The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we go about our daily lives in several ways, but sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. Employee recognition is one of those things. Pre-pandemic, recognition was relied upon to motivate and engage workers to increase bottom-line performance, encourage retention, and build positive work cultures, to name a few.
However, since the virus arrived and put everything in disarray, forcing workers to sacrifice more than ever, showing gratitude at work has grown from token gesture to national imperative. Employee recognition has emerged as an essential tool for keeping things together as workforces become more scattered, disconnected, and stressed. Here are 5 reasons recognition is more important than ever in the times of Coronavirus:
Culture Communication – It can be a challenge to maintain a positive and supportive work culture amid so much uncertainty. Recognition programs provide a companywide channel to engage employees on a personal level and communicate your cultural values. When done right, rewards and recognition can create a more memorable experience, and in turn make your messaging “stickier”. Whether you wish to emphasize current values or recalibrate them to fit the times, rewards and recognition amplifies your voice.
Remote Work Support – As many organizations switch to remote workforces, they face a new challenge of keeping everyone connected and engaged when they may be spread far and wide. Recognition is an effective stopgap to keep teleworkers connected to company goals and provides a sense of stability to radically changing work arrangements. Also, when managers take extra time to connect for in-person recognition over the phone or video chat, they nurture positive feedback loops and build confidence.
Normalcy and Continuity – Nearly every aspect of our daily lives has been affected by the pandemic, and uncertainty is at an all-time high. In times of extraordinary stress, people tend to lean on what’s familiar to them for comfort, and nothing is more familiar and inviting than the concept of gratitude, saying thank you, and celebrating milestones like service anniversaries and birthdays. Keeping up consistent and accurate recognition can go a long way to maintaining a sense of normalcy and continuity in daily business.
Stress Relief – Employees everywhere are having to not only contend with staying safe from the virus, but also keeping their families and several other aspects of their lives safe, e.g. child/elder care, remote schooling, etc. It amounts to an inordinate amount of stress placed on top of their normal job duties. Stepping up recognition of their daily efforts is a great way to show solidarity and support and can be a bright spot in someone’s day.
Reputation and Morale – When the coronavirus is behind us, employees will remember how they were treated when times were tough, and if things like recognition and respect have been lacking, those can be some heavy chickens when they come home to roost. Keeping up positive feedback and rewarding employees in times of uncertainty is an essential morale booster, and the stories of your kindness will be remembered long after.
Above all, recognition is the most direct and effective way to foster a reputation of kindness and appreciation for your staff. While cutbacks are happening all over, many organizations are redoubling their recognition efforts to ensure their intentions, communications, and values are clear, compassionate, and engaging. In times like this, we survive by pulling together and reminding each other of our strengths. This is what recognition was made for.