It’s hard to keep a constant eye on employee morale when you’re juggling a million other things that are seemingly more important.
But, we all know that our staff ARE our businesses. They can make or break us and when they feel valued and supported, they can move mountains on our behalf.
There are entire departments dedicated to keeping people happy and healthy at work. This blog post could be a full-length novel on the merits of employee engagement, satisfaction, and well-being. But, what I want to do, instead, is give you a few small, actionable, things you can today to boost employee morale.
1. Roll up your sleeves
Show your team that you’re there with them – and that if something needs to be done – you’re not above jumping in and helping out when needed.
Use open-ended questions to show your support and to find out where your help might be most appreciated. Say, for example, there’s a member of your team that has a big report coming up. You could try, “I know you’ve got that big report for the CEO due on Friday. What can I/we do to help you meet that deadline?”
And if you’re asked for help, roll your sleeves up and get to work.
Obviously, that can’t happen all the time, but the occasional check-in and offer can go a LONG way.
Participate in the things that keep the office running smoothly – show them that you’re all in this together and you’re just as much a part of the team as anyone else (and mean it).
2. Give props
EVERYBODY needs encouragement. Absolutely everybody. Even me. Even you.
The smallest of compliments can make somebody’s day. It’s amazing that we don’t do more of this on the whole. Encouragement leads to happiness and job satisfaction.
Not to get all sciency on you but, a study by the University of Warwick reported a 12% increase in productivity in happy employees – 12%!!
How often have you thought of a compliment in your head about someone but not bothered to say it out loud? Remember how good it feels when someone recognizes something you’ve done. Pay it forward as often as you can. And don’t forget to try your best to deliver it in a way you think they will appreciate.
3. Provide context
If you’re the “boss” then maybe you really don’t have to answer to anyone. As far as your staff is concerned, you might feel you don’t have to explain yourself. (I would argue that’s a big mistake, but maybe that’s the subject of a different post).
Or, maybe you’re caught in the middle – you have staff, but you also answer to someone above you who isn’t always clear themselves.
Either way, what I’m getting at is your staff shouldn’t be the last to know of big company-wide changes. They shouldn’t be shocked by communication “coming down the pipe”.
But, say you do find yourself in a position where you can now share some previously confidential information to the whole organization, or you find out from your own boss there is something happening that you didn’t previously know about. Providing context for the staff is crucial to keeping up morale.
Context means explaining the “why,” putting things in the bigger picture to help them make a bit more sense, acknowledging your own questions when you still have some — and committing to getting answers for yourself and for them. Not providing context to your team is the business equivalent of “Because, I said so!”.
Recently we talked about how involving staff in decisions is an art and a necessary skill for senior leaders. When staff feel like they are involved in decisions, they are more engaged — which fosters employee satisfaction, team cohesiveness, and productivity.
This doesn’t mean deferring to your team for any and all decisions, it means listening, gathering as much information as you can in the time available, and engaging staff in important decisions.
Ask them what they think and listen to the answer. You never know when another person’s perspective can make you aware of your own blind spot. This isn’t engagement for the sake of engagement – it’s engagement with the awareness that you might learn something extremely valuable. And the beauty of it is, that boosts morale.
5. Be more human
I get it – the fine line between being respected and authoritative but approachable and likeable is a tough line to walk.
But, being yourself can be refreshing. Admit mistakes. Come by your shortfalls honestly. Talk about things you’re working on personally and professionally. You don’t have to share all your deepest secrets but let people see the self-awareness you have and the efforts you make to improve. When staff feel like they can relate to you and that you are working on things, just like they are, it can boost morale and model the behaviour you want in your workplace culture.
What can you do today to boost employee morale? Who would you say feels most overlooked from your morale boosting? Who would most benefit from one of the above ideas? What’s stopping you?