Remote Working

A guide to employee rewards & recognition in a hybrid organisation

Lydia Watson

What do people want? In the workplace, that’s not an easy question. A good salary is a given, but otherwise, you’re looking at a lot of different answers – especially when it comes to rewards, recognition, perks, or any other ‘extras’. Even more so when you have a dispersed workforce.

Some organisations treat high-performing teams to a free lunch, or by putting on a breakfast spread. Others use all-hands meetings as a chance to shout out successes. These things don’t translate to a hybrid organisation – so if you’re considering that model, be aware of this.

Rewards, Recognition & Perks: what they are, why they matter

Your employees are paid a wage, so why do they need any added extras? When you’re competing for talent, it’s something to help you stand out – beyond any ‘competitive salary’. 56% of HR professionals agree they help recruitment, and 68% say they have a positive impact on retention too. To realise these business benefits, you’ve got options:

  • Formal approaches like  ‘Rewards & Recognition’ programmes: involving monetary and other rewards based on things like the length of service, achievements, or related to a bonus structure
  • Informal recognition & perks: a culture of ‘kudos’ and giving credit where it’s due, in person or digitally, and ad-hoc rewards like team socials or small gift

Whether you choose one approach or a mix of the two, you need to be aware of what your employees actually value – especially when they’re in different roles, or working from different spaces.

5 tips for rewards & recognition in a hybrid working model

There are two main risks around rewards and recognition in a hybrid workplace: it can be easy to overlook your employees’ less obvious contributions if they’re remote, causing resentment, and the non-monetary rewards that make sense for office workers just don’t translate. A free team lunch is great – but no-one wants to eat a pre-delivered sandwich on camera.

Here’s some guiding principles to making it work for your people:

1. Ask people what they want, and really listen

Employee surveys let you stop the guesswork. Your people know what makes them feel rewarded and recognised – all you have to do is ask them, and really listen to their answers. We can help you with that, thanks to better surveys and powerful tech that makes analysis easy.

2. Remember that remote working isn’t a reward in of itself

If you’re resistant to the hybrid culture you’ve found yourself in, it’s important to remember that workplace flexibility is no longer just a perk – for many employees, it’s an expectation. It’s important that those in and out of office are regarded equally in a hybrid environment.

3. Be aware of bias, and find ways to tackle it

Presence bias, or presence disparity, can leave in-office employees seeming like the model for your organisation – and the hard work of remote workers overlooked. Read the tips in this article to help you tackle that, so no-one feels unrecognised.

4. Create a culture of ‘kudos’, communicated online

Do you communicate most in emails, messaging tools, or video calls when you’re out-of-office? Whatever it is, use that channel to regularly communicate ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ – both one-to-one, and to your team as a whole. At their base level, people want to be appreciated.

5. Give options and alternatives for team rewards

If you’re in a position to office incentive-based rewards, then give your people options they can vote for. A free dinner for the team, or gift cards for each member. Croissants and coffee in the office, or an early finish for all. Whatever it is, make it fair and equitable so no-one is excluded.

In the coming months, you’re going to need a tight grasp on your employees’ wants, needs, and feelings. We’ve created a platform that helps you listen, and affect real change – and made it easy for you to get better insights. Find out more:

Faster, simpler surveys – free for 21 days

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