The workplace may have changed due to COVID-19, but what keeps employees motivated remains the same. As we all adjust to the “new normal”, this is a great opportunity for employers to enhance recognizing and rewarding their employees. Providing computer equipment and conducting Zoom check-ins isn’t enough during the uncertainty and fear brought on by the pandemic. Now is the time to earn your employees’ trust and create a rewards and recognition system. If you already have one in place, take a moment or two to give it the makeover it needs to really work in today’s changing business landscape.
Humans tend to be quite simple in terms of finding motivation to get things done. For example, I can easily bribe myself to finish my daily tasks by telling myself I can end the day with a delicious doughnut.We all can muster up enough motivation to do something – either with a reward or recognition on the horizon, or simply because it takes us one step closer to reaching our goals – we get things done. Keep reading for some ideas to start or improve your workplace rewards and recognition programs.
1. Create an open and fun virtual workplace culture
Embrace the current situation and let your employees know it’s okay if kids are in the background and dogs are barking. Make efforts to include the new work-life balance by posting fun pictures of each other’s new work stations and pajama-ready office attire. Avoid scheduling meetings first thing at 8 am and refrain from doing conference call check-ins to make sure your employees are working. Give them flexibility and autonomy during these challenging times and in return they will feel more valued and trusted. That is the ultimate reward.
2. Promote health
Continue to send out regular communications and helpful tips to keep your employees’ mental and physical states healthy. Encourage employees to do virtual happy hours and virtual team building activities with each other so they feel connected and not isolated. Forbes.com reports that Amazon offered unlimited paid sick leave during the month of March for those who tested positive for COVID-19, and dozens of health insurance companies are waiving all fees for COVID-19 testing. For the complete list from Forbes of what some companies are doing for their employees, click the link below.
3. Recognize in public
Celebrate wins and successes through some type of internal or social platform. Everyone should be able to view, share, and participate in the recognition process. Employees will feel more connected if they can share and celebrate the goals they achieve – thus driving motivation. Peer recognition works if you make it public, use consistent methods, make it part of your office culture, and make the reward an experience – not cash. When done right, it is more meaningful and memorable. According to Psychology Today, an employee study shows recognition matters more than money and 76% of employees in the study found peer praise “very or extremely motivating”.
4. Encourage and support professional growth
One way to reward employees is to give them tools and opportunities to grow and develop professionally. This could include free or discounted classes or courses that would benefit their current job roles and help them harness and develop new skills. If possible, provide paid time off for your employees to participate in these courses. This will not only show them you are invested in them and their careers, but will also instill in them a loyalty to you for providing them with the opportunity to enhance their qualifications, which in turn will show during their performance reviews and likely result in bonuses or raises. This is a great way to motivate employees to be more productive!
In the midst of COVID-19, it is more than ever to keep your employees engaged and happy. As a result, you will continue to further your business and get positive results. Engagement and motivation can be built even during these challenging times.