What should executives do to maintain high employee morale?
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Show them what’s possible with the right attitude
The best action to take for maintaining high employee morale is to get in the trenches and let your team know you are willing to fight alongside them when necessary. A great leader leads from the front. By getting involved with your employees and letting them know they have your support, you will improve morale and show them what’s possible with the right attitude. Be careful not to overdo it, however.
It would be best if you had the team recognize your willingness to help and remind them why they must fulfill their duties while you are focusing on the bigger picture. When employees buy into the company’s mission and leader, their morale will remain high, and productivity will increase.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have gradually moved to a more virtual setting, and learning to adapt has been a bit challenging. What has helped me and my team keep our hopes high is our constant interaction over video chats or messages. Keeping in contact with each other has helped us not feel so lonely and unmotivated. I have been focusing on recognizing my staff for the great work that they are doing even when times seem to get very tough.
Company culture is very important to us. You can be working from home or at the office, but you need to be able to identify with your company and what they represent. If you do not feel connected to your company or feel that your beliefs don’t align with theirs, then you will not be able to perform at your full potential.
The issue that I found most common since working remotely is employees experiencing disengagement caused by working too much. It is difficult to know when to sign out for the day when regular work hours are no longer in play. Additionally, most employees are not able to dedicate space in their homes strictly to work purposes. This issue causes work life and personal life to blend, leading to further burnout as work time and space are not differentiated from employees’ personal time and space.
As a solution, I have encouraged employees to stick to working regular work hours and setting boundaries with leaders and other colleagues to let them know when they are available and when they are not. Furthermore, strongly suggesting a dedicated workspace where employees can separate their workspace from personal space in their homes has proven to increase engagement and productivity.
If you want to reduce employee morale, don’t communicate with them. If you want to improve it, communicate everything you possibly can to them, including new company directives, changes in policy, and the state of day-to-day operations. Unless it involves sensitive company information, you should disperse it to your team as much as you possibly can.
Be Brutally Honest
Sugarcoating leads to lower employee morale. This [includes] performance reviews, so-called “coaching” moments, and a lot more. Call it as you see it and be brutally honest (with a few exceptions). When you’re upfront with your staff, and they know where they stand in the company, morale will remain high.
Recognize Your Team
You should always recognize your team whenever and wherever possible, even if it’s a smaller accomplishment. Get [recognition] into your company culture, and your team will know they are appreciated even if it’s just for a hard day’s work on a busy Monday, as one brief example. Never miss an opportunity to recognize, and you won’t have to worry about employee morale.
Key ways to maintain high employee morale include:
- Create a team connection in a way that makes sense for your employees. They need to feel like they belong to the team and have a contributing role. This is especially important if they are working remotely as this can feel isolating. If you’re holding a call or meeting, don’t dive right into business. Take time to share first and engage on a personal level.
- Be positive and acknowledge any amount of success. This [recognition] creates optimism and hope. Leaders need to highlight the good things that are happening.
- Communicate with your team and be transparent. Explain why you’re making certain decisions and involve employees in decision-making when appropriate. Let them know their work matters and has a purpose.
- Listen more and talk less! Understand how your employees are feeling and pay attention to non-verbal cues. Create a safe space for them to talk and provide feedback.
- Be empathetic. Recognize what your team may be going through in their work and personal lives. Employees want to know you care about them beyond the revenue they’re bringing in.
For 15 years, Ishan Shivanand, a contemporary teacher of ancient Vedic yogic and meditative practices and wisdom, has traveled the world helping, healing, and inspiring people to live lives of compassion and purpose through his techniques that promote integrative physical, mental, and emotional health. Find him at Ishanshivanand.com
As I sit and write this article, I wonder what my company has done to boost my morale over the past few months. Can the motivation come from a bonus in my paycheck or an online art class or the promise of a promotion if I worked harder? Will the motivation bring a qualitative change in my well-being and lifestyle or will it make me chase the carrot in my future, making me feel burnt out after many achievements yet not gaining happiness? I guess everyone asks themself these questions.
Fortunately for me, I have experienced great leadership, but not in the corporate world. The leadership I talk about came from great monks, who have dedicated their lives to the path of enlightenment.
Before we would start any important task, we were required to, as a group, sit with closed eyes for at least ten minutes to meditate on the task at hand. I found these few minutes of mindfulness before a meeting helps purify the mind of the clutter of unfinished tasks.
A work environment where simple practices like smiling and [expressing] gratitude are implemented creates intangible magic. Kindness in words, actions, or even email helps relax the mind. Kindness has a trickle-down effect beginning [with] the leadership. I was grateful to my teachers in the monastery for always being firm yet patient with me.
Clarity brings hope and excitement in life, whereas uncertainty brings great stress and fear. I see some of my colleagues practice self-harm behaviors that I never understood, and I find many times the root cause of such behavior is fear of tomorrow.
Perhaps the greatest morale booster I saw in my time in the monastery was charity. The joy that came from helping others, from feeding the hungry, or building a roof for someone was unexplainable. If the team can have a cause, a purpose to not just help themselves, but through their efforts to help someone else in need, then morale can rise.
When I got my first leadership role in my corporate job, I incorporated these rules, and they have helped my teammates and me ever since.
Listen to the needs of your team
To prevent burnout and minimize stress, you have to identify the source of it. Burnout can be caused by dissatisfaction in one’s role at your company or frustration with leadership. The key, as a leader, is to confront any of these issues head-on. Listen to the needs of your team in order to understand the source of any lack of motivation. Also, encourage collaborative efforts within your company. Working remotely has put a dent in our team-building efforts. However, using programs such as Slack and Trello has made collaboration for all of our employees possible.
It also doesn’t hurt to provide incentives to your employees. Reward hard work or achievement. Providing a small bonus to employees who are showing a great effort, even throughout the transition to working from home, can really [boost] the motivation and excitement within your business.
David A. DiLorenzo
David A. DiLorenzo is the President of Valentino Beauty Pure and is a serial entrepreneur with a 20-year background in public relations and marketing experience in which he has now brought to the nail industry.
Cultivate a culture of transparent leadership and trust
The best thing executives can do to maintain a high level of engagement and boost morale is to cultivate a culture of transparent leadership and trust. Being honest about how things are going and asking advice from employees on the frontline can be one of the ways to foster transparency and [garner] some fresh views on the problems. Allowing your employees to brainstorm and [implement] their ideas is one more example of this trust and appreciation. These simple yet effective measures can unite your team and increase their loyalty. When people see that you trust them, they will treat the company they are working for as their own.
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