Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Employee Recognition that Doesn't Break the Bank

Wells Fargo & Co. made news this week by blaming the media for having to cancel all "major employee-recognition events."

The bank that took $25 billion in federal bailout money ranfull-page ads in Sunday's New York Times and Washington Post that read "one-sided stories lead you to believe every employee recognition event is a junket, a boondoggle, a waste or that it's for highly-paid executives. Nonsense!"

The bank's sentiment is partially understandable.

One one hand, companies that receive government bailout money should both expect and receive more public scrutiny. Public outrage over exorbitant executive salaries and private Jimmy Buffett concerts are understandable.

On the other hand, Wells Fargo is correct in defending the practice of employee recognition. In fact, such recognition is vital to any company that expects to recover in this economy.

But perhaps Wells Fargo executives have lost sight of what employee recognition really means. It can be as simple as a pat on the back or a "job well done". Not only does it not have to break the bank, the best employee recognition can be low-cost or completely free.

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