Building Employee Morale: A Few Great and Not So Great Ideas
Most of the experienced managers I’ve encountered during my career recognize that low moral is a management problem, not an employee problem. Likewise, a happy and productive workplace with higher than average morale can usually be attributed to excellent managers who care about their workers and foster an environment of mutual trust and respect. If your office is thriving, how can you maintain that healthy atmosphere? And if your workplace morale needs a boost, what can you do to make things a little more positive? Here are a few key morale tips I’ve gathered during my years of consultation and practical experience.
Public versus Private Communication
When it comes to recognition, publicity is everything. So is specificity. Acknowledge individual employees for their specific accomplishments. A general “Well done, team” is nice, but thanking specific individuals can have a much stronger and longer-lasting impact. Plus, it demonstrates that you care about your employees, you’re aware of their efforts, and you know exactly who’s going above and beyond.
By the same token, never criticize employees publically. That’s a no brainer. And don’t send out blanket communications with negative messages. A group criticism rarely increases dedication and positivity and can give employees fodder for collective grumbling, which can poison morale very quickly.
Be Careful with Rewards
Monetary rewards and extra perks or days off may seem like easy ways to spread positivity, but it’s a good idea to distribute these rewards with strategy and caution. Sometimes rewards build morale, but the withdraw of perks or bonuses can seriously damage morale if employees begin to take them for granted or sense they’re being distributed unfairly.
Attention and Interest Go a Long Way
Never underestimate the power of positive relationships. Do you know each of your employees personally? Do you make pleasant eye contact and address all of your coworkers—both superiors and underlings– by name? How often do you sit down and chat with your employees and how much do you know about their lives? Before you consider expensive monetary rewards that can easily backfire, recognize that a little consideration, kindness, and respect can bring twice the morale benefits and cost almost nothing.