Go the Extra Mile with Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas

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Ben Aflalo

Head of Product at Gloww

virtual employee appreciation

Are you finding it hard to inspire your remote employees? While online work has many benefits for businesses and employees, it can be difficult to integrate employee appreciation initiatives to nurture a culture of recognition

However, virtual employee appreciation ideas are well worth considering if you’re looking to increase employee engagement and retain your workers for longer. From simple shoutouts during weekly meetings to more immersive virtual awards ceremonies, there are plenty of ways you can let your teams know they’re valued. 

Virtual Appreciation Explained 

Any business that operates virtually may find it challenging to boost employee morale. With virtual appreciation, modern-day companies can honor the contributions of their workers, no matter where they’re based. 

While remote work has many advantages, a flexible schedule isn’t always enough to keep virtual employees engaged with a company. Instead, employers need to work extra hard to promote a culture of recognition, which fosters an overall healthy work culture.

In many cases, it’s the little things that count, for example a virtual holiday party or something similar. Simply thanking your teams for their efforts during online meetings can be enough of an acknowledgment. However, for best results you, might want to reconsider the way you show your appreciation to employees. By shining a spotlight on exceptional performance you’ll encourage healthy competition and stir uninspired workers into account. See our employee engagement calendar for even more inspiration!

Virtual Employee Appreciation Benefits

virtual employee appreciation ideas

Everyone loves being thanked for a job well done. However, this alone might not be enough to motivate your workforce to go above and beyond for your company. When you embrace virtual employee appreciation, you can look forward to other benefits. 

Boost Morale and Increase Employee Engagement 

A workforce that feels like they’re valued is generally a happier one. The more you thank employees and recognize their contributions, the more engaged they’ll be with company culture. It creates a direct connection between employee and employer, which is something that’s often lacking in the world of online-based work.  

Increased Retention Rates

While you probably won’t struggle to fill virtual employee vacancies, there’s no guarantee you’ll actually retain the best talent. With so many businesses operating virtually nowadays, it really is a job-seekers market. Offering competitive salaries and flexible working hours will only go so far in reducing turnover rates. To hold on to the best workers for longer, commit to a culture of appreciation. You’d be surprised at how much loyalty a little ‘thank you’ inspires. 

Drive Productivity and Performance 

When you thank someone for doing a great job, you’ll find that they’re more likely to continue to deliver the goods. If an employer neglects the little things like employee appreciation, productivity tends to dip. Casual shoutouts during meetings are sometimes all it takes to increase performance across an entire company. 

10 Best Virtual Employee Appreciation Ideas 

employee appreciation ideas

Need some suggestions for letting your remote employees know they’re valued? Below are just a few employee appreciation ideas you can put into practice today. 

1. Send WFH Employees a Care Package

It’s easy for remote teams to feel isolated and cut off from company culture. By sending out care packages to those employees who work from home, you’re bridging the gap between an in-office company culture and virtual working. 

Rather than bundle second-rate products into a care package, it’s worth going the extra mile and including a few premium items. Choose products that employees can use to pamper themselves and indulge once the working day is finished, or opt for things they can actually use to help with their daily assignments. 

2. Show Recognition During Team Meetings

Employee recognition goes a long way in encouraging productivity and letting team members know they’re valued. If you host daily huddles or regular weekly meetings, make some room in your agenda to call out employees who’ve been performing particularly well. 

You can focus on ‘Employee of the Month’ awards and make it a rolling feature of your meetings. Alternatively, play it by ear and single out standout performance curing major projects, especially if a huge milestone has just been achieved or a client has made a glowing review about the service your company has provided. 

3. Company Reward Stores 

Not sure how to treat your employees to let them know you care? With a company rewards store, you take all the guesswork out of incentivizing hard work. An employee reward store is essentially a compact online marketplace. You can list gifts in a user-friendly catalog, with employees free to choose what they receive after amassing enough points or virtual credit. 

By offering your employees a choice, you can guarantee you’re not wasting cash on useless items they’ll never actually use. You can even think about sending out a gift card that can be redeemed against the value of online purchases. 

4. Celebrate Anniversaries, Birthdays, and Other Major Milestones

Bring the personal touch back to remote working by making time to celebrate major milestones in the lives of your employees. Set aside some time for personal announcements during group meetings to honor employee birthdays. 

Has someone in your team been working for the company for a considerable amount of time? Recognizing someone’s first year of service or 10th anniversary with your company will also make a welcome addition to the agenda and boost employee engagement

5. Deliver Lunch to Their Doorstep 

There are a lot of little things missing from remote work. One of the most profound losses is a lack of socializing, with no lunch hour and break room on hand to bring together your employees during their downtime. While there’s not much you can do to replicate the atmosphere of an office break room, you can make break time more special by sending out a special lunch to your hard-working teams. 

One of the most tried and tested employee appreciation ideas, you can turn to services like Uber Eats to let your teams know you care about them. Just remember that some employees might have prepared their lunch the night before or made plans. As such, you might want to draw attention to your plans to avoid any schedule clashes or disappointment. 

6. Celebrate Online with Virtual Teams 

Has your company just delivered a project to a major client? Perhaps your teams have locked down a major account that’s going to send your profit margin through the roof. These are all major successes that would typically be celebrated with in-office parties. 

While an impromptu party is hard to pull off, it’s by no means impossible. Use virtual conferencing tools to bring together remote teams so you can let your hair down and celebrate online. If you have plenty of time to plan your event, you can concentrate on making it as fun as possible, with immersive online experiences and interactive games. 

On our blog you can find a lot of suggestions on how to spice things up with team building. Check out our New Year team building activities, top 10 team building music activities, virtual Christmas games to play with coworkers, 49 ice breaking games, as well as 21 virtual happy hour ideas.

7. Surprise Time Off!

Struggling to settle on a great reward idea for an employee appreciation day? Nothing pleases hard-working teams more than the promise of extra vacation time. Perhaps your teams have cleared a project ahead of schedule. If so, kick-start the day with an online meeting and let your employees know they know they have an extra day or two of paid vacation. 

Once again, scheduling conflicts can cause a few issues here. To ensure your teams can make full use of their surprise time off, lay down some ground rules about when they’ll be able to book vacations and when their allowance needs to be redeemed.

8. Have Fun with Team-Building Games

A successful virtual team knows how to work hard, but it’s also great if they know how to have fun. With team-building games, you can encourage dedicated remote employees to unwind from time to time and interact with their colleagues. 

You can integrate games into regular meetings, with icebreaker activities the perfect way to thaw tensions ahead of a weekly progress session or monthly review. Alternatively, plan a dedicated team-building session packed with a busy schedule of games and interactive content. 

9. Host a Virtual Lunch for Your Team

You don’t have to deliver food packages to remote teams to them in the mood for a virtual lunch event. In fact, a typical remote employee is probably going to prefer their own culinary creations. Are you keen to restore the social aspect to virtual working? Promote a virtual lunch event every week or so. 

You can keep things simple by offering a platform for workers to connect with each other as they recharge their batteries over their salads and sandwiches. If you’ve cleared a larger chunk of time, you can even bring in virtual games and icebreakers to make things more interesting. We have a bunch of pre-made templates to help you with this: TikTok buzzer game template, Virtual team building games template, Virtual music events, online TV activity, and much more.

10. Virtual Awards Ceremonies

While you can honor the performance of a remote team with regular shoutouts during weekly meetings, going the extra mile with a virtual awards ceremony is something to think about. When you set aside time for such a ceremony, you can make room for everyone, identifying noteworthy talents and specific contributions from employees. 

Focus on specific milestones and company highlights from the past year when deciding on awards categories. You can even reach out to employees for ideas as you start bringing your plans together. Once you’ve settled on award categories, create an online ballot so employees can cast their votes.

Tips to Appreciate Employees in a Virtual Work Environment 

If employee recognition feels like uncharted waters, you might struggle to introduce appreciation initiatives organically. However, appreciating the contributions of your employees doesn’t have to involve a seismic shift in company culture. 

Create a Culture of Recognition

Dishing out virtual awards to top performers is well and good, but recognition should be an everyday occurrence within your company. Recognition should be a staple of everyday interactions, so nurture a culture of appreciation from the top. Managers can pave the way here, inspiring their direct reports to start showing their appreciation for the contributions of their colleagues. 

Take Individual Preferences into Account

Some employees have no trouble accepting praise for their efforts. Meanwhile, others may be pretty uncomfortable when singled out for their successes. When you work with virtual teams, it’s common to encounter culture clashes that make handing out something as simple as a ‘thank you’ a daunting prospect. Take the time to discover what your employees are most comfortable with. Some employees may prefer casual affirmation when conversing over email, while others may respond better to a more formal notice. 

Show Your Appreciation Regularly 

A good way to make a habit of acknowledging performance is to show appreciation regularly. Think about including some time in a weekly meeting agenda to underline top performers. This way, you’re always thinking about how to honor your employees, while the public platform makes it easier to create a culture of recognition naturally. 

Make Sure You’re Being Sincere 

Don’t recognize employees just for the sake of it. If you want the praise to mean anything, employees and teams need to know what they’re being recognized for. Be specific when calling out the performance of a particular employee and identify how this performance has positively impacted the business. 

Think About Company Culture and Values 

As well as celebrating a project well done, think about how you can recognize employees for honoring your company culture and values. These are particularly important to online businesses but can be hard to conceptualize for remote workers. When you celebrate employees who are expressing your company values in their everyday work, you’re making it easier for everyone else to get a handle on them. 

Embrace Virtual Employee Appreciation with Gloww? 

Planning a virtual lunch event to bring your teams together? Perhaps you’re lining up an end-of-year awards show to celebrate standout successes and star employees. Rather than rely on lackluster email chains and online notices, use an interactive presentation tool like Gloww to bring the social aspect back to employee appreciation. 

With Gloww, you can transform online meetings into something really special by using its interactive features. Create your own meeting templates from scratch, or introduce a host of interactive elements to bring the social aspect back to online get-togethers. Use polls and surveys for instant feedback and vote casting, or liven things up with games to break the ice. Ready to realize your virtual employee appreciation ideas? Get started with Gloww today, or explore our pricing tiers to get a feel of our advanced features. Keen to learn more about how Gloww can be used for virtual employee appreciation? Get in touch with your questions today!

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Picture of ben aflalo
ben aflalo

Ben Aflalo heads Gloww's product team with over two decades of leadership experience. Passionate about leveraging innovative technology, he is committed to building products for the greater good.

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