We’ve talked before about remembering – amid the deadlines and the pressures and the non-stop busy-ness – to celebrate wins with our team members.
It takes a little extra effort to celebrate wins in a meaningful way when you have a remote team or manage a mix of on-site and remote workers – especially if you are, like most of us right now, scrambling to adapt to managing remotely while helping staff transition to working remotely in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The last thing you might be thinking about is celebrating wins! But now, when people are feeling uncertain and worried, it’s particularly important to pause and take note of all your folks who are doing their best to work hard and the ways they are making a difference.
No matter what’s happening in the world, cultivating a company culture of growth and happiness pays big dividends. Feeling appreciated and valued is great for retaining your top performers and dedicated workers (and they talk to other people, so it’s also good for recruiting!). It fosters a sense of loyalty and makes people want to work hard. And, let’s face it, it’s just good for everyone’s mental health, if we can boost spirits.
When you are thanking people (in person or remotely!), remember that a cookie-cutter approach never works as well as tailoring employee recognition to what each individual values and what makes them feel valued.
Because you’re not running into your remote workers in hallways and you can’t drop by their desks for an informal check-in, you need to make an effort to build connections and go out of your way to really communicate gratitude when it’s warranted.
Here are a few ideas for celebrating wins with your remote team members:
Make time for kudos
When you have a video conference call, set aside time to acknowledge different ways your remote workers are contributing. Recognizing their effort and dedication will mean a lot, particularly when they don’t get impromptu moments of your time in the hallway or lunchroom. A few words to acknowledge the times people go above and beyond or pull off the extraordinary will go a very long way for morale (and with this COVID-19 crisis, we can all use some extra feel-good moments!). You can also express your gratitude for small and large wins in emails, text messages and even when you’re editing a document someone submits for your approval. Remember some folks appreciate public recognition, others prefer private.
People who work together often celebrate together over a meal. You can still do this with your remote team members (and experts say takeout and food delivery are still safe during COVID-19 – and restaurant owners will appreciate your business now especially). Be creative! You can send everyone gift cards (to use when they wish) or arrange for their favourite comfort food to be delivered by a meal delivery service (Skip the Dishes, DoorDash or Uber Eats are popular most places). You could also order custom cookies from a local baker or other treats to enjoy over coffee during your next online meeting.
Send some swag
When you want to recognize hard work and effort, consider sending folks some company swag. Nothing says I’m part of a team like matching shirts, ball caps or hoodies (just make sure you check to get everyone’s preferred sizing first). You can also order useful branded gifts like water bottles, notebooks or wireless chargers or other tech devices.
As you get to know the folks on your team, you’ll get a sense of who likes coffee or tea or who loves to see the latest films. Take notes! When they’ve done something that you want to recognize, and if your organization can afford it, send them a gift card for or tickets to something that they’ll really enjoy (with a heartfelt note of gratitude from you). If you can’t afford that, try sending a thank you note and in it mention you remember they like X or Y and suggest a movie you’ve watched on Netflix, or a book you’ve read, that they might enjoy.
If someone is passionate about a particular charity, the company could make a small donation in their name or you could offer extra paid time off to people who would love nothing more than extra vacation (now, so they can have days off with the kids at home, or later when travel gets back to normal).
When you are able to select really meaningful gifts or send thoughtful, personal recommendations, it shows that you appreciate their work and take the time to choose something meaningful to give them in thanks.
Commemorate work anniversaries or other milestones
Remote workers like to have their milestones remembered the same as people who work onsite. Celebrate their important dates and accomplishments the same as you would anyone else’s, but keep in mind that while some folks love a big splash and shout out in front of everyone there are others who prefer a quiet one-to-one thank you and acknowledgement. It might take a little more effort to get to know your remote team members, but the best way to build stronger teams is to build stronger relationships.
You can celebrate wins with your remote team by throwing a big online bash (with music and maybe some competitive online games). Be creative! It doesn’t have to be an epic online party; short and sweet is fine when it’s heartfelt. When we’re through the need to self-isolate, perhaps it will be time to start planning to bring everyone together for an in-person meetup or an offsite meeting. Having an opportunity to meet in real life on a company-paid trip is great for team-building and showing gratitude for the hard work of your remote team.
What are some of the ways you’ve been celebrating wins with your remote team? Are there opportunities to show gratitude that you’ve missed? Who might be needing a bit more attention from you this week? What can you do differently to involve your remote workers in celebrating accomplishments?
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