by Brad Sytsma

With everything that’s happening right now, it can feel like the world is changing by the hour. More than ever, employees are going to be looking to corporate leadership for hope, reassurance, and as much as possible, stability.

How to Maintain Your Workplace Community

New challenges arise with the push to let employees work remotely from home and socially distance themselves, especially employees that don’t regularly or often work from home. There can be a sense of isolation, a loss of direction, and a faltering sense of purpose for employees that are uncertain of what the coming days, weeks, and months may hold.  Strategic social tools, like 360 Recognition, can help maintain a sense of purpose and community for employees that are feeling disconnected and ungrounded in their daily routines.

Find ways to replicate or replace your offline recognition habits with an equally personal online substitute. Make it fun. Make it inviting.

Recognition for remote employees, especially those that aren’t particularly comfortable being remote employees, is critical to maintaining a sense of community, responsibility, and purpose.  Managers and Team Leads should make an increased effort to praise employees for jobs well done, reassuring employees that they are still contributing.  Demonstrating success and accomplishments from across your organization provides employees with the assurance that business is continuing as usual (or as close as possible). Promoting the visibility of individual successes helps to set a level of expectation for employees that are unsure of how they’re supposed to be responding to the many distractions and upheavals we’re all experiencing right now.

Social recognition moments like birthdays and anniversaries should continue to be celebrated. Encourage employees to update their profile pictures to include their home workspace or pets. Find ways to replicate or replace your offline recognition habits with an equally personal online substitute: record personal videos, attach images to your posts. Make it fun. Make it inviting. Make it feel normal. Accomplishing these things will create an ongoing sense of community that will overcome the sense of isolation, and can only grow when we’re all back in the office.

Demonstrate Commitment to Your People

While your employees with the ability to work remotely are feeling the unique pressures of a disconnected workplace, your employees who don’t have the ability to work from home are feeling their own unique set of pressures, concerns, and uncertainties too.

For these employees that are still showing up to the workplace, putting themselves and their loved ones at greater risk of contracting this disease, and are watching people in other positions get the opportunity to take their work home, recognition is critically important to maintaining morale and productivity.  Employees in these positions are in the workplace because your business cannot survive without them. Beyond taking every measure to guarantee their safety and wellbeing, you should be looking for every opportunity to demonstrate your appreciation for their commitment to your organization.

Employees in these critical positions are in the workplace because your business cannot survive without them

Challenge your leaders to focus on celebrating the accomplishments and achievements of these employees who continue to come in to the workplace. Make sure they’re aware of your appreciation for their commitment and the sacrifices they’re making.  Many of them may be in a position where they don’t feel  that they are in a position to take time off or miss work, and when all of this is said and done, they’re going to reflect on how they were treated during this time of crisis.  The more you can do to demonstrate your appreciation for these essential staff members, the better morale is going to be now, and the better morale will remain when we come out on the other side.

When all of this is said and done, employees are going to reflect on how they were treated during this time of crisis

Prioritize Communication

The key to providing all of your employees with hope, reassurance, and a sense of stability is rooted in communication.  Plans and contingencies are only effective if employees are aware that they exist.  While email blasts and webinars are effective one-time tools, they lack the infrastructure to maintain visibility and prominence for your busy and beleaguered staff.

Consider posting up to date company policies and practices in highly visible places, if your recognition program offers communication tools, utilize those to their full potential. If something changes, update your post and send a notification out to all employees alerting them there has been a change.  Posting links to resources, benefits documentation, and important contact info in highly visible places, like your recognition program, make it that much easier for employees to see what your organization is doing to protect them and inform them on where to turn with questions. We’ve seen a number of our 360 Recognition customers making excellent use of our announcement and marquee features to keep their employees up to date and in the know on what’s happening in their workplace. Take every opportunity you have to leverage your programs’ communication tools to do the same.

Terryberry’s mission has always been to create culture within the workplace, to make your employees feel valued and appreciated.  We want to help you take care of your people. Utilizing all of the communication tools available to you, especially those that remain visible, will help employees see your leadership in action, promoting hope and reassurance, and providing that sense of stability that they’re looking for. As you focus on employee recognition as a way to create community and celebrate commitment, don’t forget that recognition begins with communication.

The most important thing for any business right now, is to take care of its employees.  It’s not enough to take care of them with benefits and updated cleaning policies. You need to focus on Community, Commitment, and Communication. Employee recognition has never been more important. Effective recognition programming can help you to take care of your employees concerns about job security and business continuity. It allows you to demonstrate that you understand that your business can’t survive without them, and communicates the importance that you place on their work.

The most important thing for any business right now, is to take care of its employees.

As we all adjust to this uncertain environment, put plans in place to use your recognition programs to focus on Communication, Community, and Commitment.  We’re all in this together.