Maintaining employee morale

* Motivating employees when times are tough

As cutbacks abound, IT employees shoulder the burden of additional work and leaders struggle to maintain morale and employee productivity. There's no doubt it's easier to motivate employees when times are good, but OnPoint Consulting offers the following tips

The company interviewed managers and HR professionals about keeping workers engaged and focused and culled these four tips:

* Increase disclosure. Senior leaders should share timely information regarding the company’s financial health as well as industry and competitive competitions. "The majority of companies we spoke with are increasing the frequency, detail, and amount of information they are providing," says OnPoint President Rick Lepsinger.

* Rejuvenate recognition programs. Many firms have these programs in place, but don’t use them effectively. Consider gestures ranging from an e-card/thank-you note to monetary awards.

* Find alternatives to layoffs. To cut costs yet keep staff in place, many companies are tapping furloughs, salary freezes or cuts, four-day workweeks, and reducing contributions to health and retirement plans. This helps ensure companies will have the staff in place for when things rebound.

* Involve employees. Encourage employees to contribute ideas for cost savings and process improvements. Not only do some of the best ideas come from workers, but involving people in decisions that affect them decreases the feeling of uncertainty.

Consider using a combination of traditional and innovative ideas to maintain morale and productivity in these tough times.

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