Positive HR blog

How to recognise and boost employee engagement during a pandemic

The pandemic has shifted all workplaces, turned lives upside down and presented new challenges. Some are working remotely for the first time and juggling children or aging parents. While in the workplace, budgets have been cut and projects delayed. The challenge for employers now is just how do we recognise our hard-working employees when everything is disrupted? In this blog, we share some tips on how to recognise employees and boost engagement cost-effectively.

We all love a good praise.

In the office, we’re often feeding off the energy from others — the small chats in the corridor or the open recognition and applause in a team meeting. But now, with so many online meetings through Microsoft Teams or Zoom, it is harder to feel the energy. What this means is we have to make extra effort to recognise and announce achievements.

At the beginning of every team meeting, make it an agenda item to celebrate small (and big) wins and to thank employees. When employees are praised, they feel valued and supported. It has a positive impact on morale and confidence.

Appreciation or recognition shouldn’t just be from managers — encourage peer-to-peer recognition too. This will create a more connected relationship between employees and improve employee engagement.

Career development

A way to reward and recognise employees is to focus on their career development. Employees will appreciate your efforts as they’ll feel that you care about their contribution to the business.

Depending on career goals, there are plenty of free and cost-effective courses online. For example, TAFE NSW offers a range of fee-free courses, including women in business and how to collaborate effectively in a remote environment. There’s also some Government-subsidised training and qualifications to explore as well.

How about something tasty?

The good old team lunches are either limited or on hold now, but you can still keep the spirit alive and celebrate achievements by ordering lunches or providing food vouchers to your employees.

People always bond over food, and this is a great way to lift morale. Employees will feel that the team lunch honours their great work.

Build trust by keeping it real

In this uncertain climate, most employees aren’t expecting big bonuses or pay rises — they’re actually looking for transparent and honest communication about what’s going on. It’s all about balancing the great with the not-so-great stuff. It will take a lot of vulnerability from you, but open communication builds trust.

There are many creative ways to communicate with employees. You can take some inspiration from reward platform, Reward Gateway. Just like any regular social media calendar, they have a themed communications calendar that includes quotes from its frontline employees and managers. The themed calendar focuses on Mission Monday, Tech Tuesday, Wow Wednesday, Thank You Thursday and Feel Good Friday.

How do you recognise your people? Your employees have worked hard during the most testing times. Sometimes the smallest gestures or a thank-you can do wonders.


If you need any people advice or need ideas on other ways to recognise your employees, please reach out to us to see how we can help.