5 ways to boost employee morale
Employee morale is a lot like stock performance: When the economy dips morale also goes down. With one recession already under corporate belts and financial experts predicting a double dip, inattentive supervisors risk a workplace mood meltdown.
“Unfortunately, during tough economic times leadership at organizations are so busy trying to put out the big fires that they often do not realize there are smaller fires cropping up throughout the organization, like low employee morale,” says Dr. Ruby Rouse, who teaches marketing, communication and research at University of Phoenix and has held numerous leadership positions in business and higher education.
It’s leadership’s responsibility to take proactive steps to boost employee morale before it crashes like it did during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, adds Rouse, who co-authored “Crisis Communication,” a national study funded by University of Phoenix that revealed the dismaying trend of leadership communication and, as a result, employee morale plummeting along with the stock market.
Rouse recommends supervisors look for signals, such as a drop in employee creativity, innovation or input, then nip it in the bud by following these tips:
- Communicate with your team.
Assuming employees and leadership are on the same page is a recipe for morale disaster, says Rouse. “You cannot assume your employees are happy, understand the company’s financial position, or what the competitive market is like. You have to lead from a position of communication and strength.”
- Pay attention to the collective mood.
Look, listen and acknowledge any overall tension, feelings of intimidation and job dissatisfaction among employees as economic troubles disturb the workplace. “If supervisors are not attentive to what’s going on in their workplace, employee morale can really fly under their radar,” says Rouse.
- Look for constant feedback.
Proactive leadership puts short-term evaluation tools into place, such as ongoing employee feedback, to help supervisors identify and address any morale-busting culprits, like weak supervisory performance or poor leadership transparency. The end result, Rouse adds, may not only generate creativity and innovation among the employees, but also instill a sense of value and job satisfaction.
- Don’t hide in your office.
Supervisors can instill open communication among their employees by taking time to chat in the cafeteria or enjoy cake at the office party, says Rouse. Otherwise, supervisors who avoid employee interaction promote a “closed-door policy” that shuts out valuable input, employee confidence and company loyalty — the exact opposite elements an organization needs to be successful in a highly competitive, turbulent economic market.
- Promote work-life balance.
Acknowledge the employee who works an unexpected weekend or gives up family time for work. A simple verbal “thank you” in the hallway or during a staff meeting can speak volumes to an employee, she explains. “A lot of times, people are willing to give 110 or 120 percent to their organization if they feel appreciated and valued for giving up their personal time. Too many times, [however], organizations think a paycheck is a surrogate for their appreciation and that is not often the case when it comes to employee morale.”