HR Executives Agree * Recognition Critical in a Recession

On Monday, I blogged about research showing the benefits of recognition to nearly every sector of the business. This article, which appeared in Workforce Management last month, brings that research into the real world in interviews with the HR chiefs at McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Caterpillar – service, consumer products manufacturing, and discrete manufacturing – a fairly reflective sampling of companies today. And all three agree on the importance of recognition today and to the success of their long-term talent strategy.

Cynthia McCague, Director of HR, Coca-Cola:

“Our CEO has a phrase that we’ve borrowed from the [Obama] administration: We believe that we can’t waste this crisis. If we do the right things in every market around the world, we’re going to come out with stronger market share and a healthier business at the end of this cycle. … We’ve been very purposeful about staying the course on our recognition programs. We did a program all over the world prior to the last Olympics where various people could be nominated for living the values of the company.”
Rich Floersch, Chief HR Officer, McDonald’s:
“Recognition programs, regardless of this economy, are so powerful in terms of building commitment, engagement and loyalty. Boy, it’d be a long time before we’d think about changing any of those.”
Sid Banwart, chief HR officer, Caterpillar:
“We believe very strongly that recognition is something that must continue. And it’s especially important at the local level in real time for something that is important to that team at that point in time. … The point is, recognition is not something you turn on and off because of the economic situation. It’s probably especially important in tough times.”
Yes, yes and yes! Wise company leaders must take this opportunity to ensure they are well positioned to drive their markets when the upturn comes. Recognition is a very powerful means to engage employees in your organization and your strategic objectives. Recognition is critical during tough times to boost morale, overcome fear and gain competitive advantage. I congratulate these industry leaders for their foresight and commitment to the fundamentals of creating a culture of appreciation in their organizations. Well done!

How would you answer this question posed by Workforce Management? “Should recognition programs go out the door because we’re trying to look like we’re all battening down the hatches?” Give me your answer in comments and be sure to take our poll.

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