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5 ways to show employee appreciation during uncertain times

Covid-19 has swiftly changed the world in all facets, from people’s personal lives, to the way businesses are operating, to routine changes with children not at school, financial struggles as well as the vast majority of people now working remotely from home. Employees are under a lot of strain, trying to fit in a full day’s work with similar demand, while simultaneously managing children, homeschooling, household chores and the likes.

More so than ever before, employers need to show support, care and appreciation for all their teams to ensure a sense of morale continuity, raised productivity levels and commitment. Employees are feeling afraid and unsure of what the future holds. They are full of fears and anxieties and don’t have the same structure and support which an office and face to face interaction naturally provides. It’s so important to start to understand the nuances behind engaging and truly appreciating your newly created virtual teams. Virtual working poses a lot more new opportunities and threats and companies need to keep abreast to ensure it’s a win-win relationship for both parties. Employees may prefer the flexibility to accommodate their other immediate pressures, yet employee motivation and enthusiasm levels have the potential to plummet.

Employees need to know they are valued, appreciated and not forgotten. Companies need to work extra hard in creating and fostering this sense of appreciation and engagement during these tough times. With an unlimited amount of distractions at home, from children moaning, to constantly watching the news and social media feeds or taking extra-long breaks with no corporate monitoring, it’s no wonder disengagement and demotivation emerge and unfortunately, often trump over commitment, zest and eagerness to excel.

Thus, ensuring the grounds for employee appreciation and recognition is fundamental to organizational success in today’s climate. Below are five ways in which companies and managers can show that much needed appreciation:

1. Use technology for face to face interaction
Try keep the appreciation process as similar as possible. Use online tools such as Zoom or Skype, and make the same fuss and attention as you would in the office. Use this as an opportunity for everyone to socialise, connect, each have a turn congratulating or highlighting great moments together. This face to face element may also help alleviate the feelings of loneliness and isolation which a lot of employees are facing at home. The use of technology will help bring the team together in a shared and unified manner.

2. Respect and trust your employees
With so much uncertainty happening at the moment, it’s so critical to show your employees you trust them and respect that they are getting their jobs done remotely. This will show the utter most appreciation towards them. This non-verbal appreciation says more than constantly checking in and employees will feel more empowered and engaged. With every business grappling to hold onto any little bit of control they can get their hands onto, try not micromanage and watch every move over your teams’ shoulders. Employees need the autonomy and freedom to get their work complete in a timely fashion and allowances need to be implemented now to incorporate home working, coupled with new distractions. In order to maintain a culture of engagement (especially distantly), give your team the space they need and be available to support as and when it is needed.

3. The gift of giving
Why not consider making a donation to a charity which is close to your employees’ heart in their name? If a particular employee hits a milestone, shows exemplary behaviour or goes beyond the call of duty, especially whilst working from home, donate in their honour. This is a fantastic way to show you care about what’s important and meaningful to the employee. There are so many needy charities which could do with some extra funding in this hardship, so it’s a win-win all round.

4. Online recognition platforms
Back to basics: one of the most simplistic, yet much needed, human necessity is to feel appreciated, recognised and acknowledged. A lack of recognition and appreciation has serious negative consequences and can create a wave of disengagement, disloyalty and decreased productivity levels. Employees are craving this encouragement and acknowledgment especially while trying to work in a normal capacity, while the external world is so uncertain. So, whether it's informal recognition such as taking the time to say a simple "thank you" or "well done" via a Zoom call with the team, or a short video which can be emailed out, or a formal reward and recognition programme, they both can do wonders. Employees will feel motivated and passionate and their drive and desire to do more and more will duplicate. Showing this simple appreciation will harness a great sense of warmth and passion back into the business. Invest the time and effort, as the rewards speak for themselves.

5. Provide relevant support
Stepping out of the traditional thinking box of ideas to show employee appreciation - if an employer would like to show true appreciation, care and understanding towards their employees, they should put themselves in their shoes. Covid-19 is causing tremendous personal stress, anxiety and fear. The future is uncertain and financial struggles may become more apparent. One way to provide support is to provide an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme). This will demonstrate a duty of care that you’re providing the much needed support 24/7, be it in terms of access to therapy, doctors and the like. Another way to show appreciation, would be to give employees access to a financial advisor so they can discuss their personal matters and how best to save and be better equipped whilst this pandemic is at hand. Employees will feel that their needs are taken care of, be it emotional or financial.

It’s so easy for companies to get bogged down in the ebbs and flows of day-to-day working, and now trying to maintain a virtual workforce which comes with its multitude of new challenges, but taking time out to recognise, appreciate and say thank you to the team can go a long way. 

Employee recognition can help boost employee appreciation, engagement and business success. Download our free e-book to find out more.

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