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Virtual Fist Bumps Are Necessary in a WFH World

The rate of Kudos, the recognition feature on Centrical's employee performance management platform, rose 150% from pre-pandemic levels between mid-March and the end of July. In this post Centrical's CEO, Gal Rimon, explains how and why WFH employees benefit from, perform better when they - and their managers - can get and give praise frequently and easily.

By: Gal Rimon, Founder & CEO, Centrical

Virtual Fist Bumps Are Necessary in a WFH World

For thousands of employees at large companies around the globe, Friday, March 13, 2020 was the day they went from working in offices to their homes. It was so abrupt many didn’t have time to make a smooth transition to their new place of work. Because suddenly the instant collaboration with co-workers, the on-the-spot coaching from a manager, and the comradery that so many relished each day – was gone.

As the early “shelter in place” days past, numerous reports surfaced of employees feeling lonely. Having a real sense of disconnectedness. And that makes complete sense. They went from environments with a high degree of human interaction, where it was commonplace to praise each other, giving each other actual fist bumps or high fives, to isolation.

For many the value, and fun of those moments of praise vanished. But not for everyone. Those on the Centrical employee engagement and performance management platform – working from anywhere – were still able to offer praise to work colleagues and get fist bumps from them and their managers. That’s part of the power of Centrical’s Kudos.

Reflective of employees’ desire to maintain connections and routines – including letting co-workers know their help was appreciated, even while they were working far apart from each other – we saw an amazing data point about Kudos and COVID-19.

Between that day in mid-March and the end of July, Centrical users, employees of our customers, stepped up their praise for each other – as they worked from home – dramatically. Kudos increased 150% from pre-pandemic levels.

Kudos aren’t simply digital gold stars for jobs well done. Although that is a portion of this Centrical  capability. Praise from peers is a tremendous motivator. According to Dana Brownlee, a corporate trainer and author of the book, “The Unwritten Rules of Managing UP: Project Management Techniques from the Trenches,” peer recognition is a big performance booster. She calls it “an employee engagement secret weapon.”

When employees, and their managers, offer kudos to each other they’re creating a supportive culture, one that encourages employees to excel by reinforcing positive behaviors. It supports the sense of team, allowing WFH employees to still feel connected to each other. It makes them feel valued for their efforts and helps to increase productivity. It also improves staff retention.

Aspects of Centrical Kudos that amplify its impact on employees and abilities of managers to control the day-to-day activities of a dispersed, remotely working team include:

·       Sending and receiving Kudos in the flow of work with personalized messaging

·       Democratizing feedback because Kudos makes recognition easy to do with frequency

·       Data-derived insights into who’s seen as leaders, supporters, or helpers to identify the next set of team leaders, based on the number of kinds of Kudos received or sent

More than a mechanism to effect virtual high fives or fist bumps in this time of social distancing, Kudos is a remarkable tool for bringing attention to and adoption of desired behaviors. And that’s important in a remote working construct. It causes all involved to focus on a specific behavior. To get messages of reinforcement often and in unexpected ways. Lastly, Kudos can be seen by others, spreading the good feelings across the entire team. No matter where they might be working.

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