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Reward & Recognition

3 tips for engaging deskless employees with recognition

With more than three-quarters of the global workforce in deskless roles, providing meaningful recognition can be difficult.

Recognition has a significant role to play in employee performance and job satisfaction.

In fact, 62% of global employees say that it’s very important that they are recognised for their efforts and achievement at work, and 51% of employees say their expectations of receiving recognition at work have increased in the last 12 months.

With more than 80% of the world’s workers employed in deskless roles or remotely, providing recognition isn’t always easy – especially as employees tend to be distributed across multiple locations or constantly moving.

This experience gap is contributing to the challenges of attracting and retaining employees in deskless roles, and, in response, employers are rethinking the total reward package to engage these workers.

Bridging the recognition gap

Deskless workers are usually engaged in customer service, on the shop floor, in a warehouse, or on the move, often feeling disconnected without regular interaction with or gratitude from managers.

Almost half of hospitality workers identified lack of recognition as a major barrier to enjoying work, with almost 60% of 18 to 35-year-olds in the hospitality sector feeling undervalued.

Frontline and deskless workers are often among the least motivated employees and tend to have fairly weak attachments to their jobs and their organisation.

In contrast, desk-based workers receive more acknowledgment and passing gratitude from being in the office, as well as receiving more physical gifts – giving the impression they’re more valued.

But studies have found even simple and quick symbolic acknowledgments bring motivation and performance gains.

A strong recognition programme not only fosters individual connection but also enhances overall organisational culture and community and can bridge some of the physical gaps between people who work in deskless industries.

3 tips for engaging deskless employees with recognition

1. Make recognition digital

To engage deskless employees, recognition must be online, mobile first and app-based – so employees can send and receive recognitions wherever they are.

A platform should make recognising colleagues quick and easy, to boost employee participation and encourage in-the-moment recognition.

Almost all (94%) of managers agree that timeliness of feedback is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important. Instant feedback is an important part of how people learn – and delaying it can reduce its value.

Employees agree that recognition should be delivered digitally; 91% of global employees say it’s important that the company has technology to allow recognition to be communicated.

However, currently only 21% of global employees say the tech they use for recognising colleagues at work is excellent.

2. Make recognition peer-to-peer

Giving everyone in the business access to the same tools encourages cross-departmental collaboration. For example, a customer support representative could send a recognition to a delivery driver who has gone above and beyond to get something to a customer.

As all recognitions are visible to everyone, digital recognition platforms can shine a light on networks of collaboration across teams and locations.

Even seeing others being recognised drives some of the cultures many of us want to see – research shows that employees who regularly see other colleagues getting recognition are more engaged in their work.

For employees who work physically on their own, receiving recognition and seeing the other great things being said across the business can boost morale.

3. Tie recognition to company values

Importantly, employees believe recognition shouldn’t focus only on achievement, but also to the overall behaviours and attitudes. Up to 98% of employees believe people should be recognised for embodying company values.

This need for recognition to reinforce company values is heightened in a remote or deskless environment, where many other ways of demonstrating and celebrating values are no longer feasible.

Indeed, most of us place a lot of importance on working for employers we consider to be caring and compassionate – 93% of workers say they are looking for high ethical standards when choosing a new employer.

The power of employee recognition

If we want more high performing teams and individuals within our organisations, we must provide better recognition for their efforts. The case for employee recognition becomes even more compelling for employers with deskless workers.

In fact, many organisations are starting to realise that recognition is one of the best ways for them to engage employees.

Research reveals that adequately recognised employees are 87% less likely to leave their roles, while 79% of those who receive recognition report feeling motivated to work harder.

To learn more about why employers are rethinking the total reward package to engage deskless workers, check out our webinar on How to reach deskless workers with meaningful online recognition.

Picture of Clare Dolan

Clare Dolan

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