Do you ever get the impression that your team members see work as a chore? Does it seem like people have to drag themselves into work every day and are counting the minutes until they get to leave at night?
Do you wish the vibe at your workplace was a little less low energy and a lot more positive, in general? You might be dealing with a chronic morale issue.
Low morale isn’t a problem you should shrug off, either. It can actually lead to a number of issues that spell bad news for a given business.
They include but are not limited to high employee turnover, low productivity, lost revenue and cooperation that leaves a lot of room for improvement. If it’s a problem for your team, there’s a good chance your company’s long-term goals won’t be met if it goes unaddressed.
The good news is that low morale isn’t something you have to resign yourself to. It can be fixed with the right approach! Try the following strategies for making things better for your team.
1. Ask for feedback.
One of the best ways to find out what really isn’t working for your employees is simply to ask them. Consider using feedback forms or regular employee surveys to find out how your team members really feel about their jobs. Be sure to cover a wide range of issues.
Ask for specifics as to what they do and don’t like about their jobs. Encourage people to give suggestions as to what could make it easier for them to do complete daily tasks well. (It can be anything from better desk chairs, to computers that crash less often, to higher quality ink for the office printer!) Fostering a culture of openness in the office makes workers feel like they have permission to contribute to positive change that benefits everyone, including the company at large.
2. Get rid of office bullies.
Although there are definitely exceptions, many offices have one or two people on staff that have a way of ruining things for everyone else. Ask yourself if there’s someone on your team that treats their coworkers badly.
Does the person you’re thinking of belittle others or constantly lose their temper? Do they swear, lie, gossip or make it a point to be negative 100% of the time?
Consider replacing that person, especially if they’re in a position that puts them in charge of others. This isn’t just one of the quickest ways to boost employee morale, as well as productivity. It’s a great way to show what will and won’t be tolerated as far as team member behavior, as well.
3. Make promotional tracks more transparent.
Did you know that up to 40% of millennials expect to be promoted every 1-2 years on average? Meeting and managing the expectations of your employees is critical, so it’s important to make sure your company’s system is transparent, as far as the viability of existing promotional tracks.
Be up front with people as to how workers are selected for promotion and why. Be very clear about making sure employees know about available opportunities to grow, as well as understand how to go about taking advantage of them.
This isn’t just important to do with newer or younger employees, either. Transparency in this area should be ongoing for your entire team.
4. Acknowledge your employees’ personal milestones.
Every working person likes to be appreciated as a human being first and an employee second. In workplaces where employees genuinely feel this is the case, morale is a lot higher. That said, don’t let your team members’ personal gains or losses go unnoticed or unacknowledged.
Acknowledgement doesn’t have to come in the form of a massive e-mail blast or a big announcement in front of the whole team at your next meeting. Even the most private members of your team can appreciate a simple note expressing your condolences when a close friend passes away or a small token to commemorate the birth of a new baby. Don’t forget to honor work anniversaries and milestones, as well!1. Encourage real lunch breaks and vacations.
Research suggests only 20% or so of today’s workers actually take their lunch breaks. They’re even more reluctant to actually take a bona fide vacation from work. Modern society sees a tendency to take little to no downtime for one’s self as a point of pride, even though there’s a lot of evidence to suggest living this way makes you less productive.
As a manager or team leader, it’s up to you to change this for your employees. Start by verbally encouraging employees to step away from their desks to enjoy their lunches and coffee breaks. Then set an example yourself by making it a point to do the same.
As for vacations, try increasing the number of paid vacation days employees have at their disposal so that they have more options as to where they can go or how they can spend their time. Consider offering bonuses to employees that not only take their vacations, but opt for true time-outs while they’re away – no email, phone calls or beach telecommuting sessions!
5. Encourage delegation where it makes sense.
Morale can easily take a nosedive when employees feel overwhelmed. However, it’s fine to push employees a little and encourage them to be their best. It’s a mistake to hold them to unrealistically large workloads or expect them to “do it all”.
Encourage team members to delegate responsibility when and where it makes sense to do so. That can mean assigning smaller tasks to assistants or other team members on staff.
However, it can and should also mean outsourcing some work to freelancers or outside professionals when necessary. Not only does this help relieve the pressure when it comes to stress, but it frees people up to focus completely on the most important tasks at hand.
At the end of the day, keeping your employees happy and healthy is largely about making sure they feel heard, valued and taken care of. Don’t be afraid to come up with even more ideas of your own!