If you are an employer of labour, having happy employees means productivity, but unhappy employees can be detrimental to your business and having them around might result in serious downward turn of productivity.
While I don’t think you can make everyone happy at all times, I believe keeping your employees’ morale high is one of the best things you can do to instill loyalty and maintain a productive workplace. Your employees’ morale affects how motivated they will be to work for you and it influences how long they will stay with your organization.
Your job as a manager and an employer of labour is to make sure that your people clearly understand their roles and how they bring value to the organization; constantly motivating with your own example by conducting yourself and your business in a manner you want imitated, and generally walking the talk. However, if after everything, your employees still drag themselves into work, you still notice poor cooperation, low productivity and increased turnover, then your employees’ morale may need a boost.
And since employees’ morale can quickly build or break a company’s success and low morale ultimately hinder a business from reaching its goals, effective leaders and managers often keep a close eye and enlist simple and creative approaches to strengthen or boost employees’ morale. Here a few ways to go about it.
Inspire An Ownership Spirit
You have to keep employees feeling their work is more than just a job they just do for someone and get paid. One way of doing this is letting them have a feeling that their work has a higher purpose, even if that purpose sometimes gets lost in the day to day grind. Another way is to communicate with your employees, tell them your objectives for the company and promptly share news that affects the organization. If you have an expectation, state it clearly, if there is any reasoning behind certain rules or rule changes, explain. Also make time to ask them directly what motivates them. You won’t be able to grant all their requests, but you would have succeeded in making them feel valued and connected to your cause by asking for their inputs and giving them room to make decisions. Also remember to consult your employees before implementing policies that will affect them, and allow them to give input into creating their own environment; they are your staff, not some plantation workers.
While it is natural to focus on what’s ahead rather than reflect on how much has been achieved, recognizing small successes with kind and encouraging words for a job well done can go a long way in boosting your employees’ morale. No matter how little, acknowledge and appreciate your staff, reinforce commendable behaviour by sending a simple note or having their pictures and/or names on the general notice board highlighting their weekly or monthly productivity. If you can afford it, give a gift; it all comes down to appreciating and rewarding excellence.
Create A Suitable Environment
Don’t bite more than what you can chew especially if you are just starting out; if your resources can only hire 5 people and provide adequate tools to get the job done, simply do so. Don’t use “faith” to take on much more than what you are capable of handling. If you do, you will end up being so frugal and you will create an environment where workers are overburdened or otherwise restricted from giving their best effort. Eventually, they’ll feel they’re wasting time and energy on a futile effort. And before long, they will lose interest in working with you.
Take One For The Team
You are the leader; you are like the general who gives orders from the war-front and not from the back. So, once in a while, figure out the biggest stress point your employees are/might be facing, then tackle it by yourself. Maybe it’s a case of a particularly nasty client no one likes to deal with, or a case of dealing with the relevant authorities. Don’t just delegate all the time, especially if your employees are not making a concrete headway. Take on the problem yourself, throw your weight behind your team and morale will go up.
Treat Employees Like People
The fastest way to kill morale is to treat an employee like your office stationery. They are humans; get closer, do little things like learning their names and sending a “get well soon” message when they are sick. Also make sure top management is available, listening and engaging. Don’t insulate yourself from your employees. As much as you can, respond to problems, concerns and questions as leaving things unaddressed tells employees you don’t care about what is important to them but only about your business.
Keep Staff In The Loop
Yes, certain things will be on need-to-know basis. But when employees don’t know what is going on in the company at all especially in times of crisis, productivity can give way to redundancy. You don’t want a situation where your own employees are left to fill in the blanks on what is happening where they work with gossip, rumours, and worry. So, if there is an increase in profit, let them know. If there is going to be a lay-off, let them know through official channels. If you are not able to pay salaries on the due date, let them know why you are not able and when you will be able to. Doing otherwise is counter-productive.
I often hear managers and owners of business say “You are paid to do, and not to think”. If you keep saying this to your employees, you are never going to get the best out of them. You need to know that almost all your employees (except if you hired dummies) can point out inefficiencies in your organisation, but not all feel empowered to do so. Once you point out what is in the way of the good job the organisation is doing, the next thing will be to involve employees in the process of eliminating these barriers. You will rest better, while your employees will function optimally knowing that they have a joint responsibility to move the organization forward.
These tips however, are in no way exhaustive, but even in putting these ones into practice, you need to do it out of genuine interest and concern for your employees. And their morale will remain boosted.
About the author: Chris Bamidele is a passionate and unapologetic Nigerian, who believes in God and humanity. He is a writer, blogger, and an aspiring Television Director; and an optimist to the core. He blogs at www.chrisbamidele.wordpress.com and tweets @Chrisbamidele. He currently lives in Lagos.