How to motivate remote team members with praise and recognition

One of the dangers of managing a remote team has to do with unmotivated employees. Lack of communication, alignment, and recognition all contribute to that issue. Managers and HR practitioners need to find ways to tackle that effectively. Start with recognizing a job well done or admirable behaviors in peers.

Employee recognition and praise are powerful tools in making your employees feel valued and appreciated. Through seemingly small gestures managers can have a big impact on people’s motivation. Especially when working remotely, recognition becomes that much more important and vital to a team's health.

In a recent article, we focused on essential skills needed to effectively work remotely, and how people can optimize their learning via a Peer Review. We will focus on the skills that managers need to effectively manage remote teams. By the end of this article, you should get a good idea of how to motivate remote team members with praise and recognition.

We will share how HR can support managers with practical tips on increasing motivation through recognition.

In this article, we will focus on the following (jump ahead):

- Soft skills to effectively manage remote teams

- The importance of recognition

- Practical tips on how to increase recognition

Soft skills to effectively manage remote teams

Now that work and home life have merged, managing the “whole person” becomes central to the role of a manager.

Research has found that a decrease in work-life balance has been linked to higher unwanted turnover, lower physical and psychological well-being, lower productivity, and greater stress-related ailments. Hence, why managers need to rise to the occasion and take into account everything that is going on in people's lives right now. It's not just about output anymore.

Your managers have the opportunity to engage their teams and lead with empathy in order to emerge stronger. Everything they do for their teams today is an investment in their loyalty and performance for the future.

Three essential soft skills to effectively manage a remote team

The importance of recognition

Praise and employee recognition are powerful tools in making people feel valued and appreciated. When someone feels their work is valued, they will be motivated to keep up their good work or even improve it.

A survey done by Great Place to Work showed that 37% of respondents said that more personal recognition would encourage them to produce better work more often. Let's not forget: appreciation is a fundamental human need so it's essential that managers incorporate it into their coaching style.

Having a continuous feedback culture where managers give regular feedback means that managers will have more data points to assess performance, which ultimately leads to less rigorous and time-consuming performance reviews. If you're looking to strengthen the culture of feedback with your remote teams, make sure to check out these 6 tips to do that on a company level.

Practical tips on how to increase recognition

With the sudden change to remote work, Brussels-based Impraise customer wanted to make sure recognition was kept top of mind while working remotely. Managers were reminded of the value of feedback during their daily huddles as well as how to do this in Impraise. In addition, they had 15 minutes in their calendar blocked every week to prioritize recognition in their teams.

Let the results speak for themselves:

Across the organization, they saw a 230% increase in the number of Praises sent in the month of April. Praises sent by managers to their teams increased 20% and they also saw an increase in managers sending Praise to people outside of their teams. Overall, positive recognition increased company-wide!

What that means for you

Working with remote teams poses its challenges and disengagement is one of the biggest dangers. When colleagues don't see each other on a weekly basis, face-to-face communication tends to be less, people tend to work more in silos and typically there's less recognition going around.

That can be disastrous not only for morale but for people's motivation. It's not as easy to say "well done" to someone who you don't see on a daily basis. That's why as an HR leader you need to pay special attention to your organizations' structure and the dynamics with remote employees in particular.

Recognition plays a vital part in remote performance management and shouldn't be overlooked. Focus your efforts on making remote teams feel seen, heard, and appreciated for all the great work they're doing. That can do miracles for engagement!

If you're looking for ways to run a remote recognition campaign at your organization, how-to instructions and ideas for feedback initiatives, along with example communication and resources, make sure to check out our extensive guide about remote performance management "The Ultimate Guide to Remote Performance Management". In it, you'll find all that and a lot more practical advice on how you can support remote teams to create happy, healthy, and high-performing remote teams.

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