Employee morale is the unseen motivation and energy that encourages your employee to show up for work and engage positively with their tasks and coworkers. Ignoring an employee’s emotional and mental needs at work leads to a stale workforce that mindlessly moves from task to task and rarely impresses anyone. This attitude of satisfaction and positive outlook is significantly impacted by management, and failing to address low morale will lead to unproductivity and high turnover rates. Here are some ways you can help your employees thrive, which in turn promotes your overall business success.
Be Transparent With Employees
Management that sneaks around and tries to downplay challenges or avoid conversations when morale has started to slip loses a lot of respect in a hurry. Your employees will be the first to notice that morale is low, whether you do or not. You have to remain open and honest about what is happening. You need to keep the respect of your employees if you are going to get them on board for new processes, updates, or changes that are designed to raise morale.
Keep Communication Open
As you work on honesty with your employees, make sure you are spending extra time communicating with each and every one of them. It doesn’t matter if you have an office full of people or your team is spread out across the country in remote positions. Virtual phone systems make it easier to stay connected with your people. Reach out and intentionally check in with them. Ask about the challenges they are facing or how they feel about the relationships they have with the other employees. Be careful to never side with someone and make alliances. Be open and listen, then work on the solution when you have had all the facts.
Make Your Employees More Visible
It is much easier for management to look at all the things employees are doing wrong, but when morale low, this will just bury it completely. Give your employees more recognition and focus on all the good that is being done. Extend your praise and attention beyond the work environment, if needed. Your employees may not be giving it all they have right now but are any volunteering in the community? Do any of them have unique stories about their kids or lives that you could highlight? Establish a recognition program where employees can nominate fellow employees for a gift card drawing or other rewards. Employees who feel valued will engage more with others and the tasks, have stronger loyalty ties to the company and will have higher morale. These are win-wins for the company.
Use Tech to Help Employees
Technology can be a thorn in the flesh for many but knowing how to use it can make a big difference with things like employee morale. There are several connectivity apps that allow you to connect across mobile devices and engage with all your team members. You can send out birthday notices, record-breaking stats, provide a wellness and benefits portal, or send video from the CEO and management personnel that are encouraging and noteworthy. Find out how you can incorporate tech into more than just productivity for your people.
Seek Out Feedback
The best way to find out what is going on is to head straight to the source. Demonstrate that you are truly listening and want to help by seeking out employee feedback. Many employees may be unwilling to personally speak to you or other management, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to say. Set up an email account or Google form where employees can leave anonymous thoughts and concerns. For those that are comfortable speaking out, always thank them and take them seriously. Employees don’t just want to see you listening. They want to see you take action as well. Create an employee/management team to review feedback and brainstorm ways to address issues.
Pay Attention to Training
Managers aren’t always the cause of low morale, but it always their responsibility to help fix the problem. Managers are quick to notice when productivity has dropped or there are more absences by certain employees, but they don’t always address the root cause of the problem. Managers need to be skilled in interpersonal communication, understanding emotional intelligence, and providing meaningful feedback. Consistency amongst all management is crucial for keeping employees engaged no matter what shift they are on or who they are working with.
Give Employees Growth Opportunities
Most employees want a sense of purpose at their job. Being one of many doesn’t really create aspirations to excel or stand out from the rest. Not everyone will want a promotion, but you can still provide opportunities to become better versions of themselves. Skilled employees tend to be happier employees. You can host conferences on health and wellness or technology trends in your industry. You can have job shadowing days where employees can select another department that they have an interest in. You can develop better relationships between employees with mentoring programs. Find creative ways to encourage your employees to learn more and grow personally and professionally.
Keep a Calm, Organized Company
Running everyone in the ground for the sake of numbers and growth will only make it harder to sustain employee morale. While these efforts are important, you should strive for an atmosphere that reduced stress and promotes a healthy work-life balance. When you have are calm and organized, your employees will follow your lead.