Remote work and employee recognition


Date: 19 September 2023

A remote worker is celebrated during an online video conference at work

Many industries such as the marketing and accounting industries have seen a major shift towards remote work over the past few years. According to a 2022 survey by the American Institute of CPAs, over 60% of accounting firms have moved to hybrid or fully remote work models. This transition has been driven by advancements in technology as well as changing employee preferences. Many employees appreciate the flexibility, improved work-life balance, and increased productivity that remote work offers.

As remote work becomes more prevalent, firms must adapt their management strategies. One area requiring attention is employee recognition and engagement. With teams dispersed, maintaining company culture and making employees feel valued poses a new challenge.

The importance of recognition

Recognition is a key driver of employee engagement and performance. According to Gallup research, employees who feel adequately recognised are twice as likely to feel engaged at work. Recognition also boosts retention. Employees who feel regularly recognised by their manager are far less likely to leave the organisation.

For firms adapting to remote teams, focusing on recognition is essential. Intentional recognition helps remote employees feel connected to the company culture and engaged with their work.

Rethinking service awards

In the past, many firms relied heavily on tenure-based service awards to recognise employee loyalty. For example, an employee might receive a gift or award after working for the company for five, ten, or 15 years. However, with remote work, solely recognising loyalty through service awards is no longer impactful.

Younger generations tend to switch jobs more frequently - the average millennial stays at a job for less than three years. With a shorter average tenure, service awards feel outdated.

Building a culture of recognition

To adapt to the changing workforce, accounting leaders should focus on building a rich culture of recognition. This involves rewarding performance and milestones in the moment rather than waiting for tenure landmarks.

There are several steps firms can take:

  • Offer peer-to-peer recognition programs that empower employees to recognise each other's accomplishments
  • Use recognition software to allow managers to send timely virtual rewards and messages
  • Celebrate employee successes frequently in meetings and company communications
  • Customise rewards based on individual preferences to make recognition meaningful

Getting recognition right remotely

Delivering impactful recognition remotely requires some adjustments. With employees not seeing each other regularly in the office, managers have to be more proactive.

Some best practices include:

  • Scheduling one-on-one meetings to check in and show employees their work is valued
  • Sending handwritten notes or small gift cards to recognise achievements
  • Sharing wins and milestones in video calls or messaging channels
  • Using recognition software to automate timely rewards

The right technology is key for seamless remote recognition. HR software with recognition features allows managers to send e-cards and digital rewards and track employee milestones quickly.

Adapting recognition for the future

The rise of remote work requires accounting leaders to rethink their approach to employee recognition. While programs solely focused on tenure, like service awards, were once commonplace, building an engaging culture of recognition is now essential. Firms that embrace remote-friendly recognition strategies will be better positioned to attract and retain top talent in the evolving accounting industry.

Leveraging technology for seamless recognition

Advancements in HR technology provide new opportunities to streamline recognition in the remote workplace. Solutions like employee recognition software platforms make it easy for managers to send timely rewards and track progress.

Features like e-cards, digital rewards catalogues, and anniversary/milestone trackers help automate and enhance remote recognition. With the right technology, sending a quick e-card to recognise an employee takes just a few clicks.

Analytics provide insight into program effectiveness. Managers can view recognition trends and see who might need more engagement. This data allows for recognition optimisation.

The bottom line

While adapting recognition for remote teams takes effort, the impact on the bottom line makes it worthwhile. Recognition boosts productivity, engagement, and talent retention.

According to Gallup, business units with engagement in the top quartile see 21% higher profitability. Teams with poor engagement see 31% lower profits on average.

With recognition programmes shown to significantly influence engagement, investing in thoughtful remote recognition strategies pays off. Accounting firms that get recognition right will be poised for success as remote and hybrid work become the new normal.

Copyright 2023. Featured post made possible by Amanda Wilson.

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