Communicate and Invest to Ride Out the Downturn Successfully

Mark Royal and Will Werhane of research firm Hay Group Insight recently discussed the importance of employee engagement in an ailing economy in a recent Talent Management article.

Royal and Werhane note, importantly, “Savvy talent managers recognize key contributors are the greatest flight risks, as they are likely to have opportunities elsewhere, even in a strained labor market.” So what do you do to kill the rumor mill and motivate employees in this ailing economy? A couple of Royal and Werhane’s suggestions are particularly pertinent:
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Talent managers need to help employees understand the company has a coherent strategy that will allow it to succeed in the current business environment, that both the company as a whole and its individual divisions are making progress relative to strategic objectives and that all employees have a role to play in helping the organization carry out its plans.”

Individuals need to know their individual contributions contribute to organizational success. Help them understand that by recognizing their efforts to meet and exceed company goals by specifically calling out their actions that support these goals. Then share their success with others to clearly demonstrate what the company needs individuals to do.
Sweat the Small Stuff, which represents not only financial outlays but also important opportunities to reinforce that the organization values employee contributions. In an environment in which leaders are asking their teams to do more with fewer resources, maintaining high levels of employee engagement is critical. A little discretionary spending may be a wise investment if it promotes greater discretionary effort from employees.”

For just a very small investment of percentage of payroll in strategic recognition, companies can reap dramatic rewards in increased employee engagement, performance and motivation. Often companies don’t even need to spend more, just uncover funds already being spent that are not being tracked or measured. Almost every company will admit managers have a goodie drawer for over-achieving employees, or pay for a gift card or a dinner out from their own pocket, only to seek reimbursement on an expense report. Uncover that budget, consolidate it and repurpose it into a far more strategic and universally meaningful investment in strategic recognition to impact the success of the entire company.

What steps are you taking to encourage employees to higher performance in today’s economic environment? Share your tips in comments.

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