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Employee Morale Eroding Like the Grand Canyon

Much like some soil erodes over time, the morale of some employees erodes over time. Chipping away at an employee’s morale can happen in a lot of ways. Each of your employees will respond to situations and communication differently. We all recognize that some are fairly thick skinned while others have thin skin.

Some would say that the manager has to learn how each person can be handled. While that may be true, it is also true that consistency in how employees are approached and communicated with is instrumental in creating a level playing field, so to speak.

The level of employee morale generally transfers into their level of engagement, their sense of urgency, their willingness to put in extra effort and a host of other important behaviors. Managers are not only work supervisors, but they are also cultural change agents charged with creating an environment whereby employees feel they are being treated with respect, fairness, consistency and compassion. At the same time, the employee needs to understand they will be held accountable for performing at high levels.

Since we focus on performance management, we tend to look at how the performance review, for example, accurately reflects performance and work behavior. This is important from a morale perspective because a poorly prepared and delivered performance review can be one of those factors that chips away at morale. When preparing a performance review, the manager needs to spend enough time and thought to provide an accurate reflection of performance based at least on well documented data and performance notes generated throughout the review period as well as substantiation of progress against the employee’s goals. The manager’s objective should be to align reality with perceptions as much as possible.

Taking into account the impact on morale when addressing performance management processes is critical to the organization’s overall success because the erosion of morale on any sort of material basis across the employee base will almost always result in substandard performance.

Look at your organization’s approach to performance management to see if there are deficiencies in preparation and delivery. If there are, work to correct them immediately through training, coaching and clearly defining expectations for the process.