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Effective Employee Recognition In a Hybrid Work Environment
After multiple years of constant change, weekly policy updates, and never knowing what to expect, it finally feels like things are settling back into a comfortable pattern. But it seems that pattern may be different for everyone. Some employees return to the office full-time, others continue working from home. But the largest group of employees are favoring a hybrid work schedule – part-time spent in the office and part-time at home. While this can make for a happy employee, it can also leave you scrambling for a recognition program that meets the needs of your shifting hybrid workforce. Setting up your organization for success in a new hybrid work environment can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are seven ways to create a cohesive recognition program and foster a sense of connectedness among your employees.
- Designate Certain Days as “In-office” for the Team
The key reason many people choose a hybrid work schedule over working exclusively from home is for the social interaction with their team. Working in the office together has many benefits – helping build feelings of connectedness among coworkers and decreasing communication issues that result from a lack of in-person communication. By designating certain days as “in-office” for the team (even if it’s just once every other week), your departments can build up their relationships with their coworkers and maybe even create those ever-important friendships in the workplace.
- Utilize In-office Days for Parties and Events
While recognizing employees over Zoom is possible and even fun (check out more tips here), recognition gains an extra oomph when conducted in person and in front of peers. After selecting specific days of the week or month to have the entire team in the office, utilize those days to celebrate your colleagues. Bring in coffee and bagels to start the morning off right, host a themed potluck lunch, or even celebrate a work-approved “Happy Hour Friday” by breaking out the La Croix’s and turning on some music.
- Offer an Online Social Recognition Program
Online social recognition programs like MTM’s Carousel can offer a great way for hybrid teams to connect, whether they are in the office or in their home office. Badges can be sent from your desktop or your phone via the mobile app, and text message notifications help your employees to be recognized anywhere, anytime for their good deeds. Ask your team to stick to a goal of sending at least two badges every week to share their gratitude for their coworkers.
- Offer Out-of-the-office Events and Activities to Increase Community
Out of the office events and activities are another great way to increase community for employees who may not have as frequent of opportunities to build up relationships with their colleagues. Think of out-of-the-office activities like a crash course in coworker friendships. Great options include lunches out on a Friday afternoon, bowling after work, or even a book club. Pro tip: make sure to find something inclusive of all members of your team!
- Have Your Team Determine Their Enneagram Type
The Enneagram, a modern-day Meyers-Briggs personality assessment, can be incredibly useful in the workplace for determining each member of your team’s specific work style and recognition preferences. In order to create a better understanding of how you can recognize each person on your team (whether they are working in the office, primarily remote, or a hybrid of both), ask your team to take the Enneagram Quiz, then listen for their opinion and feedback on the results they received. Check out our blog post for more tips on Recognition by Enneagram Type!
- Ask Fun Questions to Help Create Connections and Share Ideas
One of the quickest and easiest ways to recognize your team and allow them to share a moment in the spotlight is by designating a “Fun question” at the start of each weekly department check-in. Asking about desert island albums, favorite road trip snacks, and even your hidden talent can be a great way to recognize your employees and allow them to connect with their peers in a low-stress environment.
- Include Social Interactions with New Coworkers in Your Onboarding Program
One of the most difficult situations for new employees right now is the lack of communication and team building for recently onboarded employees. For many colleagues who have worked together for years before going remote, a baseline friendship and mutual respect exist between colleges. They may have had years of hearing about one another’s favorite shows, and leaders may have been able to visibly see how an employee reacts to public recognition vs. private recognition and their other recognition preferences. But building up this same level of comfort and understanding can be significantly more difficult when an employee does not have the same opportunity to build bonds with coworkers in the office. When onboarding new employees, pay special attention to ways in which you can incorporate introductions, in-person social interactions, team-building exercises, and even a worksheet of recognition preferences.
We know adapting to yet another new normal can be scary and challenging, but utilizing these tips may help to build up those connections among team members and make recognizing your new hybrid workforce even easier. Leave a comment below to let us know of any other tips you’ve found helpful!
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