While managers need their virtual workforce to perform well, get projects completed, and focus on the work, they also want to take some time to show those workers that they are appreciated. Fortunately, there are a lot of different ways to do that. By utilizing a lot of different options for reward and recognition, managers can ensure that all employees who are a part of their virtual workforce feel valued.
A virtual workforce can sometimes feel isolated and overlooked, but rewarding and recognizing them on a regular basis can help reduce those feelings. Here are seven ways to make a virtual workforce feel recognized.
1. Acknowledge the Success of the Overall Project
If everyone working together is moving a project ahead, and the project is on budget, on time, and performing well, acknowledging that shows all employees in the virtual workforce that they are appreciated. Even though they are not being singled out for recognition, being part of a team that is recognized for the value it is providing to the company can be just as rewarding.
In some cases this can be even more rewarding, since everyone on the virtual workforce can see that they are a part of something bigger. They are doing their part to make a project operate more smoothly, or to ensure that something is getting done by a particular deadline. That can make a lot of difference in how they see themselves, and may also cause them to work harder for the company because they feel like their contributions are noticed.
2. Celebrate Milestones and Personal Achievements Through Shared Software
Not only do people on a virtual workforce like to be recognized for the good that they do for their company, but they also like to be recognized for other achievements in their lives. Milestones, accomplishments, and other interests can all be applauded by the entire virtual workforce through shared software. This includes birthdays and anniversaries, but also hobbies, degrees and promotions, the birth of a child, and more.
It is up to the company or the manager of the virtual workforce what kinds of things they specifically want to acknowledge, but there are many different areas of life that can be included. This helps the people who are part of the virtual workforce to feel valued not just for what they can do for the project and the company, but also as individuals who have lives of their own. The things that matter to the virtual workforce can be easily noted through technology.
3. Utilize the Open Features of Technology for Encouragement
Just as technology can be used to acknowledge the personal achievements and milestones of people in the virtual workforce, it can also be used to encourage them. People who feel valued are more likely to work harder, do more, and have a better attitude. For managers who want their virtual workforce to succeed and be as effective as possible, showing them encouragement throughout the project is very important.
This can be as simple as an email sent to everyone or a post to a group page that shows employees that management is aware of their efforts. Even if something has gone wrong with a project or it has been delayed, it is still important to keep encouraging employees and letting them know that management and the company believes in their abilities. Encouragement is often its own reward.
4. Electronic Announcements Can Point Out Individual Contributions
In the same way that electronic communication is used to encourage the team, mention personal milestones, and acknowledge project success, it can also be used to single out individual employees who have provided significant contributions to the virtual workforce. Whether this is something within the scope of their job that they did extremely well, or something that shows they went above and beyond, they will appreciate being valued for it. Care must be taken when singling out employees, though, so that other employees in the virtual workforce do not feel slighted if they are not also recognized.
5. Virtual Gift Cards and Other Perks Can Easily Be Sent
If a manager wants to send something more tangible than just a "thank you" to members of a virtual workforce, it is easily possible to send virtual gift cards and other items that can be used, purchased, or spent online. A little extra something, especially around holidays or at the completion of a milestone, can make virtual workforce members feel highly valued. The amount does not have to be a lot, because it is mostly the thought that is really important when doing this. It shows that management acknowledges the workforce, and appreciates them for what they do and who they are.
6. Personalized Company Items Heighten the Feeling of Success
Managers may also want to send out small, token gifts for milestones, personal achievements, and other reasons. Doing this can boost the morale of an individual or of the entire virtual workforce. Pens, notepads, and other useful items are good choices for this, but there are many other things that can also be sent to virtual workforce employees to reward and recognize them. Managers can choose which option they feel best about, or they can allow the worker to choose from several things so that employees gets the item that they like the best or would actually use.
7. The Focus Should Generally Remain on Group Efforts
There are many reasons to show individual employees that they matter or are valued. However, the main focus of rewards and recognitions should be on the efforts and accomplishments of the group. That way everyone has the opportunity to feel appreciated and to see how their contributions matter to the manager and the company. They can showcase their talents and know that they are a part of something valuable, which is rewarding in and of itself. As management acknowledges that and works with the entire virtual workforce, every employee will feel valuable and important.