How Do You Spell Morale?
Employee morale is not something to be taken lightly. According to the Harvard Management Update, in roughly 85% of companies, employees’ morale declines sharply after their first 6 months on the job and it continues to deteriorate for years afterward.Getting employees motivated is a commonly heard theme in organizations. But the real problem appears to lie in stopping those same organizations from demotivating their employees. When morale declines as much as is suspected in so many organizations, there is something amiss in how the employees are being managed and interacted with.
Managers, supervisors, and executive management often unwittingly damage employee morale little by little by saying and doing things that rub employees the wrong way. Stopping that behavior is sometimes easier said than done. But it can be managed.
Here are some things that seem to impact morale positively:
- Create an environment that is fun and lively.
- Carefully evaluate your management style. Is it facilitating in nature or is it dictatorial or overly assertive and direct.
- Encourage employees to come forward with problems, suggestions and issues.
- Listen carefully and acknowledge their concerns. Follow up on them and communicate results of your findings back to them. Don’t leave them hanging.
- Address compensation and benefits to make certain that you are competitive with the market.
- Be consistent in how you administer rules and policies.
- Be fair and reasonable.
- Set expectations for all employees about team work and working cooperatively. Let it be known that you expect employees to get along while on the job.
- Be clear in your expectations and follow up when they aren’t met. Don’t ignore low performers. If they can’t become good employees, terminate them. Bad employees affect those around them.
- Don’t allow double standards. What’s good for one employee is good for all of them.
- Eliminate a punitive mentality. Don’t make employees feel that they will be punished if they make mistakes.
- Encourage innovation and creativity.
- Show employees that you care about them.
- Communicate as much as possible to all employees. Keep them well informed about what’s going on in the business. Provide quality feedback regularly.
- Look at the work environment. Is it light and airy or is it dark, dreary and counterproductive?
- Complete performance reviews on time and in a thorough and accurate manner.
- Keep promises and follow through.
These are all reasonable expectations and behaviors within a culture of high morale and high productivity. The impact on morale by doing these things consistently can be dramatic. Look around your organization and see how often these things are actually happening with a high degree of regularity. If they aren’t, the culture isn’t supporting or requiring them. It’s time to start changing that culture.