Many organizations have created environments and conditions that have appealed to the emotional, professional, and economic interests of the employees. They use complete reward and recognition systems via:
* Job design
* Decision making processes
* Pay equity
* Performance planning and management systems
* Leadership styles
* Professional development
An overall system is open to incorporate anything that influences the employees- to ensure profitability, even survival, during harsh economic times. Many middle managers have lost their jobs. People that remain, managers and non-managers alike, have had to demonstrate their value to their organization to stay employed. Gone is the old style psychological contract for lifelong employment. As one manager expressed; "Loyalty is dead, we can no longer afford it." The bad news: While companies have been getting meaner and leaner, work commitment and personal drive to go all out have been lost. The good news: Employees have become more resourceful at finding ways to demonstrate and increase their worth to current prospective employers. Smart employees see themselves as free agents and are continuously looking for ways to improve their skills, competencies, reputation, and marketability.
Smart managers recognize the needs of free agents by engaging in the practices that say; "I'll meet your needs, I expect you to meet mine, let's work together!" Free agents want flexibility to move through organizational systems without being locked in to one department. They want to be recognized and valued for the talents they bring and for result achieved. They prefer teams in which they can realize a more self-directed environment than they can in a single job reporting to a supervisor. While rewards are important, so, too, are responsibility, respect, recognition, and relationships. Moreover, because of their concern for independence and marketability, they have a critical need to protect their reputation; they gravitate to assignments that enhance their standing in the eyes of others.
The new currency that managers must use in today's workplace is based on respect. Even the organizations are known to or intend to downsize, smart managers understand the importance of respecting people's intelligence and telling it like it is. They work collaboratively with employees. They make conscious decisions to join forces instead of subordinating or dominating. As newer systems such as skill-based pay, total-reward programs, pay-for-performance plans, and open-book management become more mainstream, the challenge for management will be to avoid any suggestion that they are manipulative or disrespectful. In fact, placing too much emphasis on pay and pay systems will distract from the intrinsic value of work itself.
True recognition is a whole-person experience. The approach is holistic. It begins with feelings. Smart managers know they may engage the head, but they must also engage the heart of every employee. It's the only way to recognize and reward employees in the workplace of the new millennium.