Improving employee morale during tough times
Improving employee morale is integral for productivity especially in tough timesWhen the going gets tough, the tough get going. During extremely harsh economic times, when job lay-offs abound, companies are on the verge of bankruptcy, raises and promotions are withheld or denied and benefits and perks that the employees had become accustomed to go the way of the wind, it is very difficult for employees to maintain their morale. Improving employee morale is the last thing on the list of "to-do's" for a company in peril.
Employees may be glad to have a job, but how disappointing and frustrating it is particularly for a vested employee to realize that his chances of making more money or even remaining employed until he retires is about as likely as being struck by a meteorite.
Companies sometimes fail to recognize the effect that tough economic times have on their
employees. When a company is struggling, and the employment future of the employees is
ambiguous at best, this can lead to negative outcomes.
If a company does not attempt to cater to the needs of its employees, the most highly prized employees will be the first to become disillusioned and high-tail it out of there when the economy starts to improve. This leaves a company without the personnel that it most valued but forgot to pay attention to.
When employee morale is in the toilet, productivity declines. For employers, it is of utmost importance to maintain and even attempt improving employee morale during tough times.
Consider offering benefits that are not monetary. If the employees know that management cares and is sympathetic to their frustrations this goes a long way in improving employee morale. Give prizes for a job well done. Take the outstanding employee of the week out to lunch and, of course, pay for it. Implement contests that will generate enthusiasm and good-natured competition among the workers. Even adults like a good contest. Consider giving the top producer a paid day off from work.
Do not underestimate the effect that a few kind words, a compliment, a pat on the back means to a worker, but it must be genuine. Knowing that your employer appreciates you helps take away some of the sting caused by some of the other concessions that the employee has had to make because of the money crunch.
A coat of paint, some indoor plants and some wall art can go a long way in making the company lunch room or the common area more pleasant. No one feels good when working in dreary surroundings. Get rid of the gray walls and incorporate some lively colors into the building. This does not cost much and is highly effective in improving employee morale.
Create a feedback system where employees can discuss what is bothering them and what they like or dislike about the company. Allow them to offer suggestions. Give a prize to the person who comes up with the best suggestion and then make sure to implement it. This may lead to some great ideas that will save the company money and increase productively as well as improve the attitude of the workers. People like to be included, and they like to be recognized. Those involved in the basic operations may well be able to provide ideas and suggestions far better than management, which is often removed, because the workers deal with the actual problems every day.
According to Steven Berglas, Ph.D., the employees who do not lose their jobs during tough economic times may actually end up being more stressed out than the ones who were laid off. This is referred to as survivor syndrome.
Those who survive
the cuts may find that they have to work harder for no more pay because there
are fewer employees and this can lead to anger, stress and a sense of
betrayal. Allow your employees to sit
down and openly talk about their feelings about the lay-offs and downsizing.
When empathy develops between management and the employees this helps. Ask the
employees what their top priorities are, write them down, and try to figure out
a way to accommodate them. This will greatly improve employee morale, particularly
if you can meet their needs.
Resources:InfoBarrel.com: employee morale during tough times
Internalcommshub.com: change morale