In the past few years, many companies have had to tighten their budgets in lieu of further downsizing their employee headcount as a result of the economic recession that fell onto the US during the last quarter of 2007. Consequently, organizational strategy focused on lean work-forces with employees often juggling multiple roles without seeing an increase in pay or promotion in job title. Due to the fact that most companies were not hiring during those troubled years, workers simply put up with the burgeoning workloads in their current jobs. Morale often suffered, but it went by the wayside as employers struggled to keep afloat and employees realized all too well that there were few alternatives in the job market.As the economy has seen a rebirth of job creation in many sectors, employers have been hiring again but also focusing on the damage of the past few years. Many employees who were exemplary performers often did not receive financial incentives during the recession years. These workers may now be seeking opportunities outside of the organization, especially if they continue to feel unappreciated, overburdened and if they have not yet seen a significant upturn in their compensation.Employee engagement is a challenge that many companies are currently facing as a result of the recession’s aftermath. Organizations seeking to retain top talent and to recruit employees who will remain loyal to the organization must incorporate employee recognition programs that will motivate workers to highly perform as well as encourage loyalty to the organization. For this reason, employers must enact a strategic program to increase workplace morale.When managers openly and effectively acknowledge the efforts made by their staff and communicate their appreciation of employees’ hard work, it showcases to personnel that their productivity has been noticed and valued by the employer.  Organizations that have integrated employee recognition programs into practice are more likely to utilize the programs in recognizing workers for their accomplishments.By partnering with Human Resources professionals, the management team will be able to execute an employee recognition program that will promote accolades to staff members for their dedication, as well as motivate others to strive toward excellence in their roles.Employers, historically, have been challenged with employee retention. Today’s hurdles are magnified by the low employee morale facing many organizations as well as the resurfacing business market.  The combination of these two factors leaves many organizations vulnerable to losing top talent and appropriate, thoughtful processes must be put into place in order to infuse the company’s culture with a positive, motivating program that will encourage employee loyalty.Replacing top performers is difficult, expensive and time consuming.  As many companies are still feeling the effects of the recent recession, focusing on budgets is still a priority within the operating costs of a majority of organizations, large and small.  With careful planning and implementation, an employee recognition program will build and increase worker morale as well as help alleviate an exodus of valuable personnel as hiring begins to increase again.  Organizations that remain ahead of the curve and prepare for future hiring trends by incorporating employee recognition programs to enhance employee morale and make employees feel valued by the employer will help reduce the number of employees that may have otherwise left the company in search of greener pastures.

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