Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Employees from a Distance

COVID-19 is taking its toll in the workplace. However, a recent Gartner report suggests that managers need to redouble their recognition efforts. One of the areas we can’t neglect is career milestones and other achievement celebrations. Keeping celebrations alive helps to invigorate organizations and inspire people. Follow these Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Employees from a Distance and keep the ritual and ceremony of celebrations happening.

  1. Commit to the celebratory side of work. Realize the importance that celebrations hold in the lives of employees. It is a way to honor people for their achievements and contributions. Do all you can to keep celebrations going even if they’re done differently.
  2. Create celebration memory triggers. Your job is to create recognition experiences and emotional connections that will make lasting memories for recognition recipients. Always set goals of what you want to have happen in the eyes of each person you celebrate.
  3. Prepare supportive visual imagery. Celebrations are very visual events. Develop creative signage to show or send to individuals to use. Take screen captures, photos, and quotes from people who can’t attend. Use visual overlays or backgrounds for videoconferencing.
  4. Consider the auditory messaging. Be specific and positive with how you communicate your recognition. Select meaningful and upbeat music to integrate with presentations. Invite all remote attendees to have noisemakers and party horn blowers to use at key points.
  5. Are there tactile things you need. Ensure awards or gifts are shipped well in advance so recipient has them. Build in opportunities for people to applaud. Design unifying and personalized items for everyone to wear or wave like badges or posters, etc.
  6. What about the sense of smell? Remote celebrations miss out on the olfactory senses such as food. Order cakes from a local bakery or have everyone prepare cupcakes ahead of time. If the recipient likes flowers send them flowers on the day of the virtual event.
  7. Put action into the virtual event. Orchestrate virtual attendees to wave hands and shout out on cue. Create a compilation video ahead of time of peers of the recognition recipient sending special greetings. Record a socially distanced parade with music and banners.
  8. Planning requires extra time. Always start early with planning celebrations from a distance especially with technology. Start with your purpose and your goal. How does the organization want to be represented and by who? Think of a theme to guide preparations.
  9. Orchestrate but allow improvisation. While much of celebrating from a distance requires detailed planning, make sure you allow some spontaneity as well. Invite award recipients to say a few words. Bring is surprise guests of family or former managers.
  10. Timing is absolutely everything. Up the delivery dates of awards, gifts, essential props and signage. Empower managers to represent your organization and make the celebration special. Enlist a team of supportive employees willing to pull off each celebration event.

Previously published by the author in Incentive Magazine.

How To Get People Ready To Give Better Recognition

If you want to get everyone giving better and more effective recognition to people, you will probably have to educate and train them on how to do that the right way.

However, before you even start any education and training to teach recognition giving skills, there are a few things you should do beforehand to guarantee success. These preparatory steps will help you to get people ready to give better recognition. 

Check out this list and put at least one step into practice this coming month. 

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How To Gain Greater Confidence With Giving Recognition

Nathaniel Branden, author of The Power of Self-Esteem, defined confidence as, “our ability to think and to cope with the basic challenges of life.” He said that “confidence is our right to be happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and wants and to enjoy the fruits of our efforts.”

Often a lack of confidence comes from low self-esteem, insecurity, and self-doubt.

In the work setting, a lack of confidence can affect us in many ways. And in recognizing employees, it can stop you in your tracks from not giving recognition to deserving colleagues and employees.

Let’s look at various ways to improve the level of confidence with giving effective and meaningful recognition.

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How To Better Understand Your Leader’s Point of View

It is important to create a persona or profile of the leader or leaders you report to for when you need to present to them or gain approval on a proposal. Leaders think differently than rank-and-file employees. It’s these qualities that set them apart.

Read past talks they have given and check out the latest annual reports to gain insights about them. 

Talk to people who know them the best like their assistants and other managers who have had dealings with them.

Gather details about their background and where they have worked along with the job positions they have held.

Know their motivations and pain points that will help you understand their priorities and how they make decisions.

What do you know about their personal life, significant others in their life, family and so forth? What are their hobbies and interest than might give a human connection for you to relate to?

How will understanding your leader’s point of view help you with your recognition strategy and planning?

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Why You Have To Convince Leaders About Recognition

In your role, as a leader or administrator of employee recognition programs and practices, you will often find yourself having to convince, and influence leaders, on recognition programs, budgets, and strategizing recognition.

Human resource leaders, as well as recognition professionals, have not necessarily helped the recognition cause along the way.

For too long, recognition professionals have been relegated to the position of party planners and balloon-blower-uppers, which instilled a negative perception of our role. Senior leaders often see recognition as just trinkets and trash, primarily because of the limited budgets they’ve allocated to recognition, which limits what is available for you to spend. Then there’s the persistent argument, that career milestone recognition is a waste of money because these programs don’t move performance and there’s no ROI from them.

How can you overcome these negative stereotypes? What can you do to convince your senior leaders otherwise? (more…)

It’s All In The Presentation

What must you do when you present awards at an awards ceremony?

Presenting your company’s awards at an awards ceremony can be a nerve racking and terrifying experience. This can feel especially so if you’ve never hosted an awards event before.

There could be hundreds of people watching you. One major mistake and you’ll see the gossip spread for days about your poor performance.

You know you need to master the art of presenting your awards. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind. (more…)

How To Win a Leader’s Commitment and Buy-In for Recognition

We keep hearing recognition managers and practitioners expressing frustration with being able to get executive “buy-in” for employee recognition initiatives.

This hits home when people are seeking budget approvals before proceeding with a new or evolving program.

Before you can ever get senior leader buy-in and financing for a program you must first gain their personal commitment. Commitment is personal, emotional and long term.

 Buy-in is simply transactional, monetary and short-term.

Your job is to get senior level support for making employee recognition an effective organizational strategy…plain and simple.

Follow these 5 simple strategies to get senior leaders support for employee recognition. (more…)

How To Overcome Your Fear of Giving Recognition

If you’ve rarely received positive feedback or expressions of affection from your family growing up, then you may have a hard time giving recognition in the workplace.

Or perhaps you were not the most stellar athlete at school and did not have top academic marks warranting any special awards.

When you haven’t received much recognition as a child, youth or young adult, you can easily lack confidence in acknowledging and praising those you work with.

That’s when giving people recognition ends up as another item on the “To Do” list that never gets done.

You can almost fear giving people recognition.

Today I will give you some pointers on how you can gain confidence to overcome your fears. I will show you how to give meaningful praise and recognition. (more…)

Here’s How To Create Really Meaningful Celebrations

Have you ever received an award or some tangible recognition and felt it was a totally rushed experience? Or maybe you felt the recognition was not even representative of what you accomplished?

When these things happen it doesn’t make you feel very recognized because you were not celebrated in a meaningful way.

In this post I will show you how to ensure the awards and other recognition you give to employees are meaningful and celebratory for each recipient. (more…)

Squeeze In Some Recognition Time, Right Now!

I keep hearing people have no time for recognition.

Time is the number one reason given by managers around the world for not recognizing the people they work with.

Yet, when I use a timer to time people on how long it takes to praise or acknowledge someone, it takes very little time to give recognition.

So…lets squeeze in some recognition time, right now!

Are you ready? (more…)