In the post-pandemic workforce, an increasing number of teams have employees working partly or completely remote. Despite the increasing numbers, organizations still struggle to maintain inclusivity when it comes to rewards and recognition. Remote workers don’t benefit from that free lunch for the office or other localized staff benefits.
It’s easier for your remote workforce to feel left out and unseen in comparison to the in-office workforce, generating a “them versus us” mentality. You can increase satisfaction and retention by providing digital rewards that aren’t location-based. Rewards should reach beyond cash, as offering money doesn’t reinforce brand loyalty and can become something your employees regularly expect.
So we’ve listed some ideas for providing your remote workers with digital rewards and recognition that will communicate to them that they are valued, their work is appreciated, and you want them to feel included. If you’re looking for an employee engagement software to keep track of employee rewards, use our Product Selection Tool. Answer a short survey, and you’ll get a customized list of employee engagement tools that will meet your needs.
5 digital rewards and recognitions for remote workers
1. Gift cards
Go beyond providing a gift card that is considered cash, such as a Visa prepaid card, to reward employees. The IRF found that workers typically blend a cash reward with their income and use it to pay the utilities, buy groceries, and the like. These are unmemorable and unemotional transactions.
Give a gift card that an employee will value, such as one to their favorite restaurant, coffee shop, or movie theater. Memorability is one of the main reasons why non-cash rewards are more effective than cash. Giving a specific gift card facilitates an experience, and that is much more meaningful to employees than paying bills.
As an additional benefit, gift cards are scalable for any budget. While a $500 Visa gift card may not be in the cards for your business to hand out, a $50 gift card to a baby store may mean much more to a new parent.
2. Community recognition
79% of employees say recognition makes them work harder. Employees are more likely to push for greater success when they know they will be recognized by their whole team. 1:1 recognition has its place, but go the extra mile and celebrate an employee’s accomplishments with their whole team.
This fosters a supportive environment and allows fellow team members to also recognize the employee with the “good job!” and “great work!” praises that are likely to stick with them.
Fostering community with a remote workforce
An employee who feels appreciated is more likely to go above and beyond for the company. But a dispersed workforce makes company or department-wide recognition difficult. Co-founder of Custom Neon Jessica Munday says that creating an environment that workers are proud to be part of, where they feel appreciated and valued, will tear down the “them versus us” mentality. To foster community and appreciation, Munday suggests,
“There are lots of options online the whole team can enjoy, and with careful planning, you can get everyone online at the same time! Virtual outings can include paint and sip classes, virtual bingo, and peak of the week get togethers — sharing high points of the week. These high points could be increased sales, innovative design, or improved Google rankings. It’s important every department gets their time to shine and appreciates that the success of the company relies on the efforts of everyone.”
3. Spotify or Apple Music subscription
At TechnologyAdvice, we have a dedicated channel in Slack for sharing favorite (and most hated) songs. The chances are a large percentage of your workforce uses Apple Music or Spotify for powering through the afternoon or focusing. For remote workers, they may use it to drown out the noise of cohabitants or other noise-making distractions.
Nothing is worse than having your focus ruined by an ad playing in the middle of your favorite playlist. Give your employees the gift of a year-long premium account to their music streaming service of choice as a thank-you for their hard work. A reward like this is both meaningful and practical, as these streaming services are part of many employees’ daily routines.
4. Technology and workspace upgrades
A remote worker’s home office set up is important to their productivity. While those in-office may benefit from the occasional refurbishments, remote workers won’t get a new desk or chair unless they pay for them.
Consider providing remote workers with a stipend for their home workspace. Cody Crawford, co-founder of Low Offset, says his workforce uses the stipend for whatever they choose: a desk, chair, plants to add greenery to the space, or even a fresh coat of paint. And offering a stipend doesn’t only benefit the worker. Crawford says,
“They will not only love the gesture, but you’ll get a more productive workforce.”
Allowing employees to purchase a second monitor, noise-cancelling headphones, or whatever they feel is necessary shows you care about what stimulates productivity for them.
5. Virtual course or class
Most of your employees want to keep learning and growing, especially those who are high performers. Even if it’s not directly related to their job, offer to pay for an online course of the employee’s choosing. This could be a course in an area they’re passionate about, or a course that provides an official qualification at the end, so they have better credentials for advancement.
Investing in an employee’s learning and development, whether work or non-work related, shows you value their interests and want to push them in developing the skills that matter to them. And it never hurts to have more skilled workers, right?
Invest in an employee engagement solution to manage rewards
If you’re tailoring your recognition and rewards to your employees, you’ll need a solution to keep track of it all. Use our Product Selection Tool to find an employee engagement software that will allow you to make the most of your rewards. After answering a few questions, you’ll get an unbiased list of software tailored to your company’s needs.