How to Boost Employee Morale During a Tough Economy
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News of the current economy seems to be getting worse every day. Uncertainty is pervasive and even employees in seemingly recession-proof industries may not feel the job security they once did. Experts suggest small, frequent rewards and kind words can do wonders to stimulate productivity and spark motivation in employees despite the unstable economic times.
- Direct Focus. Complaining about the economy or the company will do nothing to make employees feel better or buoy their spirits. Rather direct their focus to how their work directly impacts the bottom line of the company and how they can work to achieve their goals and fulfill obligations.
- Be Honest. Don’t be transparent be candid about the state of the company, even if the news is grim. Employees have a right to know and should be kept abreast of circumstances that directly affect them. However, instead of fixating on the fact that business isn’t so great, direct focus on the integrity of the company and how company procedures and processes can be improved and made more efficient during lean times.
- Self-Empower Employees. Promote job responsibility and encourage employees to be vocal regarding how their job description can evolve. Let them be a part of setting job goals and implementing ways in which procedures can be enhanced.
- Encourage a “Family” Atmosphere. Support social clubs, intramural sports teams, car pooling, and other activities employees can participate in order to strengthen relationships and encourage them to support and trust one another.
- Demonstrate Loyalty. If the company seems to be headed in the direction of layoffs, discuss with various departments and employees ways they could be avoided. Given the opportunity, employees can be quite ingenious if it means everyone can keep their job.
- Let Employees Be Heard. Utilize survey software so employees can anonymously fill out surveys regarding their work and company. Aside from monetary gains, ask them what would make their job better or what the dislike the most about the office. Anonymity will allow them to be completely frank and the fact that you are seeking out their feedback to improve the company can boost their spirits.
- Have an Open Door Policy. Be a good listener when it comes to the complaints, questions, and concerns of employees. No one wants to work for someone they feel like doesn’t understand them or worse, doesn’t care.
- Have the Annual Christmas Party. Often the first thing a company will cut in order to cut costs is the Christmas party. Doing so sends a dismal and bleak message to employees in terms of where the company’s headed. There are ways to save money without canceling; for example, hold the party at your home or a recreational center, serve subs, or have a potluck, in which employees bring their favorite dishes.
- Give Extra Time Off. Though you may not be able to give employees the raises and bonuses they deserve, give them extra time off without deducting their vacation or personal time-off. Throw in a few extra vacation days or allow them to take off early after a stressful situation. It’s not directly cash out of your pocket and it’s bound to significantly boost staff morale.
- Free Lunches. Consider establishing free lunch once a week for the entire team. It can be as simple (and cheap) as pizza and soda and can really enhance the importance of teamwork. You can even do training for those who come, so the company can directly benefit as well.
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