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5 Ways Recognition Will Shape the 2021 Employee Experience


Recognition has emerged as a vital component of the employee experience in keeping employees engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employee Recognition in 2021

Employee recognition has emerged as a vital component of the employee experience in keeping employees engaged and bonded to company culture during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s no surprise why. Even before we traded the physical office for the virtual, recognition for contributions has been one of our most basic expectations at work and is tied to all kinds of positive benefits like lower absenteeism, less voluntary turnover, and more productive working hours.

5 Ways Recognition Will Shape the Employee Experience

The sacrifices employees have made in the past year are undeniable, and in turn recognition programs themselves have become more important than ever in communicating that emotional connection that forms the basis of the employee experience. Here are 5 important ways recognition will be used to shape the 2021 employee experience in the coming months:

  • Access-Anywhere Programs – Centralized recognition platforms have been making it easier for companies with spread-out workforces stay in touch for years, but in 2021 they are invaluable to creating companywide recognition systems that keep messaging consistent for all remote locations. Universally accessible programs will be key communication channels for maintaining emotional bonds and building culture with remote staff.
  • Peer-to-Peer Support – SaaS-based recognition programs also offer powerful ways for employees to reach out to their peers to show appreciation or simply stay in touch across distances, a factor that will help reduce the amount of estrangement between teams and maintain a supportive and unified mindset. Peer-to-peer recognition initiatives are already being amplified and retooled as a key channel in keeping employees from feeling isolated from one another.
  • Employee Feedback Loops – Showing gratitude and sending the right motivational messages to employees is of utmost importance in 2021, and the positive feedback loops that recognition systems provide will be essential to keeping a constant stream of awareness open between management and staff. It can be difficult to judge an employee’s job satisfaction with so many external pressures influencing it, and recognition provides a safe arena where any related issues can be discussed.
  • Virtual Gatherings – With a marked increase in virtual celebrations, sales conferences, and tradeshows, tangible merchandise kits are being leveraged more to enhance the proceedings, provide a more tactile experience, and increase a sense of camaraderie. The role of merchandise has also expanded to express a much wider range of sentiment in the form of care packages, wellness support, and home office enhancements.
  • Incentivizing Empathy – Perhaps the most important benefit of employee recognition in 2021 is how it bestows upon its administrators – for better or worse – the ability to incentivize certain culture traits like kindness, health awareness, and last but certainly not least, empathy. HR leaders are already touting the importance of empathetic leadership in 2021, and it’s the job employee recognition was made for.

Recognize Your 2021 Potential

It goes without saying that the 2021 employee experience will be unlike any that came before it. Things may become a bit harder to predict in the coming months, but recognition and rewards have always played an important role in keeping work cultures resilient in the face of adversity and change, with the power to set the tone of the entire employee experience from day one to retirement.