An April Fools Special: Who Could Think of Incentives at a Time Like This?

Unemployment is at an all time high right now. Due to economic hard times, Detroit is essentially a ghost town, flat profits are the new "up" and layoffs are about as rare as a charred steak (insert rimshot here).  In down times how do you reverse downward trends and motivate your still-employed staff to achieve greater goals?

Don't fire them.

It's been said that there's no greater motivator than fear. What's a better way to crack the proverbial whip on your workforce's efforts than the fear of termination? Fear serves as a catalyst to the intrinsic motivators in all of us to get the job done. In an effort to avoid termination, your employees will bend over backwards to achieve - and exceed - your not-so-specific goals for the company.

Plus they basically owe you..right?

After all, every single one of those hapless individuals should be thanking their lucky stars that you still keep them out of that 10% unemployment statistic. If it wasn't for you, they wouldn't be able to pay bills or have that one true sense of purpose in their life: making the company better.

So who could think of incentives at a time like this?

For one, everybody knows that cash is king. That's the one thing on everybody's mind and the only real effective motivator. There are those who advocate the use of noncash rewards as a much more effective way to drive results. These same pundits claim that the "trophy value" associated with noncash rewards has a greater overall impact than a cash bonus. Who needs recognition though? With budgets this tight, how are you expected to achieve a better bottom line by wasting money on recognition. Employees who feel appreciated are supposed to be more engaged at work and ultimately increase productivity. Who believes that? If anyone should be recognized, it should be you for keeping them around. Those employees should feel appreciated every time you sign their paycheck.

Plus, once this whole recession thing blows over, you are more likely to retain your employees for staying faithful to them by simply keeping them employed.

Oh yeah, one more thing...


Who could think of incentives at a time like this? You can and should. In down times like this, employee engagement is at an all time low. Almost 2/3 of current workers are looking to jump ship once the overall job outlooks improve. Employee engagement and recognition is almost more important in an economic tough spot. It's a matter of finding the right program that fits your current needs.

Regarding it isn't king. One key thing to remember in the cash vs noncash debate: People don't work for money, they work for the things that money can buy.

Who couldn't think of incentives at a time like this?