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  1. Blog
  2. Working During Coronavirus

24 Creative Ways to Recognize Employees During the Pandemic

Thanks a million

Woman holding "give thanks" sign
Photo courtesy of Simon Maage

This article is part of InHerSight's Working During Coronavirus series. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, find helpful advice here on working remotely, job hunting remotely, dealing with anxiety and stress, and staying safe at work if you have to be on-site.

Employee Appreciation Day is March 5. On this day, many employers will take the time to recognize and celebrate employee successes. Studies have shown a direct connection to improved performance, greater engagement, and better relationships between managers and team members when employees receive praise and recognition.

It should come as a surprise to no one that employee appreciation is especially important this year, while we are still in the thick of a global pandemic, the aftermath of a polarizing election season, and continued civil unrest, and while many are still working remotely. 

Read more: How Perceived Value Affects Your Employees & What You Can Do About It

Sarah Morgan, CEO of BuzzARooney, LLC, says, “Working through a pandemic is difficult and people are feeling hopeless. Especially this time of year when it’s less sunlight, it’s colder, and the weather doesn’t permit us to get out and about in the ways you want, complicating things further. Many people haven’t seen their coworkers outside of video calls, so doing something to show your employees that they’re appreciated despite the isolation, is crucial!” 

If you’re at a loss for creative ideas to show your employees appreciation, this following list is a great starting point.

Spread the kindness

Jazmine Wilkes, an HR Generalist, says employees in her organization recognized a need for appreciation a few months ago. “We wanted to keep employees engaged and remember all that their coworkers were doing for each other,” she says. “Being that we were no longer seeing each other face to face every day, we asked employees to send in an appreciation for someone else. For example, one employee sent an email to HR telling us how awesome their coworker had been at helping them solve an issue and she appreciated it tremendously. HR then took the post, jazzed it up a little, and posted it to the HRIS for all employees to see! They loved seeing others giving them recognition and continued to do it for a few months.”

Celebrate remote employees

Pre-pandemic, employees could gather together for team building activities, lunches and awards ceremonies, where companies could recognize individuals and teams for their hard work and facilitate well-earned fun and relaxation. With many employees working remotely, group celebrations can be challenging, but they aren’t impossible.

Let employees reclaim their time

Your employees are mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.  The ones that are working on-site have added restraints and restrictions, and some are doing the job of multiple people. The ones working remotely are likely working longer hours. All are likely managing other full-time household responsibilities above and beyond what they were prior to March 2020. Show your appreciation by giving them a much-needed break.

Pay it forward

Like those in the movie and the book, some of your employees have been paying it forward; repaying an act of kindness by doing something for someone else. Employers can pay it forward on behalf of or in addition to the employees who are doing in various ways.

Let employees pick their perk

One of the tricky things about showing appreciation through gift-giving is falling into the trap of not putting the recipient’s wants above one’s own. Snappy offers a fully digital gifting experience that also affords their clients the opportunity to automate and measure employee satisfaction through giving. Employers can use their dashboard to automate an entire campaign for Employee Appreciation Day in which each recipient would receive a personalized email in their inbox. To open, they would scratch and reveal. They can then accept their suggested gift or select an alternative from a list of approved vendors.

Give employees a taste of normalcy

For those who are uncertain or wary about ways they can safely participate in the activities they enjoyed pre-pandemic, Blueboard offers “experiential rewards” that go above and beyond branded swag, gift cards, and cash awards. Especially during the pandemic in which many employees are sheltered in place, provide in-home experiences such as cooking classes, family-friendly rewards such as memberships to museums, learning experiences for those who are interested in learning a foreign language, and sporting experiences for those who want to get outdoors safely, just to name a few.  

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