How Careerminds Does Employee Recognition in a Virtual Environment

September 11, 2019 by Aley Brown

Employee recognition.

Have you heard of the term before?

Who am I kidding! If you have a pulse and have been working in HR for any amount of time, you’ve probably been bombarded with this phrase over and over again.



And for good reason.

In today’s job market, with low unemployment rates and pickier than ever workers, recognizing your employees is one of the best, and easiest, things you can do to retain your staff.

(We all know retaining your current staff is loads cheaper than hiring a new person!)

So, that’s why our leadership team here at Careerminds decided to implement our own employee recognition program. Even though we have an amazing culture, we still aren’t immune to the issues happening in the workforce.

And we have an extra layer of difficulty added in: our entire team is 100 percent virtual. Every single person at Careerminds works remotely.

Asking someone to stand up during a weekly team meeting to get applause for work well done just doesn’t cut it in a virtual organization. Of course, we have Slack and still give each other praise through that channel regularly, but it still isn’t the same.

Since we’re virtual, we wanted something tangible that people could see, touch, and feel, that shows our appreciation for their hard work.


Here is how they work at our organization:

  1. When an employee has done over-the-top, amazing, out-of-the-ordinary work, their boss nominates them for a spot award.
  2. In monthly leadership meetings, we go over who was nominated and choose people from our $100 per month allowance.
  3. From there, we make a funny Jib-Jab video of our leadership team saying thanks and post it in slack, letting the person know that they have won. Then we email over the Amazon gift card.

Sounds overly simple, right? Well, yes, it is simple, but simple goes a long, long way.

Here is a quote from Josh, a member of my team who received the award:

“Winning the award for completing a difficult project was a nice surprise. My boss, and other leadership members, made a quick video online and everything that really showed that they cared and also had fun in the process. Not only was the recognition appreciated, I also used the awarded gift card to buy some books that I’d been eyeing online. Since then, it’s always nice to see others win the Spot Award, especially because it’s not something given out just because – there’s always a reason for someone to win it, making it feel like an honor when you’re on the receiving end.”

Wanna know what Josh did to win the award?

He wrote over 60 blog posts in 3 weeks time so that we could save money by not hiring a freelance writer. And guess what? He was okay with it.

I almost think he would do it again if I asked him to.

(Josh if you’re reading this, don’t get scared, I won’t make you.)




But in all honesty, Josh probably would do it again. Because our leadership team gives him verbal praise all the time and we put our money where our mouth is to make sure that he felt something tangible related to that recognition.

And the work he did would’ve cost thousands of dollars if I had to outsource it!

Here’s what another member of our team, Elaine, has to say about receiving the award:

“It was so unexpected to be acknowledged by my team members for just putting some extra effort in on a project that needed to be done quickly and to receive a Spot Award.”

So, What’s Next?

We’re planning to implement an employee led version of this same system!

Every employee will have their own budget for giving their peers spot awards, so that everyone has the potential to receive praise from every direction of the organization, not just vertically from their boss.

Not only will this add another layer of recognition into our culture, but it allows management to see how employees are going above and beyond for each other in ways that we might miss.

Do you have any tips on how to implement an employee recognition program? Send them to me at abrown@careerminds.

Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll talk about the impacts of our employee-led awards!

Aley Brown

Aley Brown

Aley is a versatile global business leader with proven experience managing high-performing teams and engaging a data-driven approach to strategies that exceed company objectives.

In need of outplacement assistance?

At Careerminds, we care about people first. That’s why we offer personalized talent management solutions for every level at lower costs, globally.

Speak with an Expert

Log In Contact Us