I liked your article about “leaning in,” but I need some advice to help improve employee morale. The people I supervise are working extraordinarily long hours. They are hard-working, honest, but unhappy. For me, as their manager and leader, what advice can you offer? We don’t have extra money for a “fun day” or bonuses at this point, but I’d like ways to improve their morale. I keep hounding them to be faster and more productive. But will they bail with the upturn in the economy?
Supply Chain Manager
A recent poll of more than 700 people by Silkroad, an HR software company in Chicago, showed that 14 percent of companies are challenged with low company morale. Although the sample is not huge, you can assume that you are not the only manager wanting to improve things. I have a few simple suggestions for you to try.
How about career development?
Have you talked privately with each of your employees to develop short- and long-term goals for their careers? Does your company have a tuition reimbursement program that would encourage growth in their areas of interest? Some may be interested in growing into their jobs by finishing their degrees. Others may hate their jobs and have never considered next steps. To encourage people in their careers it's helpful to create new energy for moving forward, rather than leaving an employee to think he or she is stuck in a dead-end job. Try to help each person set personal goals for next steps.
What are the problems?
Take time for assessing problems. A quick, 15-minute, weekly meeting may help. If you want to retain your staff, you need to hear what is going right and what needs attention. Avoid a gripe session. Take turns sharing something healthy to chew on besides what went wrong. Concentrate on innovative ideas that recently improved processes. Talk about roadblocks. With more engagement, there will be less fear of failure. Be careful you don’t simply implement your own ideas.
What about time management?
In the brief meeting determine ways to save time. Ask each person to contribute ways to achieve “faster and better,” rather than staying late, which requires overtime. Stress that, to have better work/life balance, the team must collaborate.
I can hear you now: “We have always done it this way.” Or maybe, “I’m not changing, just for the sake of changing!” Stay open to your employees’ suggestions. Try new ideas. You may never gain 100 percent buy-in, but by demonstrating your will to rectify a bad situation, morale should improve.
These simple suggestions are not the only answers, but they may help improve your situation.
Please join the EBN webinar on Tuesday, April 30, at 11:00 a.m. ET, titled “Averting the Supply Chain Talent Crisis.” You may register by clicking here.