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Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Recognition During a Crisis

Recognition is vital to your organization’s culture, engagement, and overall pulse. But unfortunately, it can be one of the first things to be forgotten when dealing with urgent issues, like the current public health crisis. With so much fear surrounding the virus, MTM has a few tips on how to get the most out of your workday and still recognize your employees during this time.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”Fred Rogers


Focus on the positive. Keep the words of Mr. Rogers in mind and look for the helpers.

Recognize for helping behaviors during times of a crisis. Teamwork, leadership, going above and beyond, stepping up to assist others, working longer hours, etc. are common themes, and great behaviors to use to recognize in your team.

Offer flexibility towards yourself and others. Schedules can change rapidly during a crisis. With kids out of school, businesses closing or working limited hours, and news updating every hour, flexibility and patience are vital to maintaining normalcy in your day. 

Plan to take your meetings via phone or webinar. When the crisis is related to public health, social distancing is a good way to protect yourself and your team. Whenever possible, choose to take meetings over the phone or webinar instead of in-person. 

Educate your team on proper procedures and protocols. Post proper procedures around the office and send them via email. Make sure to educate your team on current statuses and share out a corporate protocol for handling the situations. Communicate early and communicate often. 

Set “news-free” times throughout the workday. Stepping away from the news, even if just for short periods of time, can be very beneficial to productivity and mental health. Try to set a “news-free” time for a few hours each day to focus on work and to limit consuming exposure. Be aware and smart, but also be aware of needed breaks. 

Work from home whenever possible. Especially pertinent during a public health crisis, working from home can allow employees to focus more on the work itself instead of getting distracted with fear-based gossip around the office. 

Take the extra time to de-stress. Stress-relieving activities like yoga, art, or watching a favorite TV show are vital to lowering stress levels during a prolonged crisis period. Make extra time to incorporate them into your schedule.



Forget to recognize your employees for the role they play. Whether it’s helping rebuild after a hurricane, working extra hours at the hospital, or just holding down the fort at work, recognize your employees for prioritizing what matters to the community. 

Compromise sleep. Getting adequate sleep is vital to your overall well being, including reducing stress levels and increasing immunity. Sleep is extra important during a time of crisis and stress. 

Focus on the negative. Despite what may be happening in the world around us, lives go on and there is still so much good. Ask your team to begin each meeting with a piece of good news, such as a new grandbaby on the way, or by sharing the best part of their weekend.

Panic. During any time of crisis, there will be panic.  Remain calm, and try not to add more fear to the situation.  Focus on your work, and recognize your employees for doing the same. Fight fear with facts. 


While the world may seem like a scary place during times of crisis, it doesn’t have to be for your employees. Stay safe and healthy, focus on the positive, and reward your teammates for taking care of your community in the best way they can. Share any additional do’s or don’ts below!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thank you MTM Recognition. One thing I am learning is to try my best to not add to the chaos. Take a step back, read the audience and use common sense and empathy. This is a good time to create trust in your business relationships.

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