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03 Dec 2021
by Daniel Phipps

Recognition and the hybrid worker: keeping employees connected

First we had the remote worker. Now we have the hybrid worker. In organisations around the world, work is becoming more flexible, personalised and fluid than ever.

While providing a number of benefits for employees, this also creates some challenges for the employer, such as how to facilitate collaboration, social interaction and spontaneous encounters. In other words, how do you keep people, teams and organisations connected? Underpinning the hybrid experience must be recognition, which is pivotal to bringing people together and ensuring they feel valued.



Enter the hybrid work model

Office workers now want a mix of office and homeworking. In fact, research shows that 73% of employees prefer the option to keep working remotely, while 67% also want more in-person interactions with their colleagues.

Despite numerous global studies indicating that workforces are on board with a hybrid approach, there are still concerns about the effects it might have on employees and their careers. As companies reopen their offices, employees may feel a divide between those choosing to return to the physical workplace and those who would prefer to stay at home.

This raises questions of workplace bias. Among the most common concerns is less visibility in the office. The less time staff are seen at work and communicating with co-workers, especially managers, the less likely they feel they will be part of a level playing field. So company leaders, especially the HR function, need to set people up for success, regardless of location.

This must include encouraging strong connections between employees and facilitating interactions, storytelling and memory making – the foundation of company culture. And, regardless of location, companies with a hybrid workforce must look for ways to project their corporate culture across channels so that everyone feels like a valued member of the team.

Recognition in a hybrid world

Underpinning the hybrid experience must be appreciation – ensuring that employees feel valued on a regular basis. Recognition is a powerful tool, particularly for connecting staff to purpose, accomplishment and one another, and implementing a new recognition programme or refreshing an existing one is a valuable addition to a robust hybrid strategy.

Here are some key recognition considerations:

  • Use a dedicated employee recognition platform that promotes peer-to-peer recognition. Having a company-wide platform brings all co-workers together for the simple purpose of recognition. It does not discriminate against home or office workers and helps to socialise and amplify recognition across the business. A recognition platform will also help connect employees who have never met each other and may never will!
  • Harness existing communication platforms. Often organisation will have already invested heavily in several different communication platforms so it’s important to use these for recognition moments. Platforms such as Slack, Workplace or Teams are great tools for ‘calling out’ birthdays, anniversaries and other ‘life events’. Even better if your dedicated employee recognition platform integrates with these tools too.
  • Recognise teams as well as individuals. With people often working in different countries and time zones, it’s important to still remember to recognise team achievements and make any celebrations/rewards inclusive regardless of location.

The power of recognition

When people aren’t always physically together, it’s vital that HR and reward professionals find ways to keep people connected to the organisation, their accomplishments and each other. Providing regular recognition moments is key here, and will support a strong corporate culture regardless of where employees are physically located.

The author is Daniel Phipps, culture and engagement strategist at O.C. Tanner Europe.

This article is provided by OC Tanner.

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