Pop quiz: When is Employee Appreciation Day? If you answered March 5, you’d technically be right (since that’s the date employees are celebrated nationally), but I believe the answer is actually “every day.”

According to the Harvard Business Review, 82% of employed Americans don’t feel recognized for their contributions by their supervisors. And that’s a shame since employee recognition is a vital part of company culture. Why? Because it builds morale, reinforces good employee behavior and, best of all, creates a positive work environment.

At Davis & Company, we love to celebrate wins together, and we used to do that by giving out “You’re Valued” cards with handwritten notes or having quick pop-up celebrations around one another’s desks. But times have changed. Like many other companies, our organization transitioned to a mainly remote way of working. And this meant we had to rethink how we recognize colleagues and celebrate wins.

If your organization is in the same boat (and it most likely is!), here are three of our tips for showing employees a little love in this new virtual world:

1. Praise employees through company channels
At Davis & Company, our Yammer feed is always buzzing with posts celebrating our colleagues’ wins (along with lots of pet pictures and GIFs too). In fact, not a week goes by without someone taking the time to write a post praising a colleague or team for their great work.

Take advantage of your internal social channels to do the same. It’s a quick, easy way to show employees that their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Why you should give this a try:

  • Colleagues can interact with or comment on an employee’s recognition post, reinforcing your awesome company culture.

Perhaps also consider:

  • Not everyone likes to be put in the spotlight. Some employees may prefer a more private recognition moment.

2. Show employees you care with a token of appreciation
A few months ago, I answered a knock on my front door to find a deliveryman holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers. My supervisors surprised me with this thoughtful gift, and even attached a note thanking me for my hard work. It was such a simple gesture but receiving this token of appreciation meant a lot. It felt personal.

By sending flowers, treats or even a silly trophy for their desk, you’ll show employees that you’re thinking of them even if you can’t be in the office together.

Why you should give this a try:

  • Private tokens of appreciation can make the recognition feel extra special, and therefore more meaningful than a public post (plus, you can also acknowledge the employee publicly).

Perhaps also consider:

  • You’ll need to set guidelines around when employees receive this kind of recognition because, as great as it would be to send a small token of appreciation to every employee each week, it’s simply not possible.

3. Demonstrate your trust by giving employees opportunities for professional development 
As strange it sounds, one way to highlight great work is by actually giving someone even more work to do. After all, nothing says, “You’re doing a great job,” than a manager or supervisor trusting someone to take a larger role on a project.

In my experience, being asked to take the lead on an assignment is an honor. It signals that I’ve earned the opportunity to take on more responsibility. And any employee that’s passionate about what he/she does will likely feel the same.

Why you should give this a try:

  • You’ll build confidence in your employees’ skills by challenging them to take on more.

Perhaps also consider:

  • You should give positive, face-to-face feedback (over Zoom counts!) so your employees know why they’ve earned a larger role on projects.
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