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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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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

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.

 

IBM

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

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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