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Recognition in The Real World
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Creative Virtual Recognition Ideas

Posted By Ava Ewald, Friday, May 22, 2020
Updated: Friday, May 22, 2020

On Wednesday, May 13, RPI hosted Community Connect, a call with RPI members. Over 40 members joined to share what they have been doing, what concerns they have, and things they would like RPI to offer to help during this time and into the future.

During the call, members got to chat and share ideas about how they have been recognizing employees in their organizations. Here are some of the virtual recognition ideas they discussed:

  • E-cards

Nothing can top the personal nature of a handwritten card, but with limited access to employees, e-cards are a great alternative. Many creative ones are out there—American Greetings has wonderful cards you can email like this one, which features Michael Bolton singing a personalized birthday song for the recipient.

  • Peer-to-peer recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition should be a top priority right now. Since we no longer have the luxury of hallway chitchat, feeling supported and appreciated by coworkers is now more important than ever. For example, encouraging employees to send one email a week to a coworker they appreciate will help lift spirits and maintain your positive company culture.

  • Recognition in a box

Either deliver or send awards and other recognition items to employees’ homes and have them open the box during a virtual celebration.

This is an awesome way to get to know employees and how they are handling their time in isolation. Have employees write six words about how they are feeling and schedule a meeting to have everyone read theirs out loud to the group. It is great for team building and checking in.

  • Virtual happy hours/games

People have had lots of fun with their virtual events. Be creative and give employees a break from the constant isolation and stream of bad news. Some examples of virtual games are bingo, Quiplash like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity), or Heads Up.

  • Share on social media

If you have not already been recognizing employees on social media, you should start now. Since it is harder to shout someone out in front of their peers, post it on Facebook or Twitter. Do not be afraid to show off how awesome your employees are.

  • Meals delivered to employees’ homes

Go beyond just recognizing your employees and include their families, too. Having a delivery service like Postmates or Uber Eats deliver food from your employee’s favorite restaurant is a great way to recognize someone.

  • Virtual gift cards/certificates

E-gift certificates are so easy and so effective. Just about every store or restaurant has a way to purchase a gift card code. It is great to know what your employees like so that you can be thoughtful about which gift certificate you get them.

  • Foster connections

On your remote calls, ask questions to get to know your employees better. Ask how they are doing, how they have been spending their time, or what brings them joy. Non-work chat is great for helping maintain that sense of community.

  • Communicate

Make sure management is communicating frequently and consistently. Since you can not talk casually in the office, find ways to keep in contact with your employees.


The call concluded with members feeling energized by the opportunity to connect. Make sure to watch for our next Community Connect session.

Register for our virtual conference in September.

Become a CRP.

Tags:  creative  recognition  remote  virtual 

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