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How to Address Poor Employee Morale

by Catherine Lovering

Successful businesses run on productive and innovative employees. Retention and motivation of high-quality people keeps a company running day-to-day and ensures its access to creative and new ideas to move it ahead of the competition. Turning around poor morale can be achieved through actions designed to respond to what keeps employees coming to work, and what keeps them on top of their game.

Connect to Your Higher Purpose

Employees respond when they know their work is meaningful. Sharing success stories of the company as a whole will keep people striving to contribute to its mission. A waste management company, for example, can offer regular updates on its overall environmental impact. Offering employees community service opportunities with pay, connected to the business' mission, will add to this feel-good sentiment about the workplace. A team of waste management employees out doing a community park cleanup helps the town and makes those employees feel good about themselves and proud of their company.

Create a Culture of Trust

Open communication with employees about the company's direction and human resource strategies engenders loyalty among workers. Keeping promises and managing expectations can go a long way toward making employees feel committed to the company. So, they remain with it, instead of leaving in search of other opportunities. When bosses promote a new program to promote employee well-being, they must see it through. Otherwise, a feeling of betrayal may fester in the ranks.

Culture of Recognition

Some managers underestimate the impact on an employee of a handshake or simple compliment on a job well done. This, combined with more formal recognition of achievement -- based on teamwork in addition to individual accolades -- contributes to an overall sense that the company values good work. When workers are doing something right, they want it to be noticed.

Perks of Corporate Connection

Large and small businesses alike can partner with local retailers to give employee benefits. This serves two important purposes. It makes employees happy, and it develops relationships with other businesses. The company can arrange or even fund discounts for employees at local shops and services.

Mind the Environment

Employees spend a lot of time in the office. To increase morale, try making that office a comfortable and positive place to be. A professional office redesign is one option; taking employee suggestions about what they would like to see is another. Workers might suggest a place where magazines and books can be exchanged; a quiet place for a lunch hour nap; or even spot-lighting at desks to make tasks easier on the eyes.

Organize Activities

People who work and play together tend to have higher overall morale and company commitment. Seek out an employee volunteer to arrange activities outside the office. To attract as many participants as possible, offer a variety of events. You might have a sports league, season group tickets to the opera and a book discussion club.

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