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Mayes Wilson & Associates

5 ways to recognize remote team members

Sara Wilson, CPCC, ACC |

It’s safe to assume most everyone learned to say “thank you” back in kindergarten. Probably before kindergarten.

Then why did one in three respondents to a recent workplace survey say they have cried at work because they feel unappreciated? (Snappy, 2019)

The best leaders understand the importance of building a recognition-rich culture. (We talk more about the benefits of appreciation here ) But there is often a big gap between understanding and implementation.

And that gap is growing larger as our workplaces continue to morph. Before COVID, many of us were together in the same space for the workday. COVID forced many teams to split up as workers stayed home if at all possible. Now, the emerging “post-COVID” reality seems to be that staff will be coming back into the workplace sporadically. Depending on their jobs, some members may never return to the office while others may be required to work in person full time.

Try these five easy ways to recognize remote staff

  1. Change your mindset. Appreciation communications don’t have to be long. Keep it simple: “Thank you for…”; “I appreciate your …”; “You’re amazing and here’s why…” These short statements can be added to an email going out to a remote employee.
  2. Distribute a short e-news blast on a regular basis that spotlights employees doing good things. After you set up the template, the time investment of writing routinely is manageable. Feature candid photos of both remote and on-site workers to keep facial recognition high.
  3. Keep several note cards on your desk; write a note immediately after someone goes the extra mile for your organization, then mail it to them via the US Postal Service–whether they are remote employees or not. Nowadays, getting a handwritten note in the mail is so unusual, it will really make their day.
  4. Begin team meetings by recognizing someone who did exceptional work in the past week while working remotely.
  5. Put a task on your to do list: every Friday think of one in-house employee and one remote employee who really helped you this week. Then text them your thanks before going home at the end of the day.

Recognition time is time well-spent

Every nonprofit leader I know has more to do than hours in the day. It is ambitious to add writing thank you notes or other appreciation actions to your schedule. I also know you are eager to keep your employees engaged, happy and productive. A little gratitude can achieve all that and more.

If you’re facing specific challenges related to employee recognition, I’m just a phone call or email away.

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