It should go without saying that employee morale is a crucial consideration in any business. Stress, fatigue and depression are the enemies of productivity, and if you can avoid these issues then success is far more likely to follow.
Sadly, not everyone concentrates on their staff’s happiness as much as they should. There are all kinds of different factors to consider, but here are five of the most common reasons for poor morale (along with some advice on how to beat them):
Perhaps the most common cause of low morale is boredom. Sadly, a little bit of boredom is unavoidable in most jobs, but there are several ways to keep things fresh. If your employees are sick of the same old work and want to try their hand at something new, assign them a slightly more challenging task and see how they get on. Expand their horizons, and you could well find that they enjoy their time in work a lot more!
- Limited Abilities
Conversely, you may find that your employees are stressed because they’re struggling with the work they’ve already been given. This could be a mere communication issue – try talking them through the task again, and keep an eye on them while they attempt it again. If they’re still having trouble, it could be a more fundamental issue: they lack the abilities necessary to do their job. If this is the case, training courses can make a world of difference.
- Perceived Insignificance
Of course, it won’t matter how skilful your workers are if they feel that their work is pointless. It’s hard to feel motivated when the task at hand seems like a waste of time, and your employees are likely to make more of an effort if they feel like they’re making a difference. Since you’re paying them to work for you, it’s probably safe to assume that they have a reasonably important role to play in your business, so sit down and explain why the work they do matters. Make them feel appreciated!
- Unsatisfactory Rewards
If your employees are great at what they do, and they’re well aware of how crucial they are to the company’s success, and they still seem to be rather unhappy, it could be that you’re not rewarding them sufficiently for their efforts. That doesn’t always mean that you’re not paying them enough; money makes the world go ‘round, but it’s not necessarily the only thing your staff members are looking for. It could be a question of holiday time, or it could be that they simply want to hear you say ‘thank you’ every now and again. Or it could indeed be that you’re not paying them enough.
Every human being needs nourishment, shelter and sleep. The pay packet you’re providing should (hopefully) take care of the first two, but if your employees are always waist-deep in overtime then it’s entirely possible that they’re not getting enough sleep. This is bad news for everyone; the sleep-deprived employee will feel irritable and unhappy, and the work they do for you will eventually start to suffer as a result. Consider cutting back their workload a little, and if it transpires that your requirements are simply too demanding for one person to cope with, it might be time to give the department in question a new recruit who can help shoulder the burden.
There are plenty of other possible reasons for low employee morale, but the key is always communication. Be friendly towards your workers, and ask them what’s up. You could find that the whole problem has been resolved by the end of the conversation!
This sponsored blog post was written by Joel Dear on behalf of Olive Strachan Resources, a training consultancy specialising in business and management training courses. Like OSR on Facebook for more great business advice.