A New Twist on Boosting Employee Morale

By: Jude Carter

The Great Recession has done little to help employee morale, engagement and loyalty. Workers are feeling more disconnected from their employers and their companies. Fortunately there are businesses out there that are defying the odds and getting very creative about how they approach employee recognition.

The Jewish Home Assisted Living in River Vale, NJ (JHAL) has a unique approach to acknowledging their workers. Their residents have organized an Employee Morale Committee. They’re raising funds with raffles and other events and using the money to show their appreciation to employees. They send birthday cards, flowers when a worker is sick, and they’re even asking employees for a wish list as to what would motivate them.

JHAL has an Employee of the Quarter program that is based on resident nominations of outstanding employees. Plaques with the winner’s name and photo are displayed in the building, and they receive gift cards, certificates of appreciation and letters of recognition.

Here’s what I love about this idea. In a market that is known for high turnover, staff shortages and low morale, these folks have created a program that:
1. Fosters a sense of community between residents and staff
2. Showcases the winners for all to see, including residents, visitors and families
3. Allows for employee suggestions on rewards, acknowledging that people are motivated differently and one size does not fit all
4. Sends the message to employees that everyone is taking notice of them as workers― and as people
5. Engages residents in a program that gives them a voice

Oh, and by the way, none of these rewards cost a lot of money.

Sharon Toelle
July 23, 2010

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