A recent survey of HR professionals and employees ("Voice of the Employee: How to Overcome the Morale Crisis with Increased Communication and Recognition") found the recession and resulting actions by companies are negatively impacting employee morale:

But, surprisingly, employees still feel good will toward their employers:

This dichotomy tells us that while people may be attempting to ‘grin and bear it,’ the reality is that beneath those smiles are fear and uncertainty, which create a distracted and disengaged workforce. Companies need to directly address this through efforts that facilitate communications between management and employees to calm fears, articulate company goals, values and direction, and re-energize employee morale and productivity.

Strategic recognition is a cost-effective and high impact way to accomplish all of that. By communicating regularly and recognizing hard work that reflects your company goals and values, you can infuse life back into your talent base, lift employees out of this recessionary rut and inspire new levels of energy and enthusiasm. The good news is 75% of HR managers indicate they are maintaining their recognition programs even while other areas are being cut, with an additional 5% planning to increase their budgets. Thanking employees for their continued commitment and for doing more with less will go a long way to make up for those losses. Recognition programs are a natural way to deliver that appreciation and sense of value.