In Times of Transition, Employee Recognition is More Important Than Ever

There comes a time in organizational development where change is necessary for improvement and growth. Casualties inevitably appear in the process, and the ladder of importance determines what programs are the winners and losers.

Deciding who or what stays and goes needs to be viewed through both short and long term lenses. One area that may come under examination is your employee recognition program. When it does, re-examine the conditions that led you to create the program in the first place.

More than likely a few of them were:

  • Increasing employee morale
  • Recognizing and rewarding key behaviors that you wanted to see repeated
  • Creating a culture of appreciation
  • Setting goals for areas of the business that drive revenue and profitability
  • Maintaining high levels of employee engagement

The same reason you started your employee recognition program is the same reason you need to keep it now. If your program is set up to effectively recognize and reward desired behaviors, nothing has changed from that perspective.

If anything, it’s of even more critical importance. In times of uncertainty, employees are faced with doubt and insecurity. With clearly defined goals and expectations, they still understand what is required of them, and your employees continue to perform to those standards.

Derek Irvine of Globoforce published, “New Market Research – Overcome Morale Crisis with Recognition & Communication,” dealing with some of the fallout from the 2009 recession. The effects of economic recession parallel the effects of an organization in transition.

Some of those effects were:

  • 70% of employees indicated that layoffs and the reduction or elimination of programs and benefits will have a negative short or long term impact on morale
  • 55% of employees said these cuts will impact their productivity levels now and in the future
  • 89% of HR managers agreed that employee morale is being impacted
  • 80% of HR managers said productivity will take a hit in the short or long term

Derek also went on to say “maintaining a recognition program in the face of such instability, companies can infuse life back into your talent base, lift employees out of the recessionary rut and inspire new levels of energy or enthusiasm.” In fact, Globoforce also found “75% of HR managers were maintaining their employee recognition programs even as departments around them were feeling cuts while 5% said they were increasing their budget.”

In times of economic or intracompany transition, employees can feel undervalued. Many times they feel they are nothing more than a number on a spreadsheet. That crushes self-worth and employee morale. Recognition and appreciation have a significant impact on recovering and then maintaining that lost morale.

For someone receiving an award, there’s pride and satisfaction in a job well done, along with the sense they are valued by the company and their management team. For other aspiring hard workers, there’s a drive to get to the top. They want the spotlight, and their actions reinforce their efforts to advance in their career. All of these are key drivers enhancing and fostering employee engagement.

As those employees start to separate themselves, trends appear. Performance evaluation is easier to measure when you use a simple tool like metric tracking sheets to monitor KPI and metrics in your employee recognition program. Judging top tier employees and shedding light on under-performance is as simple as referring to the pre-developed criteria you use in your recognition and reward platform.

One final point to consider is the premium on quality talent in the modern workforce. The last thing we want is for our top performers to start thinking the “grass is greener” in another company. In fact, let another company make the mistake of cutting their recognition program. Be seen as the organization that is taking steps toward improvement, while maintaining a commitment to the key component in client communication, service, and acquisition: your workforce.

In the end, you will wind up being seen as the greener pasture.

If it’s time to review your employee engagement and employee recognition platform, or set one up correctly from the beginning, pick a time that fits best for YOUR schedule by clicking HERE, and a member of our team will be happy to speak with you and answer all your questions!


Another thing to consider when the company is in transition is how to make the most effective use of the talent around you.

One of the biggest mistakes managers make is looking outside their organization for talents their employees already possess; but you must search for them. Diamonds are never found on the surface; you must dig to uncover them. The search is worth it – harnessing potential in your current team is the easiest and cheapest way to grow your superstar team.

Supporting the growth and development of your staff is vitally important – helping them become as productive and successful as possible in their current role, encouraging motivation and retention, and setting them up for career opportunities.

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