Work Morale Makeover – Online Exclusive
By: Susan Stern, President of Stern + Associates
Nothing is more important to sustaining long-term business success, in my opinion, than creating an environment where people are committed to the organization’s core values and highest standards of performance. To reach that, leaders must sometimes put employees first—yes, even before customers—because without high staff morale your company’s service or products may suffer. Building morale must be top priority and that means putting employee engagement at the front and center of every manager’s responsibilities. How does a manager gauge staff satisfaction and create a work culture where dedication and enthusiasm are contagious?
Monitor: It’s critical to regularly monitor how team members feel about their jobs and life in the office. Conducting weekly one-on-one meetings to not only discuss work in progress but to explore how the person is managing the workload goes a long way in building open communication and making staff feel you care about their well being. Additionally, it’s beneficial for an HR representative to conduct periodic “check-ins” with staff. This process allows staff to safely vent feelings and insightful observations and suggest how the organization could further support collaboration and learning.
Orchestrate: Like an accomplished orchestra conductor, guide your team to achieve the desired results. Be a leader who empowers individuals to share their best thinking, allowing for interpretation and self expression while ensuring the deliverables meet established goals. Encourage idea generation and work to extract thoughts from the quieter members of the group and ask those who dominate discussions to hold back until others have contributed. This approach will make individuals feel like a truly valued part of the overall team effort.
Respect: People will perform their best and be committed to an organization if they feel genuinely respected. Remember, consistently exhibiting respect for others also will win their respect for you. Incorporate “please” and “thank you” into all verbal and written communications. Always begin a dialogue by focusing on the positive aspects of the work delivered and follow with specific recommendations for improvement. When appropriate, ask what could have been done differently to improve a challenging situation, as we learn more by evaluating on our own than by being told what to do. Blaming and scolding someone for a mistake will only inhibit risk taking in the future.. By pointing out an error and asking how it could be avoided in the future, you promote problem solving without damaging self-confidence and morale.
Applaud: Take every opportunity to applaud exemplary work. This means personally praising a team member for a job well done and perhaps recognizing the achievement in a group meeting. Consider awards for quality work and recognition in company publications. If budget permits, gift cards or small bonuses are a great way to show appreciation. Also, copy your manager when you give written praise to a direct report. This will further elevate the person’s morale and, in turn, they’ll view you as a strong manager. Another benefit: your boss will share that same view.
Lighten Up: Injecting levity into the workplace on a daily basis is a surefire way to boost morale. Exhibit an appropriate sense of humor, as smiling and laughing put people at ease. Laughter will help relieve stress and keep business pressures in perspective. Consider periodic gatherings and activities to build team spirit and encourage camaraderie. Taking a personal interest in the lives of those you work with is a great way to demonstrate that you care.
Elevate: Focus your mentoring efforts on those who exhibit advancement potential and help further develop their skills. Review the requirements and qualities needed to reach the next level with your top performers and offer ideas to improve areas of weakness. Advocate for a direct report’s promotion as elevating those deserving of advancement also elevates their morale.
Begin cultivating a high morale workplace today and watch what happens. Besides building increased loyalty and watching people blossom and grow professionally, you and your team will have an abundance of happier days at the office.
Stern + Associates is a full-service public relations, marketing and digital communications agency with offices in Cranford, N.J., Cambridge, Mass. and Pittsburgh, Pa. The company’s Connected CommunicationsSM approach fuses the best of traditional media, digital, marketing and direct engagement strategies to generate measurable payoffs for its clients. In an industry known for high client turnover, Stern + Associates cuts through the complexities of the fast-changing media landscape with smart strategies and bright ideas that have resulted in strong client partnerships, many lasting for more than a decade. For additional information, visit www.sternassociates.com.
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