In a poor economy, employees are reluctant to give up their jobs because they worry more about finding a new one. However, this does not mean that you can just assume they will stay regardless of what you do. Nor does it mean you don't need to recognize their performance and reward it. Good employees are what will get you through a bad economy and make you stronger than your competitors when it is over.
And it's not enough to ask for feedback and innovative ideas from your employees. You need to find ways to help your employees implement their good ideas and help them perform at their best. That's how you'll keep your employees.
So how do you motivate employees to continue to perform at the levels you need? How do you reward and provide recognition? Here are some ideas:
Give Positive Feedback
Something as simple as telling someone when they have done something right can be a powerful motivator.
Lunch with the CEO
This article focuses on communication, but the opportunity for a top performer to have lunch with the CEO and "talk business" is the sort of thing that will motivate your top performers.
You Can't Listen With Your Mouth Open
Another excellent motivator is to actively listen to an employee. Give them your undivided attention for a few minutes and listen to them without interrupting.
Delegate, Don't Just Dump
Many employees like to do good work so they will be given better assignments and harder tasks. If you use this technique to motivate and reward, make sure you understand the difference between delegating (good) versus dumping (bad).