It’s safe to say that when we designed OneHub | Recognition, we never considered its place in an international pandemic. But when we consider the effects of widespread remote-working, and the social impact this is having on our employees, of course Recognition has a huge potential to help employees during a crisis.
The benefits of having a central social recognition tool remains the same as ever – increased motivation and productivity, enhanced wellbeing, a wider sense of business culture… These things have never been more important than they are now. But for employers dealing with the fallout of Covid-19, there are even more pressing challenges in their hands. Let’s go through some of the ways recognition can help in these unexpectedly difficult times.
Connecting your remote employees
Even before social distancing measures came into effect, the workplace faced widespread adoption of remote working. Home and flexible working are great for making the workplace more accessible; opening opportunities to international employees, disabled people, and those with caring responsibilities. But these working patterns also make employees vulnerable to loneliness, and with a disjointed employee experience. This disconnect is something complete social isolation will only emphasise; and for those new to remote-working, this will be an even harsher shock to the system.
With Recognition, employees are unified by a single social platform, and have a continual touchpoint with your organisation and their peers. When employees are using a mobile, social platform to connect with each other, it doesn’t matter where they are – the instantaneous nature of social media-style technology is the biggest appeal. If you play it right, your employees will even come out of isolation more connected to their colleagues.
Keeping furloughed employees in community*
No organisation ever wants to furlough employees, but sadly it is sometimes unavoidable – especially in times of crisis. What’s crucial for these employees (especially those under the UK’s Job Retention Scheme) is that they are not working, but do remain part of the business’ community. Being furloughed is a massive change for an employee, uprooting them from an already newly-disjointed routine, and isolating them further – so it’s more important than ever that these employees are able to stay a part of co-worker social circles and wider organisational culture (should they wish to remain in touch).
Recognition is ideal for this challenge, being available on any device, any time, anywhere. There’s no need for employees to log into the work intranet, or use a business laptop to access the platform. Employees can stay completely distanced from their usual business duties but still be able to check in with friends and colleagues, follow updates on projects they were a part of, and even be recognised and recognise others for work that may be being dealt with in their absence. For employees being further isolated by furlough, and particularly those who may live alone, Recognition can be the difference between still feeling connected, or feeling alone.
*Due to the speed at which legislation is changing, the regulations around furloughing employees are constantly updating. For the UK Government’s official guidance, please visit their website here.
Bringing values to life out of the office
Even when we’re in the office every day, it’s easy for company values to fade into the background – a poster you walk by every day, an icon on your desktop or in the employee handbook. But none the less, they are there. So what happens when you’re not in the office? In a non-work environment, those daily reminders disappear – and naturally, the behaviours begin to slip, too. With Recognition, your company values are integrated into the tool, so employees can recognise each other against those specific values, turning otherwise-intangible concepts into actionable behaviours. By recognising a colleague against a certain value, it not only reinforces that positive behaviour, but it reminds everyone who sees that recognition, too. You can truly bring your values to life.
Providing online feedback when in-person isn’t possible
One of the biggest benefits of Recognition is its ability to provide motivation and boost productivity across a variety of workplaces and working patterns. This is emphasised during the new enforcement of remote-working. One key element of this is feedback: previously, employees would get feedback from peers and managers in a variety of ways – an email response, a meeting shoutout, a 1-2-1 review. If we consider the feedback we normally receive from everyday work – simple praise like “Good idea”, “That sounds good”, “I agree” – it builds up. So much of the feedback we give and receive is spontaneous, almost subconscious, and even the best managers will now be struggling to recreate that same style of feedback via remote-only communication.
That’s where Recognition comes in – Recognition isn’t limited to formal sit-down reviews or long-service awards like traditional reward schemes (though it works well for those too!). Whatever someone has done, whether it’s going above-and-beyond for a customer, suggesting a great idea, or just acknowledging their dedication and hard work. Recognition is perfect for in-the-moment feedback, a quick ‘well done’, or a virtual pat on the back.
Providing a workplace social outlet during social isolation
Whether you’re in an office, on a building site or the shop floor – employees get more social interaction with colleagues than we realise. We’re talking about the 30-second catch-up as the kettle boils, the 5-minute conversation while you wait for people to join your meeting, or small talk in the lift at the end of the day. Even sitting next to or across from a colleague, the few seconds of human interaction à la “Do you want a cuppa?”, “Can I borrow a pen?” all cumulate across a day, or a week, to hours of socialising without us even realising. Add on top the conscious communications we have with friends and family, and it’s clear just how much social interaction we’re missing during isolation.