Monday, December 15, 2008

Boosting Employee Morale in a Down Economy

I remember after 9/11 how significantly employee morale fell; it was understandable. Nevertheless, while I always found a great escape in my work during such periods, that obviously isn’t true for everybody.

Thus, it was not surprising — in the current economic environment — to learn that there is once again a breakdown in employee morale. A recent survey found that more than a third of employees attributed the decline in morale to a lack of open, honest communications on the part of their bosses about what was really going on in the company. Other reasons for poor morale were failure to recognize employee achievements (19%) and micromanagement (17%). Such breakdowns – with all the work to be done – are not good for any firm or for the economy at large.

Enter the Makovsky “We Achieve” program – designed to “make” bosses talk to their employees (and all of us talk to each other) and recognize those who role-model best practices. It is based around business-size cards, each with a Makovsky firm value: educate, communicate, innovate, initiate, collaborate and motivate. Anyone demonstrating one of those values through his or her behavior is given a card, noting on the back the specific action. The person with the most cards wins a cash prize bi-monthly.

Thus, it was interesting to note that 48 percent of executives cited communications as the solution to strong employee morale, and both recognition and monetary rewards were runners-up in the battle to beat bad morale.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

“Green” Pressure

Investors are now starting to “go green,” which will likely impact corporate action.

With that in mind, it is important to note that Makovsky + Company’s “Green Gap Survey” of the Fortune 1000, with Harris Interactive, demonstrated that while nearly 80% of corporate leaders were personally concerned about climate change and the threat it posed to future generations, only 57% of companies were taking action to address CO2 emissions standards.

However, once major institutional funds start diverting their “greens” to corporations that indeed are acting to change the environment, might that lagging percentage go up?

A recent New York Times story by Elisabeth Rosenthal on November 28 noted that “investing with the idea of improving the environmental actions of corporations, not just maximizing profit, is catching on among some big pension funds and foundations particularly in Europe and even in the U.S.” These huge funds are redirecting investment to either those companies who don’t damage the environment or have programs that limit their emissions that contribute to global warming. Some funds are also divesting themselves of stakes in companies that are environmentally lax.

Some of the funds involved are the Norwegian Government Pension Fund–Global, ABP (the huge Dutch government pension fund), the pension fund of the British Environmental Agency and the California State Teachers’ Retirement Fund, among others.

Money talks – and the “green gap” will close … albeit gradually. Other expected pressures ? Federal regulations and consumer demands.

Technorati Tags: go green,climate change, pension funds,Elisabeth Rosenthal, social media communications, environment, New York Times, Harris Interactive, Makovsky + Company, Investors, communications, public relations

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