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Topic: Culture

Puget Sound Energy (PSE)

Connecting employees and boosting morale in uncertain times with recognition

“Distance can’t erode connection”

– Karl Frunz, Training Consultant-Recognition Lead, Puget Sound Energy

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Puget Sound Energy knew they had to help their newly remote workers as well as their front-line employees to stay connected to the organization and one another. Their main priority was to support leaders with better techniques for managing from afar, as well as keep morale up. How do you help employees feel connected with their leaders and stay positive during a time of transition and social distancing?

Leaders started reaching out to recognize and appreciate their people. The company created special awards to reinforce and recognize employee safety, which is an important workplace initiative for the organization. IT leaders recognized team members who played a pivotal role in transitioning employees to remote work and supporting their IT needs at home. Leadership sent the IT team a special package with handwritten notes, recognition certificates, and wireless speakers as a thank you gift for their extra efforts.

Leaders have seen and celebrated the extra work employees are doing during these challenging times. People are staying connected to each other through ecards and formal recognition for great work. These recognition “morale boosters”, as Karl Frunz, Training Consultant-Recognition Lead at PSE, calls them, remind employees that the company values their uniqueness as an individual, which can be lost behind a screen or a phone.

Frunz sent the following email to PSE leaders right after the country went on lock-down and employees transitioned to social distancing at work:

Advice includes: send/share small, positive messages, celebrate that we are staying compliant, share humor to reduce stress and retain connection, and be forward focused.

Recognition is powerful: it boosts morale, shows employees they are valued, helps us focus on the positive, reinforces important behaviors, and connects people to each other and the organization. Companies can help leaders leverage the power of recognition through frequent reminders, emails like Frunz’, and modeling the act of giving recognition. People are your most important asset, especially during challenging times, and it’s important to express gratitude for team members who will help you weather this storm.

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