Times are still tough.  Unemployment is still high and many say it is still “an employer’s market”.  However, the times will change and when they do, will your employees remain loyal or jump ship when the opportunity arises?
During this recession, far too many companies have had to adjust their business strategies just to survive. Frozen salaries, layoffs, and doing more with less, has had a significant impact on employee attitudes and engagement. A recent Manpower survey showed that over 60 percent of workers plan to look for new jobs as soon as the economy provides opportunities. Companies must find ways to reconnect with their employees.

There will be a shortage of talented workers in the future. If business owners don’t ensure employee loyalty and commitment now, they may not be able to retain valued workers in the future. If you want to secure your position as employer of choice when the economy improves, it is important to help employees feel individually valued and recognized.

So what can you do to ensure your employees are loyal and content, when you have limited time and resources?
Recognition is the best way to engage employees, especially after a long, lean period when employees have often been overworked and under-rewarded. Recognition programs should be individualized as much as possible because what motivates one person may not work for another.
Some things to consider when building a recognition program include:
* Be strategice and make sure it reinforces your company values.
* Be inclusive.
* Make your approach personal.
* Conduct ongoing communications to inform and encourage use.
While you may not be able implement awards now, it’s a good time to create a recognition program which can be used in the near future.
Other ways to engage employees are by creating an open door policy and allowing them the opportunity to constructively offer their opinions and feedback or to air their concerns in a constructive way.
Try to encourage a team environment with morale boosters such as themed potluck lunches, team building events, friendly competitions like cubicle decorating or wellness incentives like fun runs, pedometer mileage contests or recipe contests.
Be sure to promote the employee assistance program so that employees know they have a confidential resource for emotional support and counseling to cope with increased pressures and demands at home and work. When employees feel cared for and valued by their employers, they will remain engaged for the long run.
“Valued Employees= Engaged Employees= Business Results

For more information, view the whitepaper produced by the Recognition Council at www.recognitioncouncil.org