Wednesday, July 26, 2006

... On Staff Morale

At lunch the other day with two former colleagues, I had the misfortune to ask how life was treating them. One murmured (about his present boss) ‘can’t live with her, can’t kill her,’ while the other former nodded in agreement ‘I wish I’d done references on THEM before I joined this nickel and dime outfit.’ Needless to say, we had a major morale problem and the clock was crashing fast on my lunch hour.

What to do?

Employee morale is a shadowy issue at best – as measuring morale is easier said than done since most staff, unless perched high atop a bar stool, seldom disclose their true feelings. But make no mistake; morale has a major impact on both productivity and profitability.

Usually, it’s easy to gauge morale levels in a department - employees that work hard, smile and have a ‘song in their heart’ generally have high levels of morale. Those that seem unhappy, don't interact and appear disinterested in work are probably suffering from morale problems.

When a department is affected by low morale, outside of external personal issues, the origin can often be traced back to the manager, as the manager of the division brings a certain philosophy and style that impacts employees. As a manager, we should all look closely at our own style and approach - it is the single most important factor in morale issues.

Morale is something that needs to be managed. Here’s how:

  • Create environments that are fun and lively;
  • Evaluate management style. Is it facilitating, dictatorial or overly assertive and direct?
  • Encourage staff to air problems, suggestions and issues. Listen carefully; acknowledge concerns. Follow up and communicate results of your findings back to staff.
  • Be fair and reasonable.
  • Set expectations for all employees about team work and working cooperatively.
  • Eliminate double standards - what's good for one employee is good for all.
  • Abolish disciplinary mentalities. Don't make employees feel they will be punished if they make mistakes.
  • Encourage innovation and creativity; and
  • Show employees you care about them.

The moral on morale: high morale = high productivity.


Post a Comment

<< Home