Employee Recognition.

I know somebody who works for the San Francisco Superior Court, where recently 200 jobs were eliminated. That is approximately 40% of the employees currently employed. She is one of the “lucky” ones…or is she? While her job is intact, her responsibilities will double due to the reduction in work force. You, too, may be in a similar situation. Being laid off is difficult, and overseeing a reduced workforce is just as difficult.

How do you keep your group motivated when monies have been reduced, friends are gone and work has increased? Your team may feel like they are putting more into their jobs and that the rewards may not match their effort. Be honest and let your staff know the situation you are in and your desire to help them stay engaged and motivated.

There are numerous ways to recognize people besides money. Compensating good performance may require “psychological paychecks.” Consider the following list of psychological paychecks. Some involve small amounts of money.

Make sure to spend generously with:

  • Words of encouragement and positive feedback
  • Interest and questions to them about their lives outside of their work roles
  • Notes or e-mails of appreciation
  • Catered lunches
  • Bagels, coffee, fruit at the beginning of the day
  • Special assignments
  • Soliciting opinions and their recommendations
  • More decision-making authority
  • Listening…really listening
  • Delegating tasks that the employee enjoys doing
  • Recognition for your team’s efforts in company newsletter or meetings
  • Accurate and regular communication about effective dates and timelines of the changes and resulting impact
  • Special recognition for those who are working hardest
  • Meetings where group and you can discuss changes, issues and concerns

A terrific book to help you with more ideas is local (Santa Cruz) author Cindy Ventrice’s Make Their Day: Employee Recognition That Works, 2nd edition.

When it comes to handing out “soft” currency, be generous. Some or all of these are needed right now to keep your group motivated.

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