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7 Great Virtual Employee Recognition Ideas in 2023

Virtual employee recognition

Before we discuss virtual employee recognition, let’s close our eyes and picture something together. An engaged team that can maintain their dedication, even in a remote setting. That is the dream. The neat part is, that it isn’t that hard to achieve.

We’ve even covered remote employee engagement on multiple different entries of this very blog! The question of how to keep remote employees engaged flows through a separate line of questioning. It flows through the discussions of virtual employee recognition!

It doesn’t take a genius to point out the fact that no matter what it is that we do, we want to feel like the work that we are putting in is appreciated. This statement might seem like simple common sense, but with the discussion of quiet quitting rising to prominence, it seems like there is still some ground to be covered when it comes to employee recognition.

benefits of virtual employee recognition

With more and more businesses adopting remote models every day, the conventional methods of employee appreciation and recognition are slowly making way for the new and exciting world of virtual employee recognition.

This might seem a bit intimidating but this change is accompanied by some great strides in software development as well, presenting managers and people leaders with new and innovative ways of recognizing their remote employees and keeping them engaged.

In previous blog entries, we established that one of the steps to keeping remote employees engaged was through making sure they felt appreciated through effective use of recognitions.

While this may be sound advice on its own, we wanted to dive deeper into this concept and provide you with some virtual employee recognition ideas to answer some of the most highly employee recognition questions asked on the internet such as:

  • Are there any free virtual employee appreciation ideas?
  • How do you do employee recognition virtually?
  • How do you show remote employees you care?

So if you were looking for the answers to the questions of how to engage remote employees or how to practice remote employee recognition, you have come to the right place!

Using the virtual employee recognition ideas we’ve compiled below, you can both show your employees the appreciation they deserve, and have a blast doing it! So, what are some good virtual employee appreciation ideas?

Best Ideas for Virtual Employee Recognition 

Social Media Shout-Outs!

As the world surrounding us gets more and more complicated with each new social media trend, it can be helpful to go back to basics and remember why social networks work so well. No matter who we are, the second we post an update on our social media outlet of choice, we get our 15 minutes in the limelight.

Effective use of your company’s social media is absolutely crucial in virtual employee recognition. Give your employees shout-outs through your social media channels. Share their incredible success stories with the world and most importantly, tag them while you’re doing it!

This can be in the form of short interviews, success stories, updates, or simply done for the sake of it. Shouting out your employees on social media is an incredible tool for both virtual employee recognition, and forming a community.

two video game contollers on a yellow background
Thinking outside of the box and founding unorthodox solutions is a huge aspect of virtual employee recognition.

Have You Considered Video Games?

Today, there are countless ways to hold video conferences. We here at Teamflect have a huge fondness for Microsoft Teams. Many institutions however are choosing to bring an unorthodox approach. There are many games that support online-multiplayer features that make for exciting virtual communication tools.

Switching things up every once in a while and holding your conference as cowboys sitting by the fire through Red Dead Redemption 2, or discussing your talking points on the deck of your pirate ship with Sea Of Thieves, could take your virtual employee recognition game to the next level!

Remote employee engagement and recognition are all about the sense of community and communities form through partaking in activities together. This unconventional way of holding meetings just might be the thing you need to establish a strong online community.

screenshot of teamflect's recognitions page
Teamflect’s Recognitions module could work as an example.

Having A Remote Recognitions Module

How to send recognitions in Microsoft Teams

As we’ve discussed on this blog before, if you are operating with a remote model, then investing in performance management software is one of the best things you can do. One thing to look for in that performance management software is a strong employee recognition system.

Virtual employee recognition isn’t just a treat reserved for special occasions. While the previous two entries might have been more occasion specific, you also need a built-in recognition system you can use to recognize the amazing work your employees do on a regular basis.

Badges and achievements work wonders in this regard. After a task is checked off in your performance management software of choice, it is imperative that you accompany your response to it with a recognition in the form of a token or a badge. You can promote peer recognition with these badges and tokens.

You can use Teamflect’s recognition system to customize your recognitions to better reflect your company culture and feed recognitions directly into your Microsoft Teams channels to increase employee visibility. These recognitions can vary from a simple icon of a thumbs-up to a symbol representing a companywide inside joke.

Wherever you take it, one thing that has to be kept in mind is the fact that recognitions should be a part of your daily operations.

Surprise Meals

You can trust us when we say that nobody appreciates a remote model more than us here at Teamflect. But a remote setting doesn’t mean that everything has to be virtual. In fact, it amplifies the impact of non-virtual interactions beyond belief.

Sending employees care packages during business hours is an amazing method of virtual employee recognition. The content of these packages can range anywhere from conventional gift baskets, to snacks, to full-blown meals.

During a busy business day, few things can be better than a surprise box of pizza arriving at your employee’s door, with a note from you, congratulating them on a job well done.

Gamification & Virtual Employee Recognition

Since the entire premise of this list is to present some fresh ideas, we wanted to avoid some of the classics. The concept of holding virtual parties has been around since the very inception of the discussion surrounding remote employee engagement. We wanted to fuse that old but certainly reliable virtual employee recognition idea, with another one. Virtual Game Night!

The sheer amount of party games that are playable online is mind-boggling. Virtual party games such as Gartic.io and Jackbox work perfectly in remote and in-house settings alike.

If there is one disadvantage to working in a remote setting, it is the sense of isolation that comes with it. Many remote employees spend their entire tenure at a company without ever meeting their fellow teammates in person. Partaking in virtual party games such as the ones mentioned above is extremely beneficial in forming a community around your remote employees.

screenshot of teamflect's leaderboard function
Teamflect’s Leaderboard function.

A Leaderboard

Employee performance is an ongoing process. It isn’t a series of events and tasks. This is also the case with virtual employee recognition. Your approach to it needs to have two prongs. An event-based perspective and an ongoing perspective. A virtual leaderboard fits into the latter of these approaches.

In your performance management software or communication channel of choice, you can easily implement a leaderboard with the accomplishments of your employees displayed for the entire team to see.

An employee who is performing at a high level can see themselves on that virtual recognition board whenever they want and feel pride in the work they do. You can take this further any way you see fit and host events and reward programs around that leaderboard, customizing out your virtual employee recognition practices according to your specific company culture. You know your employees better than us after all.

One-On-One’s With Management

No matter how many fun, exciting, and innovative virtual recognition ideas we list, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that works better than a simple one-on-one meeting with an executive. Taking the time for interactions on a personal level works better than a thousand virtual game nights.

Inviting employees to a one-on-one with executives, simply for the purpose of recognizing their accomplishments and personally telling them how impressed their management is with their work is priceless.

We here at Teamflect are huge believers in feeding recognitions into one-on-one meetings. Even if the purpose of the meeting isn’t for the sake of employee recognition, applying recognitions to every one-on-one meeting you conduct is a great idea.

Virtual Employee Appreciation Benefits 

It’s no surprise that showing appreciation and recognizing the hard work of your employees comes with its own benefits. In the virtual work environment we are doomed to get used to since the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to find different virtual employee recognition ideas is inevitable.

According to Harvard Business Review, 72% of organizations participated in a study suggested that implementing recognition increases employee engagement. That means a simple thank you or another type of recognition can go a long way when it comes to engagement and retention.

So, what are the benefits of virtual employee appreciation?

1. Increases employee engagement

Employee engagement is defined as the “level of enthusiasm and dedication an employee feels towards their job”. And when organizations asked the best way to boost employee engagement in a Psychometrics study, they got the same answer from 58% of the respondents:

Give recognitions.

-58% of your employees.

Therefore, the equation of high levels of employee engagement and morale in the workplace is recognition + appreciation. If you use virtual employee recognition to let your employees know that you value their contribution, you’ll have the most engaged employees ever. (Hopefully!)

Colorful Minimalist Linear Steps Circular Diagram 3 1

2. Reduces employee turnover

We love data. Data is love, data is life. Because numbers don’t lie, and numbers are clearly showing that creating a culture of recognition in your workplace reduces employee turnover rate.

A study done by Achievers shows that 44% of employees leave their current workplaces because they are not getting enough recognition and appreciation. That means if you’re not giving them enough credit, your employees will find another job that will do.

3. Increases productivity

While thinking about the happiness and well-being of your employees, you should also consider the performance throughout your organization. And boy, is there a better way to boost productivity other than recognition!

Deloitte conducted a study to show that organizations with recognition programs have 14% higher levels of productivity compared to organizations that don’t. And don’t underestimate that 14% increase since that can show itself as a 2% growth in margins!

Conclusion

The virtual employee recognition ideas we’ve listed above are easier said than done. As we emphasized multiple times in this article, every company is unique in its own way. The applicability of some of the ideas in this article will most certainly vary from one workplace to the next.

The important thing to keep in mind is that virtual employee recognition, no matter the circumstances should be a massive part of any company working in a remote setting, especially now more than ever with remote employee engagement being one of the key factors in employee retention.

Written by Emre Ok

Emre is a content writer at Teamflect who aims to share fun and unique insight into the world of performance management.

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