Oil prices are out of control. The dollar is weaker than ever. Health costs are through the roof. Even the cost of milk has risen out of control. The only thing that has stayed constant is labor costs.
One of our best assets is still our employees. And it is true that many members of the workforce are happy to just have jobs. But, when the economy eventually turns around, you can bet these scared members of the workforce will cash in when a better offer comes their way.
It is the companies and organizations that continue to wisely build and improve in hard times that shoot out of the gate during an economic recovery. One of the most important areas of business to address is your staff. You need them now, but you may need them more than ever later.
Think about the cost of hiring and training new employees. There is the learning curve, cost of mistakes, culture changes and other unforeseen road blocks. I know, you are still thinking about how you are going to pay creditors, let alone meet your weekly payroll. If you are a forward thinker, you will do everything you can to keep your current team or teams together.
We're not talking about money here. No one, outside of corporate CEO's are expecting big raises, or any this year. Bonuses? Forget about it. Unless you are recession proof, it is understood that you can not line anyone's pockets for a while.
What you can do is let your employees KNOW they are valuable to your organization. By throwing periodic appreciation days you will let your staff know that you have their best interests in mind. A casual awards day every month for excellent employees will motivate anyone. Simple gifts and giveaways will boost morale. A company breakfast, lunch or ice cream party will raise spirits.
Simply remembering staff members’ birthdays or company anniversaries with a card or cake ceremony will go a long way to building loyalty and pride in your organization.
The economy will recover, and you may even lose some employees, but you will keep a whole lot more.
Michael Lerner is a recognized expert in the field of employee recognition and corporate gifts .