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5 Innovative Ways to Show Appreciation for Remote Employees

Luke Kreitner
12/12/23 5:21 AM

Employee recognition is highly regarded as one of the most effective methods of motivating individuals to achieve optimal performance and increase productivity. 

Studies have shown that 79 percent of employees are motivated to work harder when they receive recognition, while 78 percent report that recognition improves their productivity and ability to adapt to change (Source: Society of Human Resource Management). 

With the growing prevalence of remote work arrangements and reduced face-to-face interactions in today's business landscape, it is crucial for companies to explore innovative ways to reward and motivate their remote employees. 

Here are 5 ways to build a great virtual employee appreciation program, starting with adopting a robust recognition platform.


1. Make remote employee appreciation simple with the right solution

Implementing an effective virtual employee appreciation program starts with establishing a centralized hub for all employees to give and receive recognition. Seek out an employee recognition platform that offers a wide range of features to engage team members, fostering a culture of appreciation. This includes enabling all team members to provide both social and monetary recognition aligned with company values, a rewards catalog featuring enticing options for your workforce, and seamless integrations with the tools commonly used by employees.


2. Say thanks with frequent social recognition

Encourage frequent social recognition as a way to express gratitude. Social recognition encompasses various forms of appreciation that do not involve monetary rewards. This can range from sending a thank-you message in a team Slack channel to recognizing someone's accomplishments during a daily standup meeting. Making social recognition a regular practice cultivates connections among remote workers, fostering their sense of belonging to both each other and the company's overarching mission. In fact, companies that invest in social recognition are twice as likely to witness enhanced individual employee performance. Acknowledging outstanding work motivates employees to maintain their momentum and inspires their colleagues to do the same.


3. Give redeemable reward points

Enhance the impact of social recognition by coupling it with redeemable reward points. To incorporate non-monetary recognition effectively into your virtual employee appreciation program, opt for a platform that includes a points-based reward system. This allows team members to accumulate reward points on a weekly or monthly basis. These points can be utilized when providing social recognition, and recipients can redeem them for preferred rewards from the platform's catalog. Reward points are particularly effective as they engage the entire organization and provide unrivaled flexibility. Rather than relying on the recipient's preferences for a specific gift, reward points guarantee that they can always choose a meaningful reward of their own liking.


4. Provide incredible incentives

Incentive programs are an effective strategy for motivating employee behavior. For instance, sales teams often organize contests awarding representatives who close the most deals or deals with the highest annual contract value. Incentives can go beyond occasional gifts and include referral programs or tuition reimbursement. The versatility of incentives extends to remote employees as well, with options like digital incentives such as health and wellness challenges, flexible online working hours, or support for professional development. The choice of incentives should align with your company's values and culture to optimize employee motivation.


5. Personalize recognition

Personalized recognition significantly enhances its impact. A generic message of thanks lacks the same meaning as recognition that specifically acknowledges what the giver appreciates. Non-specific feedback may even be perceived as insincere. Explicitly stating the employee's actions and illustrating how they positively affected their team or the company fosters a greater sense of accomplishment and attachment to the organization.


Companies are compelled to continually reinvent themselves in the face of intensifying competition, creating the need to prioritize employees as core values and strategy. This shift challenges traditional employee engagement methods and gives renewed purpose to flexible reward systems. By adopting this approach, organizations can forge stronger connections with their workforce. Engaged and satisfied employees enhance internal retention and also improve the ability to attract the right professionals.

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