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Is employee morale the route to a productive organisation?
High employee morale has been one of the measures of a highly productive organisation. As a human resource professional, in the quest for achieving high employee morale, it is necessary that you are well-tuned into the pulse of the organisation to sense workplace pessimism. Pessimism about the work place usually manifests due to loss of confidence in the management or the product line of the business, or disproportionate work–life balance.
The first signs of negativity should be addressed immediately. Talking with employees will help you understand the exact problems and the degree to which the problems are impacting your workplace. You will want to identify the exact employee groups who are experiencing the negativity, and the nature of the issues that sparked their unhappiness.
So what can be done?
You receive employee complaints, do exit interviews with employees who leave, and know the reputation of your organisation in your industry. You watch the discussions on employee Intranets, manage the appraisal and 360-degree feedback process, and coach managers in appropriate staff treatment. This information will help you learn to identify the symptoms of negativity before its morale-busting consequences damage your workplace. It will also assist you in preventing and curing workplace negativity.
Right to information
Help people feel like members of the in-crowd; each person wants to have the same information as quickly as everyone else. Provide the context for decisions, and communicate effectively and constantly. Treat people as adults with fairness and consistency. Develop and publicise workplace policies and procedures that organise work effectively. Apply them consistently. As an example, each employee has the opportunity to apply for leave. In granting his request, apply the same factors to his application as you would to any other individual's.
Rewards & Recognition
"Is my contribution valued?" This question is in the minds of the employees all day, irrespective of how much they enjoy the current role. The power of appropriate rewards and recognition is remarkable in the creation of a positive workplace. Suffice to say, reward and recognition is one of the most powerful tools an organisation can use to buoy staff morale.
Train and Grow
People want to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves. If they understand the direction, and their part in making the desired outcomes happen, they can effectively contribute more. Allow people the opportunity to grow and develop. Training, perceived opportunities for promotions, lateral moves for development, and cross-training are visible signs of an organisation's commitment to staff.
Fun and Energizing Environment
Create an environment of fun within the workplace, so that employees are drawn into office . Fun at work, breaks the monotony of everyday routine work. It allows people to connect with each other socially not just on e-mails or faxes. As HR professionals we need to keep busy with activities other than work, so that the employees feel like they are a part of the organisation.
An old saying goes – People don't leave organizations, they leave managers. If a business wants its people to make a lot of money for them, then it must set high standards and give employees something they can get excited about. These employees must be managed by someone who is trustworthy, cares about people as well as the business, and acts with integrity. Managers should not do anything special, but do exactly the same things that would excite and motivate them as individuals. As HR professionals it is necessary to create an open door policy so that managers can be accessible to their team members at all times.
One of the main causes of low employee morale is anxiety about the future, particularly long-term job, income and retirement security. Most of these scenarios are unreal and just anticipated . During these times listen, listen, listen. Often people just need a sounding board. Be visible and available to staff. Proactively schedule group discussion sessions, town meetings, ‘lunches with the manager', or one-on-ones. Challenge pessimistic thinking and negative beliefs about people, the company, and the work area. Don't let negative, false statements go unchallenged. If the statements are true, provide the rationale, the corporate thinking, and the events that are responsible for the negative circumstances. Share everything you know about a situation to build trust with the workforce.
Employees spend most of their active hours at work-place; hence it is organisation's responsibility to maintain a pleasant environment wherein they will enjoy working. Addressing pessimism prevents workplace violence, promotes workplace safety, and creates positive employee morale - after all these are the traits of Workplace Harmony and a Productive Organisation. Thus be happy and spread happiness!
(The author Amit Bansal is a career counsellor and trainer who heads PurpleLeap, an organisation that works with colleges to make students employment-ready)