Employee morale is a much talked about subject. There is enough and more literature on the open source on what it means and what it takes to boost employee morale. From having employee friendly policies to fun at work to investing in employee training and development, the list is endless.
All of these definitely play a part in achieving the desired objective of improving employee morale. However, it is imperative that leaders understand that their actions need to elicit behaviours from employees that are in the best interest of the organization and helps the organization achieve its business results through its engaged workforce. Here are five ways to do it.
Build a sense of purpose and passion
Every employee wants to feel that his or her job has a higher sense of purpose. A passionate employee who sees his work as more than just a job is definitely likely to outperform and deliver better results. Leaders need to invest time and energy to help each team member understand the business strategy and connect how they can contribute to the big picture. Set tangible goals, encourage employees to do more and reward them for their passion. Collaborate with the team effectively on decision making that will help them feel valued and respected.
Empower your team
One would never want an invigilator looking over the shoulder while he/she is writing an exam, isn’t it? Yet many leaders make the cardinal mistake of micromanaging excessively and breathing down people’s neck. It can really break the employee’s sense of self-respect. Empower your employees to come up with solutions to problems. Delegate effectively with clear briefs and directions. Encourage employees to seek help when in need. Give them opportunities to anchor and lead projects. Let your team members own what they are doing and feel responsible.
Encourage employees to take risks
Urge your employees to depart from the routine and question status quo. An organization cannot innovate and leapfrog competition if its employees are risk averse and the culture conservative. Encourage every employee to come up with newer ideas and facilitate in order to help them put it into action. Not all ideas and actions would be successful and well received. However, leaders need to emphasize that making mistakes and falling are means to learn and grow. Keep the hunger alive in employees to do things better and differently.
Open and honest communication
Is corridor talk among employees a common sight? Is grapevine a common feature? Do employees agree publicly and disagree privately? If yes, you better be worried. These are clear signs and warning bells of a disengaged workforce. Communicate, communicate and communicate honestly to the last mile and encourage employees to speak up. Shed the hierarchy and control, open the cabin door and embrace an open feedback culture. Make information accessible and share it freely. Ask team members to discuss issues in open forums. Respect a person’s view and listen to value the feedback of each individual without bias or prejudice.
Show that you care
A personal connect and touch in the way we respond to employees who are going through a tough phase goes a long way in building a strong bond and boosting the feeling of oneness with the organization. Business results will be delivered by employees who genuinely care for the organization. If a staff member is sick or in distress, pick up the phone and talk. Convey genuine sympathy and make yourself a pillar on which he/she could lean on and draw strength. Go out of the way to show that you care. It will not be very easily forgotten.
As mentioned earlier, the list could go on and on. It’s easier said than done to practice and put into action things we know and things that need to be done. Take the first step today towards the goal and measure your progress as you go along.