The Top Four Ways To Combat Low Employee Morale

- Motivation

by Max Woolf

You love your work. You know how to give pep-talks, devise strategies, and generally steer the boat to success. But employees morale has taken a nose dive. Your people drag their feet to work. Some come late and leave early. Others have already checked out. Your own boss is nudging you. But how can you possibly fix things?

Fear not— You’re about to learn how to resuscitate employee morale and get your team glowing.

The Top Four Things You Can do To Raise Employee Morale

#1 Way to Raise Employee Morale, Invest in Growth:

Some companies spend every ounce of their energy to help employees grow and expand their skillsets. Others train staff for a specific role and keep them there until the wheels drop off.

Problem? When employees plateau and cease to grow, they get bored in double-quick time. As a result, it dents productivity and prompts them to look for greener pastures. The best way to improve employee morale is to start investing in people.

For starters, you may want to intro a personal development fund with a yearly budget of $2000-10,000. It’ll let employees choose how they want to grow and what skills to pick up. As an example, staff could use the budget to attend a workshop, get a mentor, buy a book, or sign up for an online course. Once you prove to employees that you care about their professional growth, they’ll be much more willing to reciprocate and stay for the long haul.

#2 Way to Raise Employee Moral, Align on Goals:

Did you know that when staff isn’t aware of your managerial expectations (which is the case for 50 percent of US workers), morale can plummet? That’s why it’s essential to set clear-cut expectations and agree on common goals, so your team has a crystal-clear idea of what you expect from them.
What’s the best way to do it? Introduce OKRs (Objective-Key Result-Tasks). It’s a management methodology that was developed by Andy Grove during his tenure at Intel.

What’s great about OKRs is that each team member gets to define their own goals for the upcoming quarter. In turn, the individual goals are linked to the team’s and ultimately, the company’s objectives. As a result, it gets every person on the same page in terms of KPIs and what they need to achieve by the end of each quarter.

#3 Way to Raise Employee Moral, Give Praise:

Let me pre-frame it: You know well that recognition is an essential driver of employee experience. But the problem with giving recognition is that most managers spend a ton of time and effort without getting tangible results. What’s the good news? There are a few simple tricks you can leverage that ensure employees feel appreciated for their contributions. First, make a point to give meaningful kudos to your team members at least once a week. It’ll allow for a constant inflow of dopamine.

Next, set up a #kudos channel in Slack and encourage peers to give high-fives to each other when appropriate. It might not sound like much, but peer recognition kickstarts morale like a boss. That’s because team members know the ins and outs of each other’s jobs. So when they give praise, it feels authentic.

Lastly, if you’re looking for more advanced gear, try Bonusly. It’s a tool that gives you an allowance of points, which you can send to your direct reports.
Later, they can redeem those points for something of value (e.g., a lunch with the CEO, an Amazon gift card or even money) And while the price of such rewards is small, the recognition is invaluable.

Learn more about our Merit Money Bonus System through our Team Podcast

#4 Way to Raise Employee Moral, Fix Leadership Issues:

You might be giving direct reports a lot of autonomy, so they get to choose how to organize their workflow for maximum impact. Or maybe your hands-on and have ultimate control over tasks and projects. Neither is right or wrong. Inexperienced employees need guidance. When there’s no help, their morale can take a fall.

And the opposite is true. If you have A+ players on your team that can do the work in their sleep, the last thing they want is to have a manager that micromanages them.

So make sure you adjust how hands-on or off you are with direct reports. To begin with, evaluate your team members for performance. With struggling employees who came in with an entry-level resume, provide coaching and give as much actionable feedback as you can. With mid-performers, offer them some support as well as some suggestions for improvement.

Lastly, when dealing with high-flyers, make sure to minimize your involvement in their work and zero in on tracking KPIs. Your employees will appreciate your support if they need it. If they don’t, focus on the outcome over micromanagement and see employee morale rise from its ashes.

So, there you have it. Four excellent tips for dealing with low employee morale as a manager.

What’s your experience with engaging your top-value assets? How do you keep your teams glowing? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo credit Jan Prokes via Pexels

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