We've finally decided that it was time to make the time and effort to bring to our clients what we hope will become a valuable resource. Over the next few issues we will be bringing to you a series of articles that we think will help you make informed decisions around the topics of incentives, motivation and recognition. So without further ado ... our first installment.
Let the Bad Times Roll
By every indication it looks as though 2009 is going to be a bad year – the markets continue to tank, corporate profits are dropping, job losses are at an all-time high, and the list appears to go on ad nauseum.
But when the smoke has cleared and the debris has settled those of us who hunkered down and did what we needed to do to survive are still going to be faced with the same human resources issues that have always been on the table, including how to motivate our work force.
In point of fact this single issue may be one of the most underestimated problems businesses may face – how to keep moral high within the pool of job survivors.
It's not unreasonable to expect high anxiety levels among employees who managed to keep their jobs while co-workers, family members or friends find themselves polishing up their resumes for an attempt to find gainful employment.
Unfortunately, watching someone else's world crumble around them can leave survivors in a near zombie-like state as they wait for the (real or imagined) other shoe to drop. There is an undeniable "what's the point of it all" feeling that can take hold of an employee and leave them seriously under motivated.
And under motivated employees are bad news. Bad news for production, bad news for sales, bad news for other employee's motivation and in the end, bad news for business, period.
During good times it was easy enough to motivate people with expensive parties and gifts. But the pool of money that once funded lavish parties and expensive getaways or retreats for team-building, if it still exists, is drying up quickly.
Yet despite the lack of funds, ironically businesses can't afford to completely abandon efforts to motivate employees. A well-trained employee is one of the most valuable assets most businesses have. And as our workforces are pared down more and more, the expectation is often to pile more work on to existing employees to get the work done.
So how do you work your way around this classic catch 22 situation? By getting back to basics. The core of the problem is how to show an employee they are valuable and appreciated without breaking the bank.
In our experience one of the most effective ways to do this is also one of the most tried and true approaches to recognition – plaques and awards.
Plaques and awards are low cost and cost-effective in comparison to many other types of recognition. And with a personalized award the recipient gets a real sense of immediate appreciation for their accomplishment, while having something that will constantly remind them of the fact. Every time they look at it they will be reminded of their professional value to the company. It is like they are patted on the back each time they see it.
When combined with or in addition to an awards ceremony, they also receive the admiration of their peers in a public venue, which in turn motivates other employees to perform in hopes of receiving the same level of recognition.
For lasting and immediate appreciation you just can't do any better, dollar for dollar.
By Rod Gilchrist
If you have any questions or comments concerning this article we welcome your opinions. Please email them to newsletter@123-Awards.com. We also welcome any suggestions for story ideas.