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Business is Difficult, Make Recognition Easy

May 11, 2009

I recently participated in a video interview series for SHRM during their Staffing Management Conference in Las Vegas. It was a great opportunity to share Terryberry’s experience as it relates to recognition in a challenging economy, and other than the intense lighting that made me feel like a Big Mac @ McDonalds under heating lamps, it was painless.
As you can imagine much of the interview centered on employee recognition during a recession or economic downturn. We talked from a couple different angles about whether or not employee recognition was more, less, or equally important in an economy like we are currently facing. This wasn’t the first time this line of questioning came up and it will most likely not be the last time we’ll address it. However, it was the first time I was sure that my response was being recorded so I was ready and bit into it: Effective employee recognition strategies are vital regardless of the state of the economy. Certainly, in a tougher business environment where organizations are asking more from their employees and they have less to give in the way of merit increases or bonuses, it serves a different purpose. Consistently communicating to your people the value of their contribution and the impact they are having is one of a limited number of tools left at a manager’s disposal.
As business leaders could we maybe “get away with” less recognition? Sure, you could probably make an argument for this short-term move as employees have fewer opportunities than they have in the past. But we’re fooling ourselves if we think people won’t remember how they were treated during this time period (they will), and if we don’t consistently recognize their efforts, they’ll jump ship when the economy begins to turn around.
Short answer: Yes, effective employee recognition practices are as important now as ever!


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