When you feel that morale impacts the productivity you might want to fire everyone who doesn’t have a big smile on their face. But before you do that, it might be an easier way to look into the causes of the low morale. Often times when we talk about improving boosting morale, we tend to bring some sparkle to the workplace. And those ideas are great. Marcus Erb, Great Place to Work, provide seven ways to boost employee morale in his blog on Entrepreneur.com
The downside of just looking at implementing “fun” activities in the workplace is that they do not solve the reason why the morale went down in the workplace. Often times I do see companies implementing morale boosters and those seem to work, because employees are happier and the productivity goes up. But unfortunately it is only temporarily.
The reason why employees are not happy is because something in their work is not right. To solve that issue you should look first at the cause of the dissatisfaction and then solve that plus implementing the suggested approach from Marcus. But how do you find out what is wrong?
In my blog post “Engage your employees in your vision” I describe three steps to follow to engage employees. When you would like to discover the reason of a low morale you need to look at those three steps to find the cause of the low morale.
1. Start the conversation – share your vision
When was the last time that you have shared your vision about the company or your department? Did you take the time to discuss your vision? Or do you think they know? To find out if employees know your vision, ask them questions. When they come up with a suggestion, refer back to the vision and listen to if they know and understand. If they don’t, go back.
2. Create a mutual vision
When you know they know your vision, then ask yourself the question:”Can they have input on how to get to where we need to be?”. Do you really listen to their input? Do you enable your employees to come up with solutions and new ideas? It is easy to say you do, but maybe your employees don’t feel that way. To figure out if employees are able to provide feedback and are able to start something new, think about the last time an employee came to you with a great idea. Then look at how this new idea was implemented. Often times you might hear a great idea, but you will never see it implemented. You then have a culture of “they don’t let us”. Even if you do encourage innovation and initiative, there might be a barrier between your message and the receiver. Sometimes managers try to help out their manager and block employees who come forward with new ideas. When you look at when new ideas were implemented you have your answer.
3. Determine goals
When goals are determined, those goals should come from the employees. When you have shared your vision and there is a mutual agreement on how that would look in someone’s role, goals are easy. When employees set their own goals, they are engaged. When goals are being send from the top, it is a recipe for disengagement. Especially when we are talking about a larger organization where goals are coming from the top, it is easy for manager to just push them down.
How to solve the employee morale issue:
1. Start talking with your employees and listen.
2. Improve the open communication lines.
3. Develop common goals.
It is easy to write down.Create an environment where you as a manager encourage your employees to take action and be pro-active while at the same time managing the goals that the organization needs to get done. Michael Charney provides a great training (building high performing teams) in our Leadership Academy that you might want to check out.