Woman looking at her laptop pumps her fists in the air and smiles
Acknowledging and rewarding your employees' hard work can go a long way. — Getty Images/fizkes

Rewarding your employees is one of the best ways to reduce turnover. Consistent recognition increases employee happiness, trust and satisfaction. Rewards not only attract top performers, but make sure they stay with your business long-term.

However, a recent study from BambooHR found that 82% of employees don't feel recognized for their hard work. With more employees working from home permanently, the casual office shoutout or in-person recognition becomes difficult. Rewards provide an easy way to make sure hard work gets noticed. Here’s how to introduce rewards for your remote workers.

Take time to acknowledge great work

Recognition doesn't always need to be monetary. Often, employees feel rewarded simply by being acknowledged for their hard work. David Iwanow, global SEO manager of Schibsted Media Group, recommends using existing company platforms to give your employees a(semi) public shoutout.

Iwanow uses the team's Slack channels to offer recognition, and includes team and individual accomplishments in internal presentations to create an ethos of peer recognition. Try a tool like Hey Taco, a plugin for Slack designed to encourage kudos and appreciation.

Brenna Loury, head of marketing at Doist, publishes weekly "squad snippets," outlining the week's accomplishments. It's a great way to showcase individuals and the team as a whole. Loury takes it a step further by adding kudos in the monthly marketing update, sharing recognition company-wide.

If your team has regular status updates or stand-up meetings, get into the habit of highlighting performance. By creating a culture of continuous positive feedback, you'll find employees are far more motivated and eager to engage.

Surprise employees with unexpected time off

Employees who work from home risk falling into the “always on” trap: When the line between work and home life is blurred, it can be hard to turn off at the end of the day. These employees are more likely to feel burned out over time.

Reward your team’s hard work and help mitigate the possibility of burnout by offering a little PTO. When your targets are on point and the team is performing well, why not ask everyone to unplug at 3 p.m. instead of 5 on a Friday?

Just an afternoon here and there can have a dramatic effect on your team's output, especially when it’s framed as a sincere gesture of appreciation for good work. "Keep in mind that recognition doesn't need to be elaborate," says Johnny C. Taylor, CEO of The Society For Human Resource Management.

BambooHR found that extra days off are among the top benefits desired by today’s employees. Create a culture of rewards where overtime means additional leave days. Acknowledging that your employees need time outside the office will go a long way.

Watch our full CO— Blueprint discussion on how to hire and onboard employees in a remote work environment.

"Extending appreciation does more than showing [your employees] you care. It shows you see them as a whole person."

Maddie Elridge, marketing coordinator, ALKU

Get creative—and personal

With your team based in different places, and maybe even different time zones, it's essential to design a reward that is personal and relevant. For instance, a Starbucks gift card won’t be useful to a coworker who doesn’t live anywhere near a Starbucks location.

Sometimes there's no better reward than an experience someone has always wanted. If you're looking for something truly out of the box, Blueboard is a great place to start. Blueboard offers “experiential” rewards, like a photography class or “bucket list travel adventure.” Get creative with something that your employee will value. Whether it's a tasting menu at a dream restaurant, tickets to a concert or the ultimate massage after a crazy sales cycle, the authenticity of the recognition will foster genuine employee well-being.

[Read more: Forget Year-End Bonuses: Try These 3 Creative Ways to Reward Your Team]

Share the love

Some employees may have migrated to a shared coworking space, but many are working from a home office, the living room or the kitchen counter. Wherever your team is working, it’s likely their schedule has impacted their family and friends (and vice versa).

Your employees’ partners or roommates are just as acquainted with their workload as you are. So why not include these support systems in your rewards? Make that gift card for two and invite everyone to celebrate an individual’s successes and achievements.

"Extending appreciation does more than showing them you care. It shows you see them as a whole person," says Maddie Eldridge, marketing coordinator at ALKU.

[Read more: 4 Ways Your Business Can Support Remote Workers]

Stay relevant and cultivate growth

These days, managing a team from afar is entirely doable. As your team grows, you need to keep track of what employees are doing. If you see exemplary behavior, don't wait to reward it. Act fast and be proactive.

A relevant reward is one that provides development opportunities for your employees. If you see a window for a promotion or the possibility for someone to learn new skills and add responsibilities, act on it. You don't want to risk losing momentum on peak performance. When employees are feeling confident and rewarded, they're more likely to tackle a new challenge head-on. Reward your top performers with a discounted or free online course through platforms like Udemy and Skillshare. It’s a win-win for your team and your business.

CO—aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Watch Now: CO— Blueprint, 9/23

Check out the video from our CO— Blueprint event that took place Wednesday, September 23, 2020, where the panel discussed everything you need to know about recruiting and managing cohesive teams remotely.



Published September 14, 2020