As we all know, the social distancing required by COVID-19 has led many businesses to require their employees to work remotely from home. Meetings by teleconference, once a sometime thing, have quickly become the new normal.
Even if your employees aren’t coming into the office, however, recognizing their achievements is still important for maintaining engagement and morale – maybe even more so, as they’re missing out on face-to-face workplace interaction and may be feeling isolated and forgotten about. And as the general consensus seems to be that the move to remote work will be a continuing trend after COVID, this need to maintain connection will only increase.
Consider a virtual awards night
If your company hosted an annual awards ceremony before social distancing, you may have considered turning it into a virtual event. While hosting such an event online poses a few challenges, it’s definitely worth doing.
If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a virtual conferencing tool, like Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts. Advanced event planning tools specially designed for virtual events are also available, if more expensive. Whatever tech you’re using, be sure it can handle as many participants as you expect to show up. And definitely do a run-through using the system, and expect to have a few glitches during the event.
Just as with an in-person ceremony, you’ll need to plan your event carefully in terms of what happens in what order, and how much time you have allotted for each segment. If the pace of your event isn’t snappy, people may just get bored and log off.
You may want to have a “set” or appropriate visual backdrop for the space from which the event is hosted. Make sure that everyone you want to invite gets plenty of repeated advance notice of when and how to plug into the event, and if they need a passcode.
Maintaining the excitement
Of course, part of the fun of awards events is actually presenting the plaques or trophies. In a virtual ceremony you may have to forego this, though you can also ship award items to winners ahead of time and have them open the package on cue and on camera during the virtual event. If you want an exciting “the envelope, please” moment, you can inform each winner that they’re getting some type of award, but not the details, and tell them not to open the package before the big moment.
The event should have its own associated website if possible, where people can get information about it. In addition to your live stream of the event, you should record it so those who couldn’t attend can enjoy it later; this recording can be put on the website.