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Recognition in The Real World
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Leading With Compassion: Living Above the Line by Dr. Brad Shuck

Posted By Ava Ewald, Thursday, July 2, 2020
Updated: Thursday, July 2, 2020

By Dr. Brad Shuck

Associate Professor and Research Director of the Human Resource and and Organizational Development Program, University of Louisville


Living Above the Line


Everything seems different right now. Because, in many ways, in the span of a few days and weeks, everything changed. And this change calls for a different kind of leadership. Right now, more than ever, we need to be leaders who lead with compassion. To help understand what this looks like, I’ve developed a framework to clearly show the six defined behaviors of compassionate, courageous leaders. We call living into those behaviors living ‘above the line.’ Those six behaviors include: dignity, authenticity, presence, accountability, empathy and integrity. The behaviors below the line — humiliation, insincerity, distractedness, avoidance, detachment and dishonesty represent dysfunctional behaviors – behaviors that are ultimately destructive to your culture and company. It, of course, takes courage to live above the line and lead with compassion, especially when everything feels different. In times of stress and chaos, it might feel easy to operate below the line and be distracted and detached, for example, especially when we are faced with obstacles we’ve never experienced before. But, living here – below the line – can create more problems that build over time and have a cost in the long term. The surprising truth about this model is that it applies to our situation today more than ever. And it doesn’t cost any money to lead with the behaviors that are above the line. It is 100% free to be authentic. Authenticity right now might sound like, “I don’t know what may happen in the next couple of weeks, but here’s what I do know. Today, we're in this together.



We’re in unprecedented times, but it is the unprecedented times that bring out the most innovation and creativity. This current situation can help us thrive.” These behaviors will not work if you don’t put them into action. You can’t just have dignity and authenticity; you have to display it to others. You have to give it away. That may mean having a very difficult conversation with someone right now and focusing on coming from a place of dignity and empathy — allowing that person to maintain their sense of worth and trying to see each situation from their point of view, without judgment. This is game changing. And like most things worth pursuing, this takes time, energy and capacity. Running over capacity over long periods of time as a leader takes a toll in the way we interact with other people. Generally, living and leading from a place of overcapacity leads to frustration. Frustration is a cognitive bias we use to make a decision in the moment when we don’t have the mental capacity to think about something. What we see is frustration but what is happening can feel overwhelming emotionally. And frustration – the currency of too much going on around us – can trigger a loss of control.


So how can we lead with compassion and ensure we stay above the line?


1. Establish new routines and rituals. The way to add capacity back into your day is to build in routines that in turn increase mental and emotional capacity. Routines allow us to pay attention to the bigger picture, not the small things that can become routine. Rather than give in to the distraction and noise around you, focus on casting the larger vision and inspiring through people.


2. Display predictable behaviors. Predictability helps to build capacity back into your day because you don’t have to worry about other things that are now part of your established routine. You now can direct that energy to more important issues. An example of the importance of predictability is how you communicate. Right now, your team is looking for steady, calm, intentional communication. In the midst of this crisis, communication and collaboration are the heartbeat of your culture. If your team knows what to expect, they will feel more empowered to establish a stronger trust with you and with each other.


3. Inspire to the priorities. Clearly articulate the priorities to the team so they feel confident in the direction. What are the three things we need to do today? What big rocks do we need to move and how do I as a leader inspire that direction? Define milestones and project check-ins.


4. Connect the work to your mission. Use storytelling as a way to show how work continues to be incredibly meaningful. Tie projects and tasks back to the mission so your team understands and is excited by the work they are creating. Even in a remote setting, they will feel connected.


There is no template for how to lead during an unprecedented time. Compassion provides a guiding framework to use as a map. And compassionate leadership gives us a guide for what great leadership can look like and how we can be extraordinarily effective. As leaders, we get to define how work will be done in the future – the challenge is to make sure we set the opportunity now by leading above the line.

Tags:  compassion  recognition 

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RPI Honors The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Cone Health, Dar Al Riyadh Group, Microsoft®, CR Worldwide and Vancouver Coastal Health with 2020 Best Practice Awards

Posted By Ava Ewald, Thursday, June 11, 2020


ST. PAUL, Minn. (June 2020) – For over 20 years, Recognition Professionals International (RPI) has been the independent authority and voice in driving employee engagement through a recognition strategy based on research, practice and standards.


The RPI Best Practice Standards® are based on knowledge gained from academic literature, professional conferences, and shared experiences in developing successful recognition programs. These standards have been amended periodically to reflect the lessons learned from previous program cycles, including suggestions from RPI Best Practice Standards® judges and award recipients. They are designed to be useful for the creation and evaluation of recognition programs in the public and private sectors, large and small organizations, and organizations with single or multiple locations or functions.


There are seven RPI Best Practice Standards®:

Standard 1: Recognition Strategy
Standard 2: Management Responsibility
Standard 3: Recognition Program Measurement
Standard 4: Communication Plan
Standard 5: Recognition Training
Standard 6: Recognition Events and Celebrations
Standard 7: Program Change and Flexibility


This year, organizations could submit for all 7 RPI Best Practice® Awards or select specific standards for their recognition programs. Congratulations to the 2020 Best Practice Award Winners!


The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was awarded the 2020 RPI Best Practice Overall Award for excellence in all standards.


Cone Health was awarded in Standard 6 and Standard 7.


Dar Al Riyadh Group was awarded in Standard 1, Standard 5 and Standard 7.


Microsoft® was awarded in Standard 1.


CR Worldwide was awarded in Standard 1, Standard 4, Standard 6 and Standard 7.


Vancouver Coastal Health was awarded in Standard 6.


The RPI Recognition Champion Award in honor of Pamela Sabin was launched 20 years ago to honor recognition practitioners who demonstrate a strong passion for employee recognition. The evaluators look for people who:

·       Display leadership in taking the initiative to spread the message throughout their organization.

·       Exhibit passion in promoting the principles of recognition by addressing and/or overcoming obstacles.

·       The organization's programs and/or initiatives demonstrate an on-going commitment to recognition practices including measurement.

·       The nominee demonstrates a commitment and serves as a role model for recognition practices in word and delivery.


This year’s recipient — Lonnie Ross, Engagement Manager,  DTE Energy — was nominated for her outstanding work at DTE Energy in Detroit, Michigan.


RPI’s Spotlight Award was presented to Kevin Cronin, CRP and Kimberly Huffman of  Dollar General. The award, which is voted on by members of the RPI Board of Directors, is given for above and beyond behavior to the members who continuously add value to the Association.


Please visit our Awards page for more information.


About RPI

Founded in 1998, RPI is the only professional association at the forefront of workforce recognition through its sole focus on recognition innovations and education as a systematic method for improvements in the workplace. RPI is endorsed by top authorities in the industry, has an impressive membership of Fortune 500 organizations and is the only association offering Certified Recognition Professional® (CRP) courses.


Tags:  awards  recognition 

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RPI Members Share Recognition Stories during the Pandemic

Posted By Sue Yoemans, Thursday, June 4, 2020

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

Many members shared concern over the lack of day-to-day recognition which can be challenging with remote work. Many members are canceling in-person recognition events for the rest of the year and working on creative ways to recognize their employees virtually.

While COVID-19 has presented extreme challenges, recognition practices are still at the forefront — especially during this time.

RPI Executive Committee Member Susan Hall, CRP, Gateway First Bank, shared that her company sent care packages to all 1,300 employees with a letter from the CEO. “It included masks, a t-shirt that 'says stronger than ever,' hand sanitizer and snacks. We also created an internal Facebook page to just to stay connected and had Nashville Songwriter Reed Waddle do an hour of songs for us.”

Amy Hurley, LSW, CRP, Past-President of RPI’s Board of Directors and Program Director for Faculty and Staff Recognition at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, gave members a look into how her organization has been recognizing medical professionals at the Wexner Medical Center: They have been delivering over 200 community restaurant-donated meals a day with thank-you notes from school children, OSU athletes, and community members every day to their hard-working medical professionals. They filled “CARE” bags specifically for the professionals treating patients with COVID-19.

Hurley explained, “We made CARE bags for our units treating [COVID-19] patients with gold bond powder and face wipes for their raw faces and lotion for their raw hands, as well as hair ties, Chapstick and mints. In order for our staff to have their N-95 masks sanitized and re-used they cannot wear any lotion, makeup, or Chapstick so they really appreciate having items when they get to take them off.”

Recognition is needed now more than ever, and RPI members shared other ideas including:
Remote recognition ideas:

  • Importance of regular peer-to-peer recognition
  • E-cards
  • Recognition in a Box: sending awards and recognition to employees' homes and scheduling a video ceremony to recognize them virtually
  • 6 word messages
  • Virtual happy hours and bingo/games to keep connected
  • Make it easy to share on social media
  • Include family in recognition — meals delivered to the employee's house
  • Virtual gift certificates
  • Ask questions on calls to generate connections — what are you reading during quarantine? What gives you joy?
  • Make sure senior leaders are communicating regularly so employees do not feel isolated or out of the loop

The Member Connection call facilitated by President R. Scott Russell, CRP, CA Short, was filled with energy and excellent ideas. RPI will plan these Connect calls regularly, as well as launching vertical industry discussion groups. Thanks to all who participated and shared ideas. Get more ideas at the RPI Blog.

Tags:  health care employee engagement  recognition  success stories  working remote 

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Habits of a Successful Remote Team

Posted By Ava Ewald, Friday, May 29, 2020

RPI aims to help you improve your recognition and engagement practices, developing its 7 Best Practice Standards to guide you through the process of bettering your program. It may be overwhelming to process how to improve your program when you are not with your employees in person, but with simple steps, you can find ways to engage your employees from a distance.

For many, remote work is the new normal. Many of us have been able to see the benefits and challenges that come with it and are looking for ways to make remote work more productive and gratifying. In this post, we will review some habits that successful remote teams engage in to promote productivity, engagement and team building.

  1. Team members have home workspaces

Finding a consistent space to work in helps you mentally separate work from home when they are in the same place. A Business News Daily article explains that this can be as simple as a set of notepads and pens that you set out on your kitchen table every day—it does not necessarily have to be an entire separate room or office. This habit is important for creating a work routine from home.

  1. Teams maintain an online team workspace

In addition to having your own designated work space at home, Business News Daily recommends having a clear and consistent virtual workspace that you share with your employees. This may be a chat platform like Google Meet, Slack or a GroupMe text group message. While email works great, having an informal platform for more casual chat promotes team building.

  1. Teams meet frequently

Communication needs to be constant. Quoted in Forbes, Project Management Institute CEO Sunil Prashara recommends daily check-ins with employees to not just touch base on ongoing projects, but to also make sure that everyone is feeling okay and motivated. This is important for any remote team at any time, but particularly now with a global pandemic that is putting extra weight on many around the world.

  1. Members are empathetic

Harvard Business Review regards empathy as one of the main factors that make a remote team successful. Many employees are working in the same spaces where their children are trying to learn and their pets play. Be patient with employees when they are interrupted, as many are trying their best to work and run households.

  1. They take time to chat

Another way to build trust on your remote team is to foster chitchat. Medium explains that you have to be much more intentional about this when you are remote versus when you are in the office. Knowing about your employees’ and coworkers’ hobbies and interests outside of work makes it more fun to work with them. Successful remote teams spend time getting to know each other.

Working remote is not easy. You have to be thoughtful about how you craft your schedule, your space, and your modes of communication.

Register for our virtual conference in September.

Read more about RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards.

Become a Certified Recognition Professional.

Tags:  habits  recognition  remote work 

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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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How to Build a Remote Culture

Posted By Ava Ewald, Monday, May 18, 2020
Updated: Friday, May 22, 2020
Harvard Business Review published an article in 2015 with statistics surrounding workplace culture. Having a great culture is associated with lower health costs, lower turnover, and higher productivity. Right now, many organizations are wondering how they can maintain their culture when most employees are remote. RPI has many resources for you to refer to on workplace culture, but today we will focus on how you can take those culture-building practices to your remote teams.

Forbes listed “Company vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits” as the main elements that contribute to a company culture, so how do we maintain this while remote?

Choose the best communication platform for your team

Bill Gates once said, “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other.” Whether it is on Slack, Google Hangouts, or a group message, your team should have easy access to each other. In our last blog post, we talked about Doist, a communications company that tried Slack, but found that it did not accommodate different time zones well. If you do not already have a convenient communication platform for your team, try a few out.

An article in Harvard Business Review explains that communication is vital while remote, and each remote team should determine its own set of “norms” or rules for communicating. For example, some teams may have regular Zoom meetings, expect that everyone has their cameras on and that everyone speaks at one point or another. Additionally, if your team all works within the same time zone, you might set boundaries for communication after work hours. For teams with members who all live in different time zones, teams may consider being more aware of each other’s boundaries between work life and personal life.

Frequent communication builds trust, so ensuring you have a reliable communication platform will help employees maintain and develop company culture.


Lean into recognition

Recognition is more important than ever now that employees are isolated. In a normal office setting, you have a variety of recognition methods ranging from a quick “thank you” to a planned recognition event for an employee or team. It is important to keep this structure in a virtual setting and consistently remind employees that they are appreciated. In a recent blog post, we discussed how you can recognize employees virtually, so feel free to learn more about specific practices here.

TLNT Talent Management and HR shows that there are new opportunities for recognition as well. Show your employees how much you appreciate their hard work by hosting a yoga or meditation session to help everyone slow down and unwind. You could also make a donation to a charity in their name. Anything that shows that you are tuned into their feelings and needs will be a great way to recognize them.


Focus on being social

Casual chitchat during the workday is a crucial piece of an organization’s culture. Getting to know your coworkers beyond their work helps build trust and community. We do not get to have the normal “water cooler” chat we usually get in the office. This is a hard void to fill when we are all remote.

Because the casual chitchat cannot come about organically while we work remotely, schedule time for it.  Writing for The Atlantic, Joe Pinsker explains that it might be awkward to schedule time for casual talk, but it is important for your mental health to be able to socialize. For example, schedule a 30-minute break in the morning when your team can hop on Zoom and drink coffee together, or have a virtual happy hour later in the day. Fostering that social connection is key to a healthy workplace culture.


Be empathetic

According to research reported by the Harvard Business Review, "Virtual teammates are 2.5 times more likely to perceive mistrust, incompetence, broken commitments and bad decision making with distant colleagues than those who are co-located. Worse, they report taking five to 10 times longer to address their concerns.” It is much easier to misinterpret texts, emails and even phone calls than it is in person. Since many are not in person, it is important to be cognizant of how things may be misunderstood. Consider re-reading your messages before sending to prevent any potential misinterpretation.

Further, while we are apart physically, many are getting to see their coworkers in a more personal way by getting an up-close look of their home lives—seeing their homes, children and pets. It is important to think about what they may be dealing with. While you might have a quiet home, some employees will be watching after their children or needing to run out to take care of a parent. Showing understanding for their situation will help them feel supported and trusted.


Communication is key when it comes to remote work and leaning into it will help you maintain your company culture.


Learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards.

Register for our virtual conference in September.

Become a Certified Recognition Professional.




Tags:  culture  recognition  remote 

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Companies with Effective Virtual Teams

Posted By Ava Ewald, Friday, May 15, 2020
In the midst of a global pandemic, RPI wants to help you and your organization move forward. Our wealth of resources and knowledge will help you become even better at recognizing your employees—wherever they may be. In today’s post, we will take a brief look at companies that are doing remote work well and see how we can improve our own remote teams.



Google is seen as a major innovator in workplace culture, so it only makes sense that they would make the list of best virtual teams. Veronica Gilrane, People Analytics Manager at Google, published her findings on Google’s virtual teams on their blog. Gilrane found that there was no difference in efficiency between in-person teams and remote teams, but many “Googlers” (as they call their employees) felt that they missed out on the culture and the ease of communication that comes with an in-person team. As a result, they found that there are three things teams can do to help. First, make sure the team members get to know each other beyond their work by making time for casual conversation and icebreakers during remote calls. Second, set and respect team members’ boundaries by learning when they like to meet and what time zone they are calling from. Third, be very clear about opportunities to meet in person and virtually so that team members know about every chance they have to engage with their colleagues.



According to a LinkedIn article, IBM manages over 200,000 employees worldwide both in person and virtually. One of their main challenges is connecting everyone in different time zones. They manage this problem by maintaining a flexible hour policy worldwide. They have found that employees are more productive when they have the ability to pick when they would like to work. It also gives them freedom that helps with family responsibilities. IBM also uses collaboration software to connect their employees globally. This commitment to flexibility and communication has helped employees trust their employer and build successful virtual teams.


General Electric

LinkedIn also gave insight into how GE’s virtual teams work. The company has over 90,000 employees worldwide, which made training a challenge. Now, they have a robust virtual training platform with professional development as well as new employee training, diversity training, and games. This has helped GE manage their global employees and keep them connected to the worldwide company culture. For organizations that are continuing to hire while working remote, this is a great example of a company that has successfully onboarded employees virtually.



Doist is a fully remote company that builds productivity tools. It makes sense that they emphasized the need for a communication platform. According to their blog, they started off using Slack and found that the platform was not great across multiple time zones. As a result, they created their own platform, Twist. They also encourage organizations to embrace a “remote-first” mindset. Many organizations that have both in-person and remote employees unintentionally keep remote employees out of the loop. With nearly every professional able to work from home doing so, this is easier now more than ever, and will be good training for when employees are back in the office. What we can learn from this case is the importance of a solid communication strategy between remote team members. Think about how far your team is spread, what different time zones they may be in and how they would like to communicate with their team members.


While we are in times unlike any other, it is important to remember that organizations have faced a variety of circumstances that prompted them to find solutions to problems many of us are facing now.


Learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards.

Register for our virtual conference in September.

Become a Certified Recognition Professional.



Tags:  recognition  remote work  virtual 

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How to Hold a Virtual Recognition Event

Posted By Ava Ewald, Friday, May 8, 2020
Let’s face it — it is harder to recognize and be recognized these days. Many are rightfully worried about their health, families, and communities, but it is important to remember that recognition promotes engagement and positivity in the workplace. RPI is committed to providing knowledge about recognition and engagement practices for every circumstance. Today, we will focus on how you can hold virtual recognition events.

You might have attended a virtual baby shower or virtual birthday party. One yoga company is even holding virtual goat yoga[LP1] . While virtual events may never be the same as gathering in a room with all of your friends, family, or coworkers, they can be fun and creative.

Bonusly gave some excellent ideas for employee celebrations on their blog including happy hour, pets-welcome day, a game party and more. While these would work great in the office, they do not always translate into an online format. Be creative and feel out what your employees would like and how you can adapt some of these ideas into a virtual format. For example, you could have a pet happy hour where everyone with a pet introduces them to the team. There are also zoom-friendly games such as kahoot a website that can run trivia for hundreds of people at once (and you can create your own quizzes). There are plenty of options out there to host a fun virtual event.

While maintaining the fun of a celebration, it is also important to keep a similar structure to in-person events. What are some of the main pieces of an employee recognition event? Crew App listed the essential pieces of formal or semi-formal employee recognition that are important in person or virtually:

-          A genuine thank-you to the employee or team you are recognizing. Use this time to dig deep and help the person or team understand that they made an impact on you or the organization. This can be done by recognizing specific characteristics, such as communication or delivering above-and-beyond customer service.

-          The employee or team is recognized in a way they appreciate. Make sure that you have paid attention to the preferences of the employee or team, such as whether or not they like to be recognized publicly. Even virtually, being called out in front of their peers can be mortifying. If they appreciate public recognition, go for it. Otherwise, consider writing a thoughtful letter or sending a gift to their home.

-          The appreciation ties back to the company’s message. If you are recognizing someone for outstanding customer service, emphasize how this was one of the fundamental values the company was built on, for example. By connecting the behavior of the recognized employee/team, you are reinforcing the behaviors you like to see.

-          Eye contact. This one is tricky in a virtual context. If you want to look as if you are directly looking into someone’s eyes on camera, do not look at your screen; look into your computer’s camera. It is tempting to look at the screen so you can see the people you are talking to, but if you are giving a meaningful speech, try looking into the camera.

If you combine these essential elements of employee recognition events with some fun and creativity, you will be able to host a wonderful virtual recognition event.


To register for our virtual conference in September, click here.

Learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards.




Tags:  recognition  remote work  virtual 

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How To “Drop-In” Virtually

Posted By Ava Ewald, Monday, May 4, 2020
 For many, working from home has become the new normal. We have learned to adapt to remote life, but some things may be missing. “Drop-ins” are casual ways to give an employee a pat on the back. Different recognition strategies are outlined in Standard 1: Recognition Strategy in RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards. These day-to-day methods of recognition are important for your recognition strategy, but with most employees working remotely, having those casual interactions are more difficult. Below are a few ways you can casually “drop-in” on your employees.


According to a Gallup study, 63% of women who reported having a good work friend reported feeling engaged with their work while only 29% of women who did not report having a good work friend reported feeling engaged. This emphasizes the importance of connection at work. This is even harder when most are working remotely, so making sure your employees feel that sense of community will help improve engagement.


1)      A good old-fashioned phone call

Harvard Business Review went as far as to recommend daily phone calls with your employees. While this is still not the same as doing a lap around the office to check in with employees at their desks, the convenience and spontaneity is still there with phone calls. Take some time out of your morning to do quick 5-minute or less calls with each member of your team. Ask how they are doing and how you can support them. Be careful not to overwhelm them- too many calls could make it seem as if you do not trust their ability to work at home. Still, phone calls are convenient for quick “drop-ins” on your employees.

2)      Short one-on-one meetings

These would have to be somewhat more planned than a phone call. Doing bi-weekly or weekly one-on-ones via Zoom will give you the space to dig deeper and check in on how your employees are doing. Bamboo HR recommends making sure you are using a video-chat service in these types of meetings. Being able to both hear voices and read facial expressions will make the conversation almost as good as if you were in the same room as them. Similar to phone calls, check in on how your employees are doing and help them set some goals.

3)      Virtual coffee breaks

In the office, you might grab a cup of coffee and walk around to get some casual chit-chat in during the day. This is what many employees miss while working remotely. It is so much harder to take a quick break and talk about a favorite TV show or share pictures of pets. This can be done virtually, but it has to be more intentional. CNBC recommended scheduling Zoom coffee breaks so you can get in that connection time with employees. This allows you to bond more with your team and your team to bond with each other.

4)      Have an open group chat

Again, team bonding is crucial when working at home. Bamboo HR suggests maintaining a group chat via Google Hangout or Slack to keep the communication going while at home. This allows more casual conversation, but also an easier exchange of information that would otherwise only require someone to stop by another’s desk.


This new workplace environment is unlike any we have faced before. Utilizing your resources and leaning on your team is the key to success in isolation.


To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards, click here.

To register for our virtual conference in September, click here.




Tags:  casual  drop in  recognition 

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Takeaways: Why Most Recognition Programs Don’t Work (And What to Do about it)

Posted By Ava Ewald, Wednesday, April 29, 2020

In RPI’s April 2020 webinar, Dr. Paul White spoke about a few of the reasons why a recognition program may fail. While recognition programs may have great intentions, the way they are received may be a different story. In this webinar, Dr. White showed the importance of paying close attention to your recognition program.


1.       Employees’ attitudes toward unsuccessful recognition programs

Dr. White explained that he has spoken with many employees who have negative opinions of their employer’s recognition programs. One of those opinions, he explained, is that the employer only created the recognition program to check a box, not necessarily to appreciate their employees. Creating a recognition program is not enough — you need to tune in to employees’ emotions and ideas in order to properly recognize them.


2.       Recognition versus appreciation

While both are necessary in a recognition program, Dr. White made it clear that recognition and appreciation are not the same thing. Recognition is for specific actions or job performance, while you appreciate an employee for their overall value or qualities. Dr. White stressed that both need to be part of a recognition program for it to be successful. The #1 factor in determining an employee’s enjoyment of their job comes from how appreciated they feel.


3.       The 4 conditions of feeling valued

Dr. White also shared the core conditions of a successful, impactful recognition program. First, the recognition must be regular. If you recognize an employee once, that employee will not continue to feel appreciated. Second, they must be appreciated in the way they want. For example, some people do not enjoy being recognized in front of a group. Taking the extra step to make sure they enjoy an event or item will make the recognition much more impactful. Third, you must individualize recognition. Make sure you understand your employee’s hobbies, favorite sports teams, musicians, etc., to add a personal touch to the recognition. Finally, while you may be authentic in your recognition, you need to make sure that it is received that way. If your employee thinks you are just checking that recognition box, you will not make an impact.


Tips for Appreciating Remote Workers:

Research shows that remote employees often have different preferences for appreciation than their in-person counterparts. Now that many employees are remote, these preferences are important to keep in mind. Dr. White explained that remote employees often prefer quality time over gifts, words of encouragement, etc. Finding time to have one-on-ones with employees will allow them to feel supported and heard.

-          Take advantage of video conferencing when possible. While nothing can fully substitute in-person communication, seeing facial expressions and hearing voices promotes human connection.

-          Do not skip the small talk. Make time to connect with employees about non-work things.

-          Move forward by discussing potential positive outcomes for your organization.


Overall, now more than ever is it important to maintain genuine, human connection. If you would like to checkout Dr. White’s full webinar, click here.


Learn about RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards here

Register for our virtual conference in September.



Tags:  employee appreciation  recognition  webinar 

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