Employee morale cannot be measured directly, but it can be felt in every aspect of your business. Drops in productivity and rising turnover rates are only two of the impacts poor morale will have on your company. If not handled quickly, it may cripple operations and keep the business from ever achieving its full potential. Here are some ways you can ensure that morale at the workplace stays high and healthy:
• Help Employees Get Physically Healthy
How people feel physically also often has an impact on their emotional state, People with low stamina might feel demoralized because they cannot keep up with their work. While you cannot solve an employee’s woes directly, you can give them the tools to help themselves. Periodic fitness-focused team exercises can help, as well as offering free gym memberships as a perk.
• Make Everyone Part of the Solution
Morale tends to drop when the company falters. A big objective missed, or the competition gaining a tremendous lead, can make everyone feel as if their efforts were wasted. The solution in that case is to make everyone part of the comeback. Let people know where the company is, and then tell them how each person can help recover from the setback. This empowerment can remind them that their work matters, and they can do something to make things better.
• Focus Their Eyes on the Horizon
Employees can easily get worn out by the grind. After a few months or years on the job, they might lose focus and forget all about why they joined the company in the first place. If you have a small company, you may be able to have one-on-one discussions with them to sort things out, but a larger business will need to utilize a wider approach.
That wider approach often takes the form of reminding them of the company’s mission and vision. Directly telling about it might work, but it is often better to show them the impact of their actions. Customer testimonials, for example, can remind employees that they have made a difference and improved the lives of their clients, improving morale.
• Dig Deeper
Sometimes the solution to your employee morale problem can elude discovery, simply because you are not sure what caused the problem. Surveys can help, but that can only go so far. One-on-one consultations can help shine some light on why people feel dissatisfied in the workplace, as well as figure out whether your communications to them are being delivered properly. It is important to assure them that you are not looking to find someone to blame, that you are razor focused entirely on making them feel better at work.
• Keep Morale from Dropping in the First Place
While there will be times when you cannot help negative feelings from festering, often you will have the opportunity to keep morale from dropping in the first place. There are a few ways you can do that, from regularly scheduled team building exercises to encouraging positive feedback amongst members of the company. The more appreciated employees feel and the more their good work is acknowledged, the more resilient they will be when and if crises arrive.
• Be open and transparent in communications
Fear often comes quickly when information is lacking. The moment an employee is unsure about their future or the company’s fate is the moment the seeds of uncertainty are planted. That fear might not be expressed immediately, but it will come out eventually – unless you do something about it. The answer is to simply talk it out.
Whenever you feel like employees have been in the left in the dark for too long, start a conversation. Find out what they are worried about and invite them to ask questions. Answer as truthfully as possible. Transparency is your friend here, even if it might cause employees to feel afraid. The fear they feel from knowing something is often much more easily handled than the fear of the unknown.
• Encourage Work-Life Balance
The idea of running employees into the ground and forcing them to dedicate their all to the company has long been debunked. Following that philosophy often leads to a resentful workplace and high turnover rates. It is far better to encourage a world outside the company, to push people into a healthy balance between work and the rest of their lives. Doing so ensures that employees get the physical and mental break from work to recharge and recover from the stress of employment.
There are many ways to encourage your employees to achieve balance. One common method is to employ a ban on work-related communications outside work hours. Other companies have a solid ban on overtime and working excessive and arduous hours. Look hard enough, and you will find ways you can help employees live fuller lives.
Keeping employee morale high is not a one-time affair. Like many aspects of a business, your team’s emotional state is something that will need regular check-ups and continued management involvement, and some would say, oversight. It might be a difficult and draining task but doing so is the right thing to do and will help lead to a healthy and productive employee population.
Before helming Perpetual Talent Solutions as President, Jim Hickey held several senior leadership roles in both sales and operations for two of the world’s largest Commercial Staffing organizations. Jim is a dedicated professional who has been formally recognized as a Staffing Industry Subject Matter Expert.