Low employee morale can have some serious effects on your firm’s vital performance indicators – customer ratings, profitability, productivity, quality, turnover and its associated hiring costs, absenteeism, theft, and even accidents in the workplace.
Team management mastery
Employee management is the key. If you’re going to be a great leader then you’re going to have to develop a skillset that lets you see your team members as individuals and recognise what’s important to them on a person-to-person basis.
Like any other skillset, this will take time to learn. We are however able to provide you with the following tips that you can integrate immediately to get your employees emotionally invested in helping to build your firm.
1. Increase your own positivity.
You, the boss, are the firm’s emotional weather front and your team members are all barometers – they take their emotional cues from you. If you, the guy or girl with the big picture view of the firm, are always full of doom and gloom then how can your employees possibly feel secure?
Sharing a positive outlook day to day in the workplace can make your employees feel like their work is helping to build a success. They’re going to believe that the firm is a success if you, the boss, are happy.
2. Help overwhelmed employees focus on their actual job.
Employees are going to feel desperate if they can’t ever seem to clear out their inbox. They may feel like they’re letting you down, or even worse, that their job is on the line.
This feeling is going to get worse if a lot of the mountain of work is below their pay-grade in terms of their skill-set and it’s keeping them from focusing on what they thought they would be doing when they joined your team.
Recognise the specialty of the employee and sweep away any work that gets in the way of them bringing the most possible value to your firm. Send them the work associated with their skillset and outsource the rest.
3. Pat some backs and shake some hands.
Yes, people are getting paid to do their jobs. It doesn’t matter – sling some congratulations, thanks, and/or recognition out there anyway. After all, these employees could be helping someone else build their dream firm.
Of course, these kudos need to be warranted. You’ll cheapen the experience if you hand out a hat tip for simple tasks.
4. Give them their birthday off with pay.
Do this and not only will your employee love you for it, but they’ll brag to their friends – you’re not only improving morale, you’re also getting some marketing done at the same time.
5. Ask for suggestions.
If you’ve tried a variety of tactics and everyone still seems down in the dumps set up some quickie private meetings with employees and ask them how you can improve their work experience.
It can be a bit tricky to get employees to open up – to them you’re essentially asking them to tell the boss why s/he stinks at their job right to their face. So you might want to phrase it as asking for advice from this particular employee on helping to get the other employees’ morale up – that way it’s not personal, and they feel like they’re helping everyone else out instead of making a nuisance of him or herself.
6. Cut down on emails.
Internal emails can jar people out of their workflow. Some emails are gratefully accepted – necessary info and thanks ranking highest. However other forms (immediate responses required ranking at the top) can cause stress.
There are two options to deal with email avalanches. First, collate as much info as possible so it all goes out in only one or two emails per day. Some info will need to go out immediately of course, but you’ll probably find that a lot of stuff can wait until the daily blast.
The second option is to use a workflow messenger program like Slack or Trello. Instead of emails you send out small messages. These are more like conversations instead of decrees sent down from above, and don’t carry nearly the stress-causing weight of emails.
7. Let employees be teachers (hobbies).
Almost everybody loves to teach. Almost everybody has a hobby that they love and are knowledgeable in. Set aside an hour here and there where one of your employees gets to teach everybody else about their passion or insider knowledge – model building, karate stances, tips for planning an affordable trip, etc.
Pro-tip: if you’re going to be addressing something like beer crafting or wine tasting make sure everybody knows they’ll need a ride home ahead of the date.
8. Give out bonuses.
Imagine you’re a young accountant struggling to get out from under student debt. Your life is basically work and Ramen noodles. And then your boss descends from on high to deliver unto you a bonus for a job well done on a project that allows them to take a major chunk out of their debt, or maybe even just take their boyfriend out for a nice meal for once.
That employee’s life will be happier, they’ll be extremely grateful, and they’ll feel recognised as being part of your firm’s family. This is how long-term employees are born.
9. Recognise that employees need lives.
You’re going to be resented if your employees constantly have to skip out on life events to keep up with their workload.
Part of your employees’ morale comes from their outside life – family, friends, dating, sports, charity work, and so on. If your firm is impinging on their non-work lives then it’s time to see if you can outsource some of their work so they can keep their work and home lives separate. It’s better for them, and it’s better for your firm.