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Benefits of Recognition in a Challenging Economy

By implementing a strategic employee recognition program during recessionary times, you immediately position your company better than your competition by ensuring your people are in a positive mind-set. It may seem counterintuitive to spend dollars on rewarding employees when tightening the budget makes sense, but this investment goes beyond short-term thinking. The opportunity to create a marked difference between good morale companies and bad morale companies is likely more pronounced now than it has been for decades.

Research firm Mercer recently released the results of a global survey of more than a thousand HR and finance professionals representing organizations with operations in more than 100 countries. In the Leading through Unprecedented Times report, Mercer Chief Markets Officer Patricia A. Milligan comments:

"Many multinational companies have been facing rising cost pressure throughout 2008 and in recent months have been managing compensation costs and workforce levels aggressively while working to keep employees engaged and productive. But our survey shows that—at least as a group—most of these companies have refrained from taking severe and broad-based steps. This is a balancing act. Discussions with our clients indicate that more dramatic actions are being considered by boards and senior management should the downturn become deeper or prolonged. It is also likely that companies learned important lessons in previous economic downturns about the importance of talent in creating competitive advantage, and so are reluctant to take actions that could hamper their recovery once the economy improves."

This same opinion has been reported by Gallup, Towers Perrin, Watson Wyatt and others that companies know they need to retain their top talent during this recession to position themselves for success when the upturn comes. Employees have long memories. Your best people will always have options. If you do not offer them a culture they want to be a part of – a culture of appreciation that shows how individual efforts support company objectives – they will leave. If not now, then when the economy turns.

Most of your top talent understands the need for some cutbacks and even layoffs due to the recession. It is how you treat your employees before, during and after those actions that will have the most impact on their attitudes now and in the future.

– Adapted from "Gain Competitive Advantage with Strategic Recognition Now," Derek Irvine, globoforce.blogspot.com.