Getting Your HR House in Order for 2009

Joanna Higgins of the Bnet Sterling Performance blog recently published a post asking HR: Are You Ready for the Workplace of 2009?. It’s an interesting post offering five tips to help HR professionals adapt to the new workplace needs due to the recession. Three tips in particular can be addressed or assisted through strategic employee recognition:
Focus on productivity: Focus on your goal as HR professionals — to raise productivity by providing advice and training to help people become effective at work.”

Increasing (or even maintaining) productivity is a challenge in this economy as employees are consumed by fear, anger and resentment and are distracted by the rumor mill. Targeted productivity improvement in those areas specifically most needed by management is even more difficult. All employees need recognition for their efforts and validation that their work is appreciated — now more than ever. If those recognitions are tied to a company value demonstrated or strategic objective achieved, then employees begin to see how their individual efforts contribute to company success. This is by far the most positive and effective way of encouraging repetition of precisely those actions company leaders need from every employee to succeed in this recession.
Associate metrics with money: Your boss will want to see evidence that costs have gone down while revenue’s risen. That means understanding how to translate your financial reporting into a form that most directly translates into relevant financial facts. Another silver lining: HR can demonstrate the “hidden” costs of cutting the training budget too drastically.”

HR can also demonstrate the hidden costs of cutting recognition too drastically as well as show the value of recognition - if tracked and reported appropriately. Consolidating often disparate recognition programs into one can save global companies up to 50% of their current investment in recognition. Reporting on those savings alone is important. Taking the productivity discussion above one step farther, implemented correctly, a strategic recognition program can show executives what events or employee actions (and where in the organization these actions are occurring) are impacting productivity or other goals.
Plan for recovery: This, too, shall pass — and the company will need to keep an eye on the horizon in anticipation of an upturn in the economy. Keep building your image as an employer of choice, help managers cope with the fluctuations and focus on keeping your top talent.”

The smart companies are planning for the upturn now. Your best employees have long memories and they are paying attention to how you handle employee relations in this downturn. They may forgive you for necessary layoffs, but they may not forgive lack of appreciation for their extra effort after such actions. Make sure they know you value them and their efforts and the company culture itself is solid, positive, and appreciative -- even during this recession.

Are you focusing on productivity, proving the value of your programs with metrics associated with money, and planning for the recovery? What are your techniques? Share with the team in comments.

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