Assessing Employee Morale

Employees seem to be dragging, not completing their tasks as well as they should. Their excitement and dedication to their job has waned, and as managers or owners, we aren’t sure why. Your first thought may be to reprimand and give them a warning but what if that is the wrong first move?

Most employees want to find meaning in their work, especially the oft-mentioned Millenial generation. For owners and managers who are from a different generation and focus on the bottom line or obligatory duties, this can be a difficult gap to bridge but it is a necessary one.

The first thing that an owner or manager must do is assess employee morale. How big is the problem? Is it many employees or just one? This can be accomplished by surveying employees, one-on-one meetings, or both.

Once the data from questionnaires or meetings has been gathered, owners and managers need to look at it both critically and with an open mind. While some employees may just have a grudge for an unknown reason, it’s likely that common themes will emerge, and the company leadership should make special note of common themes. As difficult as it might be to hear, it is important to seek employee input.  Employees will have a different outlook than the owner or manager, and a good leader will take those views into account to get a sense of any underlining issues within the organization. It is possible that you will need to do a bit of self-reflection during this stage. You may discover that employees don’t view your leadership the same as you do. This doesn’t necessary mean it is good or bad, just that everyone is motivated differently.

Finally, once the data has been gathered and employee input thoughtfully considered, a course of action can be planned. A few areas that you may end up focusing on would be the way leadership communicates. Is it clear and do employees understand expectations? Do you have job descriptions and systems for accountability?  Do your policies or procedures fit the culture you are trying to develop within your organization?

It is always good business practice to also take all comments and suggestions into account, even if you decide not to act on them. Treat all employee concerns as important; many times decreased morale is because employees feel they do not have a voice. By acknowledging employee input, they will feel as if they are valued part of the organization, and feeling valued will have long-term benefits.  Taking all of these areas into account and making employees feel valued is bound to improve morale; employees are more likely to stay longer, and have increased loyalty.

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