The economy has taken its toll on employment screening firms, companies, families, and individuals alike; no one seems to be immune to its ravages. This coming year, though the economy is not predicted to completely turn around, there are some actions you can take now, that will motivate your employees and raise morale. 1. Create sub-goals for each employee with clear rewards for accomplishing them. For example, if your employment screening staff is able to turn around 10 lost client accounts in one month, take them out for pizza for lunch one day. Provide monetary rewards wherever possible. Though the economy has tanked, your budgets don’t have to be completely drained of employee incentives. Offer a $5 Starbucks coffee card to the salesperson who makes the most calls in one hour. Another enticing reward is a $5 iTunes credit for achieving the highest number of sales within the hour. 2. Encourage employees to make the rules. This may sound crazy, but when employees are handed the reins and asked to look over company policies and offer suggestions for improvement, morale goes way up. Though there is no promise that upper management will approve the suggested changes to policy, giving the “power to the people” goes a long way towards improving the way they feel about the company. 3. Bring breakfast in once a week. For example, if your employment screening company doesn’t offer an expense reimbursement for things like this, ask management to create a monthly budget for it. Especially on Monday mornings, breakfast helps set a mood of community and renews people’s commitments to get even more criminal background searches completed and to do a good job for the week. 4. Ask your boss to budget in lunch for your team once a month or bi-weekly. For example, offer to make it a working lunch with a formal agenda where everyone is brought up to date on current events in the company. If you have an employment screening firm, you could even provide them with some new industry-related learning opportunities. 5. Ask employees to participate in a monthly potluck to bring everyone together. People love to share their family recipes and it is a great time for everyone to connect on an entirely different level than can be achieved with a “working lunch” where everyone is eating and having a business meeting. 6. Offer to start a monthly birthday celebration. Though that sitcom “The Office” portrays this type of celebration as something annoying for both the party organizer and the employees, it is something that people truly appreciate. Ask for a small budget from management, say $20, and then have everyone pitch in an additional $2 or $3 to cover the cost of the cake, drinks, plastic forks, and paper plates. 7. Put together a yearly “Mission Statement” that is department specific. For example, if you had an employment screening firm, you’d gather each department, based on their specific goals and interests, and have them plan out what is most important to them as a group. 8. Take suggestions from each employee and add it to the Mission Statement so that each person is a part of the activity. Then, have it printed on paper in fancy lettering so that one is posted in each workspace. 9. Allow the staff in each department to interview prospective new hires and have a say in who gets hired. Though they can’t help with the criminal background searches portion of the hiring process, their opinions will be invaluable. 10. Develop a system whereby employees can submit anonymous suggestions for improvements to the company policies, etc. Follow-through with upper management and do your best to make those suggestions a reality!