employees go back onsite full-time, others continue working from home. But most businesses are implementing a hybrid work model to support employees and keep them productive. This means they spend some time in the office and the others at home. And this looks like the future of work.
According to Zippia, 74% of U.S. businesses are now implementing or planning to use this hybrid work model permanently, and 44% of employees prefer this kind of work environment. Are you also making the shift? If so, how do you transition your pre-pandemic programs like employee recognition in a hybrid environment?
No organization should remove employee recognition from the new hybrid work system. It’s a must. Employee recognition supports employee wellbeing and improves employee retention, resulting in increased productivity. When employees are recognized for their work, they feel satisfied and more connected to the work and the organization; they enjoy their work.
A Quantum Workplace survey found that employees are 2.7x more likely to be highly engaged if they know they will be recognized. In addition, employee recognition can result in a positive work environment and team culture.
While setting it up in the new normal can be tricky, there are ways to support employee recognition and keep employees motivated in a hybrid environment. Here are some of them.
1. Do regular check-in meetings.
Employees are human too. In the fast-changing world, they also feel overwhelmed as they try to balance work and life. This is where check-in meetings become helpful.
The new normal of working from home makes working feel like life and life as work, so giving employees time to breathe by recognizing them goes a long way. This can be a video face-to-face or in-person engagement, which should be done regularly. Doing so helps you communicate better as you don’t lose on the emotions and intent conveyed by someone and the non-verbal cues of such interaction. You won’t see these elements when you do employee recognition in the form of text.
Regular check-in meetings, whether in-person or via video calls, recognize employees’ efforts and cultivate strong employee recognition. Also, this helps people working remotely not lose the human touch, an issue brought by the current set-up.
2. Establish a digital employee recognition program.
Employee recognition makes employees feel valued and appreciated. If such a program is in place, you boost morale, foster positive behavior, and increase productivity. How can you make this possible in a hybrid environment?
Technology proves to be beneficial in this case. Employee recognition software can bring everyone to a commonplace but in digital form. It facilitates employee recognition while bridging the gap between the remote and onsite workforce. No matter where the employees are, an employee recognition platform instantly helps you recognize your team and lets them know who’s being rewarded.
3. Give team awards.
It can be challenging to work as a team in a hybrid environment. This is why giving team awards is important. Not only does it recognize the collective efforts and achievements of the team members, but it also encourages teamwork and collaboration. Team rewards also motivate employees to overcome the challenges of working from various locations as they tend to communicate and use digital collaboration tools more often. These help build better employee relationships and, ultimately, a better work environment.
4. Celebrate personal milestones.
While recognizing and rewarding the team based on merit is essential, having a sense of community is also important for employees. In a hybrid workspace, celebrating personal milestones is a great way of boosting employee morale and establishing an emotional and social bonding between the organization and the employees. This also deepens their sense of commitment and loyalty.
Furthermore, acknowledging special moments at work assures the employees that they are valued as individuals. It creates a lasting impact and can be a part of an employee retention strategy.
Personal milestones include the following:
- Specific professional achievements
- Work anniversaries
- Newborn babies.
You can celebrate these moments by giving employees time off or gifts and recognizing them in front of their colleagues.
5. Schedule out-of-the-office events and activities.
When working from home, you can still see everyone during online meetings. However, this still isn’t the same as being together on site.
As rewards, out-of-the-office events and activities offer positive reinforcement to employees. It’s a good way to let them know they are doing a great job. In addition, so that their efforts are noticed and appreciated, these activities can even build up relationships among employees, especially if there are new hires during the pandemic.
Examples of out-of-the-office activities are bowling after work or lunch on Friday afternoon. You can also prepare team-building scavenger hunt ideas! Whatever activity you have in mind, make it fun and inclusive for all employees.
6. Provide options for your rewards.
Employees enjoy rewards that support happiness even outside of work. So if the organization is in the position to give incentive-based rewards, then consider giving the employees options: a gift card, a free dinner, or a spa treatment. You have limitless options. If you want, you can also ask them what they want and include them in your choices.
You can also reward employees with freebie hours. May it be an early log-off or additional time for a job well done, they will surely appreciate it.
Adapting to the hybrid work model can be challenging, but it should not stop you from creating a culture that appreciates and recognizes employees. These tips can help you develop an employee recognition program in the new normal. Then, implement them and see how effective they motivate your workforce.