DEVELOPING & MAINTAINING MORALE IN THE WORKPLACE
Guest Author: Stephanie Redieske
If you haven’t already done so, making morale a priority in the workplace is one of the most important pieces of building and maintaining a strong and efficient team. There is a very different work ethic between people who like their jobs and people who do not, and I can assure you, you want a team full of the former. People who like their jobs produce work more efficiently, more consistently, and of better quality for one simple reason: they care.
Employees who care about their work, their boss, and their team are more likely to produce and submit work of better quality because they do not want to let down the other people who are affected. Creating an environment where the team is cohesive and has a sense of comradery will encourage employees to trust and rely on each other to always put their best foot forward, and to continue to improve. A happy workplace also promotes employee retention, which means less time training and more time improving and growing.
Of course high morale is important—who doesn’t want to love where they work? But how can you achieve it? Start by recognizing employees for a job well done. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. A simple, “Hey, great work today,” is an option. Recognizing employees in a team meeting where their peers can congratulate them is another great option, and encourages other team members to strive for recognizable excellence.
A small thing you can do to show your employees you care is simply helping them out when possible. They need an extension on a deadline and you can afford the extra time? Give them the extension. They need to take a vacation day on a day that you had planned on them working? Try to rework scheduling for that day. They need a hand with a project? Put down what you’re working on, and lend yours. Obviously there is a fine line between being an understanding and helpful manager and being taken advantage of, so be weary of any patterns. But remember, if you take care of your employees, they will take care of you.
A few weeks ago, I went to my manager in a panic because I had forgotten to request off a day that I had family in town visiting. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the shift covered, but my brother was only in town for one day! I explained the mistake to my manager, who, without a hesitation, deleted the shift from my schedule and covered it for me. One week later, a situation arose and a shift was understaffed. Management reached out to me, and despite the fact that I had to cover a shift I didn’t like, I went in anyway. Why? Because they needed a hand, and they’ve been more than willing to lend one to me when I’ve needed it. This is a simple example of what kindness with your employees can do.
I always encourage managers to do some sort of daily (or at least weekly) team meeting, and a one-on-one meeting with each employee regularly. If your team all starts work at the same time, I believe it’s worth it to take five minutes at the beginning of the day, say good morning to everyone as a group, go over the goals for the day, get your team’s spirits up, and answer any questions anyone may have. This simple process unites the team before they set out to work, gives you a chance to get everyone on the same page and in a great and productive mood, and address any concerns that may have arisen since the previous workday. How could that not be worth five minutes?
The one-on-one meetings are a great opportunity to discuss career goals with each individual employee, and you’ll find that some employees are more open to talk freely about their concerns and questions in a private space than in front of all their co-workers. These meetings also give you the opportunity to get to know your team members as individuals and establish personal connections with them. This is an essential piece of creating high morale—understanding when and why it is dropping, and when and why it is climbing.
You may have heard the phrase: happiness is not a destination, and it proves true in all situations, including the workplace. Your workplace morale will have highs and lows, and it is something that you must manage and grow each and every day, but the benefits are so worth the extra work! If you’re not sure where to start in developing your team’s morale, consider immediately implementing the daily team meetings and the one-on-one meetings. Be upfront with your team—let them know you are doing this for them and what you hope to accomplish by doing so! Get their feedback on what is going well and what could be going better. Use that feedback as jumping points for further improvement. Build Team Morale—add it to your daily to-do list!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stephanie Redieske is the owner and content writer for The Writing Division, www.thewritingdivision.com. She is a graduate of the English Program at Northern Illinois University, with an emphasis in Writing. She enjoys writing on a variety of topics and contributing to the success of organizations by developing content for newsletters, brochures, blogs, websites and more for the companies she works with. If you have any writing needs, she can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Linked In at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanieredieske/