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How to show appreciation while managing remote workers

Written by: Andrew Clark
(View Author Bio)

Employee recognition can be very powerful in influencing key behaviours, promoting company values, and building culture. In fact, it can connect remote workforces around the globe.

Today, we have millions of employee recognition program participants in over 160 countries who can share appreciation through a nimble recognition solution that provides a cool, fun, and easy way to recognise, inspire, and retain employees. Our employee recognition program, DayMaker, incorporates social science principles specifically designed for visual impact to execute measure and analyse all of the elements of engagement programs. 

Relevance and ease of use are essential with micro-targeted content to create awareness and personalised program communications. The right solution enables your team to make every moment of the employee journey count, no matter where they are.

Although remote teams are not physically present when your colleagues, manager or senior leadership acknowledge your effort or achievement it has an impact on you. It’s called the “dopamine effect” – the rush we get when something good happens to us. Human behaviour is triggered by emotion. In fact, our research in the science of applied Behavioural Economics (BE) tells us that emotion trumps reason 77 percent of the time. Great recognition programs involve more than a simple shout-out in a team meeting or employee portal – and the benefits are long-lasting and business building.

Employee recognition helps inspire employees because it:

  1. Demonstrates appreciation
    Recognising employees for specific, identifiable actions proves you appreciate their skills and the company values them. If possible, do this early on in an employee's tenure.

  2. Focuses attention on your corporate values
    Showing appreciation for employees exhibits your workplace's values, including respect, fairness, open communication, teamwork, and more.

  3. Sets the bar
    Employee recognition is a positive way to communicate your high standards for work and your willingness to reward people with similar standards.

  4. Builds an employee value proposition
    Employees stay when they know their work is valued by you and company leaders. They quit when managers fail to show employee appreciation.

  5. Nudges people to achieve more and achieve goals
    When you publicly reinforce behaviours you want, you motivate employees to help the team reach its goals.

  6. Fosters teamwork and collaboration
    Recognising teams build camaraderie and a spirit of cooperation, while also boosting the credibility of the team and management.

  7. Creates sharable processes
    The best employee recognition practices can be shared across the organisation, spreading the power of employee engagement with efficient branded processes.

  8. Expands rewards beyond compensation to impact behaviour, culture, and incremental effort
    Employee awards (like merchandise, travel or experiences) show personal appreciation as well as tangible gratitude. Though not technically compensation, these awards have real and memorable value.

  9. Shows leadership commitment
    Making sure your employees know they are valued and appreciated shows you really care about their success and their future at the company.

  10. Celebrates commitment and longevity
    Recognising employee anniversaries is a great way to honour long-serving team members and it shows new employees the quality of commitment. (Pro tip: Think carefully about what “long-standing” means in your workforce. More and more, companies are recognising employees sooner in their careers, like on their first or third anniversary.

What are some great tactics to shine a light on the behaviours you want?

Manager discretionary recognition with or without award points

We all want to know that our leaders appreciate the effort that we are putting in. A recognition with a personal comment from a leader has a material impact on the level of commitment and intensity of that commitment. Adding discretionary award points magnifies that impact. 


We all like to be recognised by our peers or supervisor and to know that our efforts have been noticed. Creating a formal framework for contributions from teammates with specific criteria can really help align behaviours and provide a platform to celebrate key contributions.

Recognition really matters.

When effectively recognising employees with praise that is timely, specific, sincere, and positive, the results are meaningful:

Create a “line of sight” for the organisation's mission and values

According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a leading expert in motivation and recognition, “recognition creates role models and heroes and communicates standards. It says: these are the kinds of things that are valued here.”

Build loyalty

Studies conducted in all industries and companies both large and small consistently show that employees choose to stay with an organisation that makes it a point to communicate the simple message: “You matter.”

Inspire and drive increased performance

Most workers find a “comfort zone” of acceptable performance. Knowing they will be recognised for their improved performance pushes employees to strive for the next level.

Improve morale and employee attitudes

Recognition creates a positive work environment. Attitudes spread quickly. Inspired and energised employees serve as unassailable role models to co-workers.

Enhance productivity

Employees who are recognised regularly work smarter and more effectively. They better understand what is expected and will work diligently to meet or exceed those expectations.

Reduce turnover

We know from our study of over 30,000 employees, that turnover is 17.7% less among employees receiving at least one recognition throughout their eligible program tenure. There is a correlation between frequency of receiving recognitions and turnover. Employee turnover decreases as frequency of recognitions increases. A 10 percentage point reduction in turnover is seen between low-to-high receiving rate. A positive correlation existed between employee turnover and recognition receiving rate, driven almost exclusively by those receiving recognitions with awards. Turnover is 4x higher among employees with the lowest ‘recognitions with awards’ receiving rates compared to the highest rate of receiving recognition with awards.

Andrew Clark

President, BI WORLDWIDE Canada

As President of BI WORLDWIDE Canada, Andrew's primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and recognition solutions that change the behaviours of employees and achieve measurable results. Andrew is an evangelist for the principles of behavioural economics, which are at the core of what BI WORLDWIDE does across the globe.

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