How to move from Physical to Virtual Recognition Program?

Carolina Gomez

Growth Hacker

Step-by-Step Guide to Virtual Employee Recognition Programs

In today’s fast-paced world, where everything is moving digital, from digital workspaces, managing programs, virtual assistants and more, many organizations are transitioning from traditional physical recognition programs to virtual ones.

Whether it's for employee recognition, customer loyalty, or partner appreciation, virtual recognition programs offer numerous advantages, including cost-effectiveness, scalability, and the ability to reach a wider audience. So, if you're considering making this shift, this guide will walk you through the process of moving from physical to virtual recognition programs.

Understanding the Need for Change

Before diving into the transition process, it's essential to understand why you want to move from a physical to a virtual recognition program. Is it a real need for the way your team is located, or is it another reason behind the change?

According to a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 83% of organizations now use some form of virtual recognition programs, attributing their adoption to increased employee engagement and motivation.

These are only a few of the reasons to move from a physical to a virtual recognition program:


Virtual recognition programs often require fewer resources and can be more cost-effective than physical ones. In fact, a survey conducted by Deloitte found that companies that transitioned to virtual recognition programs reduced their operational costs by an average of 30%.


Virtual programs can easily accommodate a growing number of participants without significant logistical challenges.  For example, one case study from a global tech company reported a 50% increase in program participation after transitioning to a virtual platform, without the need for significant logistical adjustments, only embracing the use of digital tools.

Remote Work:

With the rise of remote work, virtual recognition programs allow you to engage and motivate your team, no matter where they are located. This is evident in a survey conducted by Gallup, which found that 75% of remote workers felt more engaged when recognized virtually.

Data and Analytics:

Virtual programs provide valuable data and analytics that can help you track the impact of your recognition efforts. One example is a retail chain that saw a 20% boost in sales after analyzing customer data from its virtual loyalty program and tailoring rewards accordingly.

Step by Step to Transition

Now that we know this, how do we start the transition? What are the steps involved in this change?

Let’s dig deep into it:

Set Clear Objectives:

Define the objectives of your virtual recognition program. What do you want to achieve? Let’s say that you want to improve employee morale, increase customer loyalty, or strengthen partner relationships. Defining the goal and a way that you will measure it, will guide this transition.

Identify Key Stakeholders:

Involve everyone,  HR people, marketing, IT, and leadership teams, in the decision-making process. By doing this, you ensure that everyone understands the benefits and objectives of the transition, also you can gather important information about how to create a unique and personalized program focused on the needs of all employees.

Select the Right Technology:

Choose the right software or platform for your virtual recognition program. There are plenty of options available, with integrations in Slack, or Microsoft Teams. Do your research and look for the features that are important for your employees, such as user-friendly interfaces, customizable options, and the ability to integrate with other systems. For example, Teamflect or Evergreen, are apps that will allow you to have a leaderboard and analytics of the recognition of the employees, while Engagewith allows you to also have anonymous feedback.

Design the Program:

Create a virtual recognition program that aligns with your organization's values and culture, check with your employees what they would like to have with the program, and get to know their needs. Once you gather all the information, start designing the program by considering different types of recognition, such as peer recognition, manager recognition, automated rewards, work-anniversary milestones, and more.

When it comes to the design, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Personalize: We know it, we want to feel special, and recognition is the same, that is why tailored recognition is more meaningful. In fact, a study by WorldatWork found that 84% of employees prefer personalized recognition, customized to their preferences and achievements.
  • Be Transparent:  Clarify the criteria for recognition and the rewards involved, so you can build trust and engagement with employees.
  • Keep Consistent: Maintain a consistent way of recognizing and rewarding achievements. The regularity reinforces the program's importance and can lead to an impact on remote team productivity.
  • Inclusion: Ensure that your virtual recognition program is inclusive and accessible to all participants, regardless of their location or abilities. By making the virtual recognition program accessible to all, you can achieve an increase in participation among differently-abled employees.
  • Security: Implement robust security measures to protect sensitive data and user information within the virtual platform. By implementing stringent security protocols, you can ensure program compliance.

Launch and Promote:

Once you designed a program that aligns with the company’s values and more, launch the virtual recognition program and promote it internally and externally. In this step is important to ensure that all participants understand how recognition will work in the virtual environment and how to use the platform. Sometimes if people don’t understand how it works, they don’t get involved in that. So, to avoid that, make sure everyone understands how it will work.

Training and Support:

Once is launched, always provide training and support to users, including employees, customers, or partners. Make sure they know how to give and receive recognition effectively and do regular follow-ups on how they are using it, and how they are getting involved.

Feedback and Adaptation:

Continuously gather feedback from users and analyze data to make improvements. Adapt the program based on user input and performance metrics.

How to do it? Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as employee engagement, customer satisfaction, or partner collaboration. Track the number of recognitions given, the frequency of platform use, and any improvements in the targeted areas.

Doing this regularly will help you to measure the program's effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.

Celebrate Successes:

The constant feedback and adaptation will help you to keep always innovating for your employees and this is worthy to celebrate. Keep track of all the success stories that emerge from your virtual recognition program and highlight the positive impact it has had on individuals and the organization as a whole.

Moving from a physical to a virtual recognition program can be a strategic decision that enhances your organization's ability to motivate and engage your employees. Now, by following these steps and best practices, you can successfully transition and enjoy the benefits of a better cost-effective, and data-driven approach to recognition.

Start today with your virtual recognition program

Start by implementing a tool for employee recognition like Evergreen. With this peer-to-peer recognition app, you can make the change from a physical recognition program to a virtual one. You can give shout-outs and keep track of how your employees are involved in it.  Now you can have a unique way that helps you give recognition to your team while also helping the environment.

Embrace the digital world and start recognizing virtually with Evergreen.

Book a demo here!

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