The last few months have been an adjustment for you and your team. It will most likely continue to be an adjustment for the forseeable future. Some people have been working harder than ever, while others may have been struggling to adjust to remote work. Still others may have had to transition to new roles as you pared back operations.
Whatever the case, your employees might be feeling a little overwhelmed, especially as they attempt to transition to another new “normal.” Employee recognition is more important than ever.
How can you recognize your employees, especially if they’re not in the office on a daily basis? Give one of these ideas a try and see how easy it can be to show your team members how much you care.
Ask about Life Outside Work
Right now, the personal and the professional are more blended than ever. Employees are trying to attend Zoom meetings while their kids are homeschooling in the background. Employees are in the office, but they’re concerned about their immunocompromised elderly relatives and the care they need to deliver.
One way you can recognize employees is to simply ask them about what life is like outside work. Make sure to really listen. Wherever possible, offer support. If an employee expresses tension about being in the office, can you help them work from home more often? Can they free up time to take care of their kids or elders?
This is key to creating a supportive environment for all your team members right now, and your employees will probably appreciate this more than almost anything else you do.
Create Peer-Nominated Awards
You may find it difficult to assess how your team members are performing. It can be difficult to see who is doing a good job and who is doing an outstanding job.
That’s where peer-nominated awards come in. Even remotely, your team members are still working closely with each other.
Peer-nominated awards can range from serious accolades, such as nominating someone for outstanding work on a project or always being a great team player, to more social appreciations. Maybe your team members want to nominate each other for something like “tells the best jokes” or “can always be counted on to cheer someone up.” Recognizing the emotional labour your team members provide for each other, especially in these trying times, is just as important as the work they do on spreadsheets!
Celebrate Employees on a Slack/Internal Messaging Channel
If you use Slack or a similar messaging app, create a separate channel to shine a spotlight on different team members. Maybe you have an “employee of the week” and you spend the week highlighting a member of the team.
Use the peer-nominated awards model here too. Your team members could nominate each other for the award, highlighting how someone contributes to the team. You could post a short biography, quotes from other employees, or even do a short interview with the team member. They can share tips for productivity or a positive attitude, or whatever else may be helpful to the rest of the team.
Take a Survey
Another way to make your team members feel acknowledged is to take a survey. This may be especially important right now as everyone transitions back to “the new normal.” How do employees feel about returning to the office? What kinds of policies do want to see to support them in transitioning?
Once you have this information, put it into practice. There will always be some answers that aren’t practical or helpful—giving everyone a million-dollar raise isn’t going to happen—but if all employees say they want to see more flexible schedules, then take that as your cue to see how you can offer them flexible working options.
These are just some ideas to help you get started in recognizing and appreciating your team members. There are plenty of others, such as reducing meetings, using social media to highlight team members, and helping employees pursue their passions.
When your team members know you care, they’ll feel more capable of delivering the very best they have to offer.