We often hear about morale in the workplace or among the troops.
But what is it, and why does it matter?
The dictionary defines morale as:
the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group at a particular time.
Morale in the workplace is impacted by a variety of factors from leadership attitudes to the confidence of the workforce. When we look at companies who have good employee retention, as well as a healthy bottom line, we often find effective leadership who refrains from micromanaging. Additionally, you will see employees who have been given the tools to develop confidence and successfully perform their job. All these things come together to create the high morale needed to be an effective team.
Healthy leadership begins with developing a road map that employees can easily follow to reach the company’s goals. The map begins with teaching new employees the history and culture of the organization, then travels down the road through effective training. Successful training allows employees to master the company’s tools such as software, marketing, and preferred method of handling clients. The next stop should be a solid mentoring program with a high performing team member. Mentoring helps the employee develop their new skills into truly effective production, and goal attainment. Leadership needs to be active along the way by giving re-direction, as needed, and recognition with each milestone achieved. Recognition for staff members can be as simple as a handclap during a team meeting, a small gift certificate, or a team celebration for meeting larger goals. When leadership provides recognition, it helps the employee to feel valued and trusted. It also develops a sense of accountability to help drive them to the next goal. When employees perform well and grow, that provides a positive impact on profits!
So, what part do employees play in workplace morale? Employees, new and seasoned, should understand that everyone is on the same team working toward a common goal. As an employee, it’s important to be respectful of your employer’s time and support their mission. Being able to support the mission of your employer begins before you are ever hired! Before applying for a job, research the company and their values. In the long run, when your personal values align with those of your employer, both of you will be happier.
Once you are hired build and maintain good relationships with leaders as well as co-workers. In today’s workforce, most workplaces are diverse, and it is important to respect the ideas and opinions of everyone on the team. Some ideas will be good, other ideas may not be a fit, but everyone deserves time to be heard. It is also important to recognize that you may not always agree with leadership decisions. But remember that even those in leadership have someone to whom they are responsible. Find ways to contribute ideas that move the team toward the company goals and share those ideas at the appropriate time. If you find yourself in a situation where there is an issue that arises, instead of gossiping or complaining with the person at the desk next to you, take it to the person who can effectively help you find a resolution. By talking with leadership or HR, you can build credibility within the company and reduce the risk of diminished morale. Most of all, cheer your team on. Other people’s success is not your failure, when a team member succeeds that is a win for everyone!
When leadership and staff do their part to maintain good morale, the production levels and the bottom line will be higher. I have heard it said that happy employees make happy customers. I passionately believe this to be a true statement. Employees who are happy and feel valued by their employer will invest extra effort to make sure that customer’s needs are met.