Top 10 Ways to Recognize Remote Workers (2010 version)

This post was originally written for Incentive Magazine back in 2010. It’s amazing what can happen in a decade, with so many work from home employees due to the pandemic. Naturally, this only applies to knowledge workers, certain professionals, information technology, and other office workers able to perform most of their job functions at home.

Addenda are made when needed to comply with our current pandemic health prevention or restrictions.

Managing people who work at a distance from a company office is a far different situation than managing those we work with in person.  Rather than trying to manage a remote worker the same ways as you would someone in the next office, try these top 10 ways to build trust, inspire confidence and recognize your remote employees.

  1. Keep everyone connected.  Make it easy for on-site colleagues to get in touch with remote workers. Telephone systems, instant messaging and voice calling over internet applications enable remote workers to feel connected and a part of the team. [Now we have videoconferencing tools such as Zoom which was founded in 2011.]
  2. Recognize expectations met. Remote workers consistently meet deadlines and expected levels of performance and should be recognized as valuable assets for their focused dedication. Make time to quickly phone them or leave after work voice mails to specifically praise them for their dependable track record.
  3. Encourage transparency.  Support remote workers personal needs with family and life by developing transparent sharing of schedules and appointments.  Just knowing where they are at any given time helps build trust with the rest of the team who are used to more traditional work schedules.  [COVID-19 has required multiple partners, spouses, and children to be home together and juggling personal needs and use of technology and internet.]
  4. Get information out at lightning speed.  Ensure your remote team members not only have access to the same formal and informal sources of information as their colleagues in the office but that they even get it before the internals do.
  5. Schedule weekly conversations.   Remote workers are often reluctant to seek help from their managers, human resource experts, or external sources. Set up a regular day and time to discuss workloads and assignments, ask and answer questions and concerns to maintain an open line of communication.
  6. Offer time management training. The greatest challenge for remote workers is balancing priorities to get tasks completed.  This training should include the unique challenges of dealing with family, friends, and unusual interruptions; and the feelings of guilt associated with working excessive hours. [Many new work from home employees need guidance and productivity tips to deal with isolation and work pressures.]
  7. Declare weekends free.  Create clear guidelines and expectations regarding response to e-mails and assignments on weekends.  Dedicated remote workers can easily fall into the trap of working 24/7.  Encourage shut-down and “off times” with standards on exceptions to the rule to help prevent burnout.
  8. Do remotely special things. Think about what home office employees experience on a regular basis. Now realize what remote workers are missing out on and be creative on trying to recreate that in their lives – sending edible flower arrangements on anniversaries; personalized pens and latest office gizmos; and taking them out for lunch on a specially arranged visit to their hometown location. [While you might not have the freedom to send tangible items, make sure you show them care and concern, and give what you can to support them.]
  9. Empower workers for productivity.  Provide training and mentoring on overcoming the challenges of working remotely. Training will help make remote workers more productive and more satisfied with their working experience.  Provide the choice of offering this training remotely or in-class at the company location. [There are multiple sources for online training now since in-class instructions is prohibited.]
  10. Managers must learn how to trust. Managers must learn and adapt to managing the ever-growing virtual employees now in excess of 50 million.  Learning how to create high-trust relationships must become a core skill for managing the almost invisible powerhouse of remote workers.

Recognition Reflection: What practices have you started doing to better appreciate your new “work from home” employees?

How Saying Thank You Can Be Meaningful or Empty

Saying thank you to someone should be a wonderful expression and witness of our sincere appreciation and gratitude for a person and/or something they have done for us or others.

But what if the speaker of thanks is being manipulative with those two words that many of us long to hear? How do you know if they spoke the words with authenticity? Are they meaningful?

Let’s first examine what the words “thank you” mean. 

(more…)

One Thing You Need To Improve Your Recognition

In researching recognition practices and the positive behaviors and principles associated with meaningful recognition, I have identified at least forty essential behaviors needed for giving recognition seen as authentic and effective in the eyes of employees.

My colleague, Dr. Charles Scherbaum, and I have even developed a Recognition Skills Assessment that assesses an individual’s strengths and weaknesses around these researched behaviors.

But over and above all these behaviors, skills, and practices, what’s the one thing you can do to improve your recognition giving abilities? (more…)

How To Get Your Managers Consistently Giving Recognition

Getting managers to consistently give meaning, memorable, and motivational recognition is going to take time and a desire for them to want to improve.

Leave those managers alone who say they don’t want to change. For them, it is a matter of looking at their engagement, performance, and retention results. Then their manager can hold them accountable for having to improve when their performance reviews are conducted.

Your time can be better spent helping those who want to improve and show them how to become better recognizers. (more…)

It’s Amazing What Happens When You Put People First

Vineet Nayar, an Indian business executive, author and philanthropist, and former Chief Executive Officer of HCL Technologies, authored a critically acclaimed management book a little while back titled “Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down”.

 My colleague and friend, S. Max Brown, had the opportunity to interview Vineet Nayar in Delhi, India for our former Internet radio show, Real Recognition Radio.

HCL Technologies has over 65,000 global employees in 26 different countries in the technology services industry.

Under Vineet’s leadership and vision, HCL changed from a workplace with high attrition and low attraction to being named the Number One Best Employer in India and Best Employer in both Asia and the United Kingdom.

How did recognition and appreciation in the workplace happen because of Vineet’s transformational thinking?

I’ll share some insights I gleaned from the interview. (more…)

Why Recognition Starts from the Top

ABC Company initiated new recognition programs over a year ago but somehow managers and employees are just not engaging with them. Participation rates are low and there is not much traction yet.

A major healthcare organization knows recognition is very low from reports of the latest employee engagement survey. Trying to get managers to find time to acknowledge their staff has been a real mindset challenge.

In both scenarios senior leadership was weak in leading the way with personally giving recognition and encouraging others to do so.

I will show you how you can get leaders at the top to lead the way with recognition giving. (more…)

How to Develop Trust for Authentic Recognition

What it takes to be authentic with recognition giving

How do you really create authentic, or “real”, recognition?

Managers and employees alike are always concerned with what “others” are thinking when they attempt to give positive feedback to a fellow worker.

The secret behind giving Authentic Recognition is building trust first. That way the giving of recognition is always perceived and received correctly as it was intended. (more…)