In an article she contributed to TechTarget entitled “The CIO Guide to Overhauling Employee Morale,” Joan Indiana Rigdon writes: “Whether your [business] is reeling from layoffs or you just want to energize [your] team for projects and growth in the new year, it pays to know how to motivate. That skill doesn’t come naturally to most CIOs.” This is likely because the C-level executive has a reputation of being stretched too thin. Sometimes he or she will take on additional roles before reaching a breaking point and seeking a candidate or vendor who can share some of the responsibility.
How to improve morale and cultivate a culture of honesty
1. Ask your employees for feedback
Employee morale isn’t one of those things you should ever put on the back burner. This is especially true because a decline in morale can break the success of an organization. Rigdon continues: “If a CIO can re-energize a sluggish staff, the payoff is tremendous. This is especially true for midmarket companies, where budgets are smaller, but so is the size of the staff. So a little attitude change goes a long way.” It all starts by getting to the root of the cause. To accomplish this simply request honest, anonymous feedback from your staff. This will help you to address any concerns immediately and improve organizational processes, company culture and more over time.
2. Reward employees for their achievements
Once you have gathered anonymous feedback, you can see where you need to do a little damage control. In today’s hectic business environment, it comes as no surprise that leaders and managers get wrapped up in the day-to-day operations of the business. While it’s crucial for you to trust your employees and let them perform the functions of their jobs without micromanaging, don’t lose sight of their roles and responsibilities. Instead, check in with them on a regular basis to see what they’re working on and whether you can offer direct or immediate support.
There’s a misconception that employees will only benefit from constructive criticism so they can improve and ultimately perform at their fullest potential. Morale can significantly decline if your employees aren’t recognized for the hard work they’re contributing on a daily basis. To correct this, you don’t have to always direct your attention to promotions and bonuses. In fact, a little can go a long way by simply acknowledging the achievement face to face.
3. Provide your employees with the benefits that they deserve
Every working professional wants a competitive salary with added incentives, but not all businesses have the means to do this—especially in a small-business setting. Fortunately for businesses of all sizes, a little can go a long way. Whether you provide a company-sponsored lunch once a quarter or offer a flexible schedule, such as the option to leave early on Fridays during the summer months, your employees will appreciate that you have taken the time to invest in their happiness and provide them with the benefits they deserve.
4. Promote from within
When you evaluate the vacancy in each department and see an opportunity for a new hire, where do you look? If the answer isn’t in your own company, your employee morale may be suffering as a result. “Hiring outside personnel to fill an opening, even if the candidate has high qualifications, can seriously damage your office morale,” writes Jayson Demers in a contribution to Inc. “Instead, make it a point to promote from within, even if it takes a bit of extra training. Doing so improves individual employee relationships with the company and demonstrates to the other workers that their efforts will eventually be recognized and rewarded.”
5. Be clear and transparent
Your employees need to know that they can come to you or an immediate contact for any questions they have, whether they are positive or negative. If you make yourself available and take the time to listen to your employees, they’re more likely to trust in you and the direction the business is going.
If you’re interested in learning more about employee and office morale, check out our blog for more information and similar topics of interest.
Topics: HR and Company Culture