Morale of the Story
“One person with a poor work ethic can introduce a kind of social virus to an otherwise cohesive and well-functioning system.” (Goleman, 2013).
Employee morale is essential in today’s workplace. Internal and external factors affect your employee's mindset every day, no 2 days will be the same! In a world where employees are allowed to air their grievances of employers on websites such as Glassdoor, which can damage the reputation and caliber of candidate for a company long-term, it’s vital that a strategy to nurture your staff morale is established. Leaders who fail to implement effective strategies to improve employee morale tend to see a noticeable increase in absenteeism and staff turnover and decrease in productivity and profitability. Globally, disengaged employees' cost $7.8 trillion in lost productivity.
So how do you avoid this, or fix it if you’re already in this predicament?
Be personable to each employee. Your employees will appreciate your effort to connect if it feels like a genuine effort, rather than a rushed or forced approach. Being a more authentic and true self within the office will allow your employees to see you in a more relatable and approachable manner, encouraging them to discuss issues they may have otherwise been hesitant to mention. If you engage with your staff, then this will likely have a knock-on effect; as over half of employees are likely to be more engaged if their boss is. And remember, employees might be bringing in external issues into the workplace too, building a workplace culture that employees can confide in can benefit them not just in the office but with aspects of their social life too.
“Employee performance soars when people are happy and healthy.” (Biro, 2016) Everyone wants to feel valued and recognised as an important part of something, and while previously these recognition's would have come via a monetary incentive... nowadays there is actually more value in a symbolic award for their contribution. According to Harvard Business Review, they found that when employees received a physical, non-monetary gift as opposed to being rewarded with small financial gifts, they were significantly more productive.
Individuals are fluid in their mentality, and therefore it is important that morale isn’t treated like a checklist every once in a blue moon and instead regularly check in on everyone. 82% of employees felt more supported in their position when their manager engaged with them on an individual basis. Allowing employees to give feedback regularly not only allows you to document improvements of individuals self-esteem (or to be proactive and address it before it becomes a real issue).
Workplace morale is something that can always be altered and improved, but you need to give it the time to do so. Expecting it to naturally change and improve will never work, and for it to change leaders need to put the time, effort and genuine interest into it. The workplace dynamic will thank you for it!!