South-Western - Management  
Amid Sinking Workplace Morale, Employers Turn to Recognition
Topic Motivation
Key Words employee recognition, motivation
News Story

In a time of employee layoffs and wage freezes, companies are finding ways to boost employees' morale and reward good work. In one survey, 84% of respondents had some program to recognize worker achievements.

Kevin Wheeler, a human-resources strategist from Global Learning Resources Inc., feels that employee recognition programs do not compensate for feeling overworked or stressed, and really only work well in sales jobs. What people are really looking for is the quiet approval of their bosses, not public recognition.

Avis car rental has had a program to recognize outstanding performers since 1999. It allows workers to make online nominations so they feel a part of the process. John Harland Co. gives out awards to individuals and teams, announcing them in a company newsletter and showcasing them in a video. Sovereign Bank recognizes star performers with gift cards and travel vouchers under the assumption that employees leave jobs when they don't receive recognition for their work.

Questions
1.

One drawback with employee recognition programs occurs when the employees don't agree with the decision to reward a particular person. How does a manager determine which employee deserves recognition, and how should the manager communicate the rationale to the workforce?

2.

Describe a job you have had and explain how you might use employee recognition to motivate someone in a similar position.

Source Kemba J. Dunham, "Amid Sinking Workplace Morale, Employers Turn to Recognition," Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2002, p. B8.
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