Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Employee Motivation and Training on the Cheap

It doesn't take a Nobel laureate economist to recognize the fact that we're dealing with some very tough times right now. This recession is wide and deep and there's very little reason to think that the economy will suddenly undergo an overnight recovery. Times are tough. There isn't as much money to toss around as there was a few years ago.

When one looks at expenses, a few things tend to pop out at them. These are the line items that aren't absolutely critical to company functioning. You can't get by without paying the light bill.

You can, however, stay open without underwriting a company wellness program. You can't stop paying your vendors. You can cut back on training costs. It's not hard to guess which items get circled in red ink as the search for cash pushes forward.

At the same time, however, any sane business person recognizes that those cuts are going to have an impact on employee engagement, performance and motivation. Nonetheless, it might be a necessary aspect of the austerity measures necessary to keep things afloat.

That's why everyone should be looking for cheaper alternatives. If you can handle employee training and motivation less expensively but with relatively little, if any, quality loss, everyone wins.

Here are a few ideas for handling employee training and motivation on the cheap.

Employee Mentoring

This is a great opportunity. You can increase the role of existing employees in mentoring new hires. Not only does this fulfill training needs splendidly, it also has a pro-engagement element. The employee designated as the mentor feels recognized for the quality of his or her work and is given a new, yet manageable, challenge which can have an impact on how they feel about one's job and the company's perspective on his or her value.

Top Level Honesty

It doesn't cost a dime to tell the truth and employees repeatedly tell researchers that's what they want from their corporate leadership team. Frank and direct answers to questions and a commitment to keeping employees well-informed increases their engagement and motivation levels. They appreciate the straight talk and are more inspired when they know they're working for someone who values them enough to tell them the truth, even when it's not always pretty.

Employee Recognition

Employees thrive on recognition. That's because all of us want to know that what we do matters and is appreciated. Taking the time to point out successes and to offer a sincere congratulations on a job well done can improve morale levels substantially.

There's nothing costly about saying "thank you", but those two words may be all it takes to keep a quality employee from beginning the precipitous slide toward becoming a disengaged "clock watcher".

These are just three of many examples. If you put your mind to it, it's possible to manage high-quality employee motivation and training while simultaneously trimming your budget.

By Debbie Norris

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