Using Strategic Recognition to Reengage Employees during Stressful Times

As employees worry more about keeping their jobs, their ability to focus on the job at hand tends to slip. These five critical steps can help you reengage your employees in their daily activities and boost company performance during distressing economic times.

1) See your employees as people and assets, not costs.
Your employees are people first -- and also assets and stakeholders in the success of the company. By engaging them fully in their work, leadership can help them be more fulfilled in their daily efforts, which drives additional value to the company. Clearly define employee-specific roles and expectations that are tied to overall department, division or company goals and you will see additional bottom-line results from their efforts.

2) Let your employees know they and their work make a difference.
Communicate the value employees bring through a strategic recognition program explicitly linking company values and goals to the employee behaviors and actions being recognized. Frequent and appropriate recognition helps employees see how their effort is delivering on company goals and mirroring company values.

3) Counter employee confusion and discontent over actions such as layoffs or reorganizations with constant communication.
Keep all employees engaged in daily efforts by communicating the reality of the situation, but with a tone of hope. Communicating the objectives and vision of a company during a downturn can provide a sense of security. Make your commitment to your employees clear by keeping a strategic recognition program in place and running smoothly, rewarding them for actions aligned with the objectives and vision.

4) Boost performance through recognition when merit increases become cost prohibitive.
Consistent, appropriate and frequent recognition encourages employees to perform at a higher level. After reducing annual increases to the minimum, companies can reinforce the psychological contract with employees with a well considered recognition program. Such a program feeds an employee’s need for Psychic Income™, which is the additional value they derive from increased social acceptance, self-esteem and self realization.

5) Optimize strategy execution through reinforcement of effective implementation steps.
A tough economy removes the cushion companies have become accustomed to in times of growth. There is no longer any margin for error or delay in executing on a company’s strategic objectives. A recognition program based on the company’s strategy helps employees clearly understand the goals and encourages and rewards them for effective implementation.

What steps are you taking to counteract the fears your employees may be experiencing in today’s slowing market?

2 comment(s):

At June 26, 2008 9:11 AM, David Zinger said...

I appreciate your points about recognition during tough times and how vital and important it is. I appreciate your 5 points. I would see my employees as humans before assets or costs. When this is done, I believe that recognition of our humanness transforms both recognition and engagement work into authentic within the moment workplace wellness. I believe wellness should not to something separate from work but something infused into our work by ourselves and others. I salute your work in helping others "recognize" this.

At June 26, 2008 10:12 AM, Derek Irvine said...

David, thanks for your insights. I agree – it is all too common, especially in difficult economic times, for management to lose sight of the “people” among the “assets” and “costs.” True leaders must not allow that to happen.

Thank you also for “recognizing” our efforts to bring this positive message back to the corporate world – we shall keep doing just that!