What strategies are you using to keep employees engaged and motivated during these tough times? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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What strategies are you using to keep employees engaged and motivated during these tough times?

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in The HR Specialist Forum

The recession is taking its toll on worker morale. But some organizations seem to weather tough times just fine, with purpose, good humor and great results. Does that sound like your company? If so, please tell us what you do to keep employees motivated and engaged in their work. Do you use formal programs? Special recognition events? Or just good, old-fashioned management?—John, HR Specialist

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill March 10, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Great ideas. Recognizing birthdays and workplace anniversaries has also been helpful and a boost in morale where I work. Especially in this tough market. My problem is trying to remember these important dates. I found a business that not only remembers these dates for me, but actually creates a high quality, hand crafted, and customized card for my team members automatically. For around $7 per card. The responses that I have received from my direct reports have been incredible. It has really helped to maintain morale. Let me know if you want the website.


Tray March 5, 2009 at 10:53 am

Our company recently announced a parking spot incentive…we have shift work and the second shift is always scrounging around for a parking space, this spot was free, didn’t cost the company anything and everyone with good safety and meets or exceeds productivity goals is entered into the monthly drawing to have this prime spot. It has helped increase our morale! We also recognize all of our birthdays and anniversaries each month with applause and good wishes as well as a little treat to let everyone know we appreciate them not only everyday but on their special days too!


Judy March 3, 2009 at 4:09 pm


I couldn’t agree with you more. A public acknowledgment of a good job is one of the best motivators I have seen or used. We supplied employees with gas cards when gas prices were over $4 per gal. They were appreciated but I know that I have seen people beam with pride when they are recognized during a staff meeting for a “job well done” or “above and beyond.” We have had to reduce the employer contributions to our profit sharing plans as well as offer a buy-up option on the better of two health plans we offer. All of this is digging into the employees pockets even more. They haven’t been happy campers about it either. We tell themn to just hold on and things will get better. I try to do little things that don’t cost the company any money such as decorating the break room so it looks more festive, put funny stickers on notes to employees. I buy these myself but it is worth it to see everyone smile.


Nancy February 25, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I imagine the gift cards Kevin spoke of come out of some sort of employee-relations budget. We do this too. HR hands out a stash of cards a couple times a year, for places like Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Target and the local movie theater chains. We managers are encouraged to spontaneously hand them out in recognition of teamwork, going above and beyond, etc. They range in value from $5 to $50.

It’s kind of a small gesture, but it’s appreciated. I always try to do this publicly with a real “thank you” and a description of what the person did.


Lillian February 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Personally … I would be happy just getting a “Thank You” … or “Good Job” … I believe that praising someone for a job well done goes oh so far!! Don’t believe me? Ask someone who does not get praised for doing a good job … ask someone who never gets praised (like me) for working hard and I believe the larger percentage of people will tell you that giving someone respect, praise (and share it with others also, not just that person, shout it from the rooftops) and sincere appreciation for their hard work will go a long way in their hearts and minds to encourage them to continue to continue to work hard and do a good job.
EVERYONE knows how tight money is and that budgets are being cut across the board, and personally I would almost feel a bit of resentment toward a “boss” who makes enough money to give away a $50 gift card every day when I am struggling to make ends meet. I believe that good old-fashioned work ethics should always apply and when someone seems to be lacking in motivation, or is struggling during these tough economic times, pulling together and showing your co-workers that you are here to support one another, and for Supervisors to let their staff know they appreciate them cannot be beat! I believe that the simple things still mean so much to most people …


Kevin T. February 25, 2009 at 10:05 am

Two words: Gift cards.
Our managers are giving out $50 Target cards each day in January and February when to reward people going above and beyond the call of duty.


Kathleen February 24, 2009 at 4:31 pm

This is a not-for-profit aquarium/museum. We are planning a big fundraising event to be held in March. Our entire small staff is fully engaged in making this event a success. We have offered our parttime staff a cash incentive to whomever sells the most sponsorships. There are little prizes and surprizes every day for all staff. We are all doing work outside of our normal realm and having a good time. After the fundraiser is over, we will redirect our efforts toward more conventional support and rewards.


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