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Clearview® Performance Systems brings you ... ® ... a Culture of Results & Engagement®

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions)
to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites Issue #72

35 Creative RE(mote)INFORCEMENT Techniques to Show Your Appreciation

You already know that positive reinforcement is essential to keeping employees engaged and motivated ... the vast majority of people are inspired to perform and do their best work when they're acknowledged for the efforts they contribute and for the results they produce.

Prior to the current shelter-in-place mandates, large sections of the workforce operated out of the same physical space. This close proximity made it easy to get to know your people—their individual personalities, aspirations, motivations, and strengths. At that time, you were probably very comfortable with (and you probably knew exactly how) to effectively recognize your team for their work and for their accomplishments. In person, it was easy to physically thank them (individually or collectively). This type of face-to-face, personal-touch recognition helped employees feel connected and aligned to the work they do—a clear acknowledgment of the value they bring to the customer; to their team; and to the organization.

Now that large numbers of employees are working remote, we can't let "out of sight—out of mind" inhibit our capability to deliver dynamic and effectual recognition. Just because we don't have the luxury of strolling down the hallway to deliver a personal thank you doesn't mean it can't be done. While clearly different, fortunately, there are many ways you can make sure your team's hard work and achievements are RE(mote)INFORCED in an effective and timely manner. It just takes a little bit of creativity on your part.

[Note: Regardless of the method you choose to recognize and thank your team, reinforcement should always be structured—and delivered—using the AFR™ (Activity Focused Reinforcement) methodology.]

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Steps

An effective way to keep your remote employees engaged is to continuously support them with genuine recognition. Recognition is a meaningful way to demonstrate to employees that you care about their work and their well-being while they operate under the temporary stay-at-home BAUOPs (Business-as-Unusual Operating Procedures). This week (starting today), look for occasions when you can apply one (or more) of the HVA reinforcement ideas listed below:

Not so 'Creative' But Still Worth Mentioning ...

  1. Drop them a virtual thank you (with a few creative emojis). Nobody needs more emails but everyone enjoys (and appreciates) receiving friendly notes of acknowledgment from their supervisor. Don't worry about making this too complex; a couple of heartfelt sentences describing what the employee did to make a difference is all that's needed to get your message of gratitude across.
  2. Share asynchronous kudos. During your virtual meetings use the "applause" feature to give a team member a virtual high-five. Your employee—as well as each team member—will know exactly who rocks and (perhaps even more importantly) why.
  3. Mail a note card or a greeting card with a few words of encouragement. It only takes a few minutes to write ... "Have you been told that you're 'awesome' so far today? If not, consider yourself told! Thanks for being YOU!" ... but it will mean a great deal to the recipient.
  4. Use a 1:1 virtual meeting to let someone know how much you appreciate their efforts. This will mean more than an email or telephone call because they'll see the positive affirmation emoting from your facial gestures and body language.

Free (or reasonably priced) Creative Ideas Worth Considering ...

  1. Have an inspirational or development book sent to their home.
  2. Buy a gift card for the Android or Apple App Store.
  3. Buy a gift card for iTunes or some other music distributor.
  4. Arrange for a membership for audiobooks from Audible.
  5. According to many researchers studying this phenomenon, coffee consumption has increased while people are staying at home. Consider a personalized coffee cup with a small supply of higher-end or flavored coffees.
  6. In the past, many organizations passed out movie tickets as a way to say thank you. Why not consider offering your employee a pizza/movie night by arranging for a gift certificate at a local pizza establishment and adding something to his/her Netflix account.
  7. Many organizations like Jazzercise are offering very inexpensive online fitness memberships. Frequently, a structured program like this is much more effective than doing it on your own.
  8. How about considering some 'Cool Socks' as a way to say thank you for an employee's efforts? There are many, many themes available that would put a smile on his/her face.
  9. Add a LinkedIn recommendation to the employee's profile.
  10. Host a virtual motivational speaker for your team.
  11. Find a quote that exemplifies an employee's attitude, actions, dedication and/or values and dedicate it to him/her at one of your virtual meetings. "While searching for something on the Internet, I found this great quote and it reminded me of what Lynn did last week to help out the team."
  12. Create a GEM Award (Going-the-Extra-Mile) and present this weekly award to a deserving individual during one of your team virtual touchpoints.
  13. Another way to acknowledge an employee is to produce a Creative Problem Solver award for those who have come up with creative ways to get work done during this challenging time.
  14. I've personally used a Spotlight of the Week approach to showcase an above and beyond employee activity that had a significant impact. Use this link for a pre-built graphic image you can use to embed the employee's picture and name before distributing.
  15. While there is a significant focus on the individual when we discuss reinforcement strategy, you'll likely have people on your team who helped another person succeed. Consider creating a MSEG (Making Someone Else Great) celebration when this occurs.
  16. Many times it will be a team who has accomplished something significant that will be the focus of your recognition. Consider creating a Collaboration of the Week (or Month) acknowledgment. A 'virtual' plaque can be created showcasing the award recipients and distributed electronically.

Ideas That Will Require an Investment of Time And/or Money ...

  1. I was introduced to this company who did something very inspirational for its front-line employees. While there is a fair bit of cost associated with their approach, I think it would be just as effective if you were to record a short (e.g., 2-3 minutes) 1:1 virtual meeting (with ZOOM or equivalent) and "interview" an employee on some aspect that he or she excels in. For example, interviewing someone on the "value of teamwork" or on the "value of trust and integrity" would be a wonderful way of profiling the employee. This short video could be played during one of your virtual meetings as a change of pace. (And it's free!)
  2. Ask an employee (you would like to recognize) for ideas on some online training they would like to partake in during this time of stay-at-home. You might be surprised with how eager people are to invest in themselves now that they might have some extra time.
  3. A lot of cooking is now taking place at home but not everyone knows how to cook well (or properly). Consider signing them up to an online cooking class and send them a few cooking utensils wrapped in an apron as a way to set the scene.
  4. Arrange for 1:1 short-term mentoring with a senior executive for your super-star employee.
  5. What about a quality backpack with "Thanks for Having Our Back!" as the theme?
  6. Edible arrangements would encourage some healthy snacking.
  7. Offer to make a donation to an organization of the employee's choice as a way to say thank you to him or her for above and beyond efforts. Many times this altruistic gesture will resonate deeply with the employee.
  8. Earbuds or headphones are always popular as a thank you gift. (They may be appreciated for those working at home with "distracting noises" in the background.)
  9. Because people are staying home, and some are likely reading more, a Kindle for someone who has gone way above and beyond would make for a fabulous thank you.
  10. To encourage fitness and wellness during this stay-at-home period, a Fitbit would be a great idea.
  11. Mobile carwash sent to their home.
  12. [Discretion Advised] Depending on the appropriateness of this item, a Home Brew kit could be a popular item while people are staying at home.

Ideas for When a Return to the Workplace Is Imminent ...

  1. Most of us have been missing our regularly scheduled 'grooming' appointments and are long overdue for a trim. Most employees will want to spruce up before heading back to the workplace so consider a gift certificate to a local hair salon and/or nail salon as a way to say thank you.
  2. While formal business attire may not be what people are wearing while working from home, dry cleaning may be necessary prior to entering the office again. Consider a gift certificate to a local dry cleaner as a way to say thank you.
  3. In that same vein, personal vehicles could probably benefit from having the dust cleaned off. Consider a gift certificate to a full-service car wash as a way to say thank you.

Building a cohesive team isn’t easy and the challenge is magnified when the team isn’t located in the same place. When you use the HVA's listed above, your employees will never wonder whether or not their contributions are truly appreciated.

I'd love to hear how these HVAs work for you!

Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA
RESULTant™ and Behavioral Engineer

Quote of the Week

"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer —