Feb 21, 2023

Rethinking Recognition: How to Help Remote Employees Feel Seen

Recognition in a hybrid environment usually goes something like this: a Teams/Slack/Insert Your Communication Platform Here message. “Congrats on [insert your project name]. Couldn’t have done it without [insert tagged workers here]! Commence emojis.

There is certainly nothing wrong with publicly calling out individual contributions. In fact, we recommend it. However, it leaves much to be desired when it comes to meaningful employee recognition – especially in a hybrid environment where many workers already feel unseen.

The hard work, effort, and time that goes into solving a challenge, meeting a deadline, or winning business is easily devalued – despite our best efforts. When you recognize someone for their unique contributions in a personalized way, it validates them. It helps them connect to your company and mission. And it gives them a greater sense of belonging. And recognition has benefits that extend far beyond personal fulfillment. According to Deloitte, sophisticated recognition programs are 12x more likely to result in strong business outcomes.

As organizations create and evaluate their long-term hybrid work models, it’s more critical than ever to reconsider recognition programs. The essential question to ask is: how you can offset the intense feeling of invisibility workers feel sitting in their home offices? And the answer should feel personalized and unique to both them and to your organization. Here are three ideas that can help.

Seen, Heard and Rewarded: 3 Ideas for Recognizing Remote Workers

1. Make it Personal

The best recognition programs aren’t overly complicated or involved. They are, however, tuned specifically to how individuals prefer to be recognized. Some love a public forum. Others like a private note. Many don’t like gifts. However you recognize employees, make sure it’s personalized and specific. Call out the late nights, the creative thinking, the specific solution they contributed.

2. Recognize Employees Often

Recognition shouldn’t be reserved for monthly all-hands meetings. Give managers more insight into the daily performance and achievements of team members and encourage them to thank those team members for their work regularly. A simple thank you note goes a long way towards helping remote workers feel like their work is valued.

3. Offer Growth Opportunities
One powerful way to recognize remote employees is to build from their accomplishments through new growth opportunities. When managers recognize strengths while also giving the employee a pathway to grow them, that’s taking recognition to a very meaningful level. Perhaps more importantly, it connects their work to your organization’s bigger picture.

They don’t have to be in person to be Seen

From the seen to the unseen, employees’ efforts can take on many forms. Late nights, creative thinking, decisive action, customer hand-holding and much more. Your recognition program should be just as nuanced. For hybrid organizations, finding empathetic, personalized ways to recognize and reward employees makes a world of difference.

For more insights from our Living Lab, follow One Workplace on LinkedIn and see the research overview here.