As employees are challenged with being productive, communicating, and staying motivated working remotely, employers need to adapt engagement programs to address these new conditions.
Employee engagement programs are more important now than ever in order to boost morale, facilitate open communication, and maintain motivation within your newly remote organization.
Based on our experience of being a remote organization for over 15 years, we’ve identified several successful strategies to implement as you adapt your employee engagement program for a remote workforce.
1. Peer Recognition and Nominations
Adapting employee engagement programs that were originally designed for on-site office environments, is essential to maintaining your company culture. With less physical visibility of employees’ daily work activity, it’s critical that organizations continue to acknowledge hard working employees who deserve recognition.
Peer nomination and recognition can reveal the unsung heroes during this stressful time. Employees could be doing more peer work, cross-functional work, or generally being helpful to the continuity of the organization by checking in with others, connecting, and inspiring the whole team; however, it may be harder for managers and administrators to see these efforts online. By allowing employees to give shout outs to each other on team or company calls, you’re also facilitating and strengthening communication--something that can seem in short supply through technology.
One way to implement peer nominations is to move your nomination procedure online. Allow your employees to anonymously cast votes via survey tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey, nominating who they think deserves recognition or throughout the company, and make it an ongoing, regular process.
2. New Criteria for Employee Rewards
As you change processes for nominations, changing the criteria for rewards for employee engagement programs could also be necessary. While you may already have a program in place to reward and engage employees on-site, the criteria for rewards needs to be re-evaluated because your team is now working remotely.
For some employees, they have their entire family at home while they’re working. For others, they may be completely isolated, living and now working alone. High job performance isn’t limited to completing every task on a weekly list these days—it could look more like making an extra effort to connect with people in the company, being flexible working with others who have different working hours than themselves, and helping balance others’ workload.
Additionally, consider the channels that you use to announce the rewards and make sure your recognition is posted in all of the necessary channels. Don’t just send an email, post the reward recipients in your company’s messaging software and announce on video calls. When you’re rewarding employees, ensure that communications are visible to all employees within your organization so that employee’s efforts don’t go unnoticed within your remote organization.
3. eGift Cards & Digital Rewards for Employee Engagement
Using the same rewards as before the coronavirus pandemic may not be appropriate or useful in this new remote work environment. You’ll want to consider rewards that make staying at home a little more enjoyable.
eGift cards are a great option that are easy to deliver, easy to use, and available across many different categories to tailor the reward to the employee. For example, providing an eGift card to help pay for essential items to be delivered from CVS to their home can be the best reward during these difficult times. For those with families at home, an eGift card for a meal delivery service, like Home Chef, help save time and can bring families together over home cooked meals.
If your engagement program includes an option for employees to donate eGift card rewards, rather than accept them, make sure those donation options are timely. Providing donation outlets to support frontline healthcare workers is a great way to make rewards effective and allow employees an outlet to give back to the community.
4. Plan for a Return to Normalcy
Just as this transition to remote working has caused adjustments, returning back to an office workplace will also need adaptation in order to continue engaging employees. Your new engagement strategies implemented during this time may benefit your employees once they’re back in the office.
Don’t forget that there are many national holidays throughout the year that recognize important roles in organizations, such as Administrative Professionals Day and Employee Appreciation Day, so you can recognize employees throughout the year. All in all, if engagement and rewards remain a priority within your organization, employees will stay motivated and you will see increased retention rates.
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