Why Another Virtual Happy Hour Isn't the Answer

Employee engagement is a hot topic these days. With most tech workers still working remotely, the complexity of how to connect...

February 23, 2021

Employee engagement is a hot topic these days. With most tech workers still working remotely, the complexity of how to connect a virtual workplace is top of mind. At the start of the pandemic, we saw a wave of organizations starting with the logical question: if we now must adapt to a virtual world, how do we take what once worked in a physical space and bring that experience to the virtual world? 

Nearly one year after the start of the pandemic, this approach has left us with a flooding of virtual team coffee chats, yoga classes, and happy hours. We responded in the way we thought made the most sense. However, what we see now, is that another virtual happy hour isn't the answer to our employee engagement problem. It's contributing to it.

Employees feel engaged when recognized for their work and reminded of how they are making a valuable contribution to the company and its overall success. Engaged employees understand how their work impacts the company's goals and are confident that the work they do matters. Recognition is a critical component to ensuring your employees feel valued and stay engaged long after the video chat goodbyes are over.

Our workplace and the norms within it are changing at a rapid pace. The old ways of employee engagement must catch up to the times and change too. I don't believe the rate of these radical changes is going away after the pandemic. Instead, I think we'll only continue to see more changes ahead of how we get work done. If we continue to rely on what worked for us in a physical space, we miss out on all of the new opportunities that a virtual space provides. We must explore how to derive the most significant benefits from a virtual world given its future reality. 

The happy hour is not at its best in a virtual space -- and that's okay. There are endless ways to engage your teams that shine in a virtual world. It's time we evolve from our attempts to translate the physical into the virtual world. Instead, I encourage all leaders to lean into the employee engagement initiatives that are better executed in a virtual environment and enjoy the possibilities that these bring.

To get you started, here are some employee engagement ideas that provide a lasting impact in a virtual workplace 

  • Recognize employee achievements and milestones: Recognition leaves employees with a sense of accomplishment and value for their contributions. Workplace recognition can be collaborative, too -- share wins at team meetings and highlights exceptional achievements and virtual recognition leaderboards at company all hands. Employee recognition increases productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.
  • Offer flexibility as much as possible: Your employees are working hard amid complex circumstances. Respect their evening time to relax and unplug in the ways that serve them best. You'll benefit from a truly recharged team.
  • Check-in 1:1: For many employees, a personal check-in goes a long way in helping them feel recognized and valued. Shake up the norm and offer to meet 1:1 over a phone call walk-and-talk for an honest check-in. 
  • Embed inclusivity: Partner with Employee Resource Groups to learn about the experiences of employees from different groups. Listen to their perspectives and hear their advice about what they need. Virtual training through conferences or online courses can provide tailored experiences to your employees, making them feel engaged and included. 
  • Continue to socialize and normalize mental health resources: HR leaders should pay special attention to how they help employees navigate their workload and overall mental health. More than ever, organizations should over-communicate the available resources, the value that these resources provide, and the normalcy of pausing to prioritize one's mental health.
  • Survey your employees: Access to employee pulse survey data provides insight into how your employees are doing and what they need. Ask survey questions that dig into what makes employees feel recognized and engaged. The data will enable you to create an action plan around the gaps that exist and go deeper into programming that's working.

Assembly's employee engagement platform creates the foundation needed for meaningful recognition in a virtual world. Employees can give and receive recognition throughout the organization -- engaging with colleagues across locations, levels, and teams with interactive gifs and personalized messages. Time zones and physical workspaces are a non-issue as employees build connections through earned badges and points that can be redeemed for culture awards and prizes.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. These one-time services start at $5,000. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered