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Date posted: 18th March 2021

18th March 2021

Guest Blog: Employee Recognition Ideas in the Middle of a Pandemic

Guest Blog: Employee Recognition Ideas in the Middle of a Pandemic

The following blog is a guest post by Angeline Licerio, a content writer for Elevate Corporate Training, a team of corporate trainers committed to improving performance of individuals and teams within organisations.

The global pandemic isn’t over yet and every industry is still struggling to cope up with the unexpected changes in the workplace. It has brought a unique set of challenges to all kinds of businesses and their employees. Unfortunately, some were unable to survive while others continue to thrive despite the difficulties. Businesses that are still continuing to grow owe it to their dedicated employees who show stellar abilities, commitment, and resilience during these trying times. 

For all the efforts and fearlessness to work despite the curveballs, they deserve respect and recognition. Amidst all the uncertainties of the ‘new normal’, the best form of expressing your gratitude is through heartfelt appreciation.

Employee recognition programs encourage your workforce to become more productive and motivated. Now is the time to celebrate the good and show gratitude in the workplace. Gratitude is a powerful antidote to negative emotions and a strong anchor for collective wellness. 

Here are some employee recognition ideas that will show your employees that you value them and recognize their contribution to your company:

Mitigate risks

The threats of COVID-19 infection are still high, so keep the safety and well-being of your employees a priority. 

  • Provide free protective gear, facemasks, alcohol, hand-washing stations, and other health essentials. 
  • Enforce social distancing measures in the workplace and loosen restrictions for those who prefer to work from home.  
  • Encourage them to stay home when feeling unwell and assure that there will be no consequences for their absence. 

Provide support

Provide employee assistance programs to help them resolve personal and family issues, especially health-related matters.

  • If possible, have a one-on-one meeting with your employees to know their work and home situations. 
  • Reach out and call them individually and ask about their emotional and financial well-being. 
  • Take note of all their concerns and find ways to address the problems.
  • Be mindful of their general health by providing regular wellness programs to help them handle stress better. 

Set up a micro-recognition program

Don’t wait for the annual Employee Appreciation Day. Start a real-time recognition program on a daily or weekly basis to increase their engagement and productivity level. 

  • Reward the “most productive” employees of the week with tokens of appreciation from the company. It can be in the form of cash incentives, gift cards for groceries, restaurants, or spas, and company swags such as pens, bags, and jackets. Another wonderful idea is to give them a half or whole free-day off. 
  • Be generous in giving positive feedback and praise to boost their morale and motivation.
  • Highlight their impact by recognizing teams or employees that help accomplish short-term targets.
  • Send personalised thank-you notes for jobs well done. Adding handwritten messages that show your gratitude and appreciation for their dedication to their work inspires them to become better and more loyal employees.
  • Show public appreciation by featuring your best employees on the company’s Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Photos of them in action with nice captions that highlight the significance of their work are wonderful ways to show your gratitude.

Create an online employee community 

Promote peer-to-peer appreciation by letting them nominate their best performing team member. Set up an online bulletin board to share their success moments and pride points. It will motivate every team to work harder and deliver better outcomes. 

Keep communication open and lively

Keep everyone updated with what is going on within the organisation, especially information about the coronavirus. Regular video conference calls or Zoom meetings foster closer and better team connections. There should be chat rooms for every department for immediate concerns. 

  • Encourage everyone to contribute ideas and suggestions.
  • Make time to honor your employees for who they are and what they can do for the company by listening and considering their opinions and feedback.
  • Share positive news and information to promote positivity.
  • Schedule virtual activities and happy hours.

Hold virtual celebrations

While the pandemic is preventing companies from holding live events, it should not stop you from getting creative and organise virtual celebrations. By celebrating small and major successes, it makes the employees see opportunities and possibilities during this pandemic. Successful businesses focus more on growth and metrics that will deliver forward traction and bigger profits. 

  • Celebrate milestones and victories by sending special goodies to everyone’s homes to mark the celebrations.
  • Surprise birthday celebrants by sending birthday cake and a company gift.
  • Celebrate work anniversaries by giving gift certificates and incentives. 

Offer flexible schedules

Encourage your employees to avail of flexible schedules for work-life balance during this stressful period. 

  • Allow them to identify their peak performance hours and assign important tasks within these hours. 
  • Set boundaries by limiting emails to office hours only, letting them focus on their personal lives after a day’s work.

Promote deserving employees

The most direct way to recognise your employees is to give promotion as it entails tangible benefits like salary increase and advancement of their career. If funds are running low, create a sound plan to guarantee when it will be added to their basic pay.

Offer fringe benefits

If you cannot offer a salary raise, another good option is to offer fringe benefits.

  • Provide a stipend to cover a portion of their internet or cell phone bill. 
  • Start giving transportation allowance or cover the parking cost if they have cars. 
  • Offer free food and beverages during lunch or snack time.

Offer career advancement learning

The new normal is an opportunity to help your employees grow in their careers. Take advantage of remote working schedules by helping them improve their skills and expertise. Provide free career development webinars or leadership training programs that will inspire employees to step up.


This pandemic has brought into light the significance of the unsung heroes of every company- the rank and file employees who are doing extraordinary performances to help the management unlock and attain their business goals. Employee recognition is not just a performance tool, but a way to encourage wellbeing. It is a form of giving back and helping them value their worth as an individual and part of the whole workforce. By recognising their valuable support and commitment to their duties, you are lifting their spirits, giving hope, and providing a strong sense of security amidst the continuing uncertainties and challenges.