In a new CareerBuilder Survey released today 23% of employers reported that the work environment at their company was experience low employee morale. If you look at the positive side that means 77% of companies may be experience high levels of employee morale, but somehow I think that’s not even close to being accurate.
Delving deeper into the survey findings, which included feedback from 2,900 employers, you will find that 40% of workers were having difficulty being motivated to perform their job requirements.
Based on feedback I’m getting from business professionals in the Hudson Valley region of New York I have to believe the number of low morale workforces is significantly higher than just 23% of companies. How much higher its hard to say, but I’d say it’s closer to 50%. Then again, maybe my view is skewed by the fact that maybe I only get referred in to companies that have challenges with their workplace attitudes and employee morale and motivation.
Those companies I’m referred in to really have a hard time knowing what to do about employee morale, especially in challenging times, when salaries are being cut and layoffs continue to grow. It’s virtually impossible to maintain high morale when people are in a state of uncertainty about the future of their employment that will impact their financial future.
To mitigate the angst in a workplace employers need to be as transparent as possible and communicate even more than usual about the situation. Strategies for salary reductions and layoffs need to be viewed as being allocated fairly (and by fairly I do not necessarily mean “evenly”).
Another strategy is to try to give employees as much as control over their situation as possible, since most feel a complete lack of control in this type of environment. One example of what I mean is companies that have an annual holiday party.
This expense could be seen by employees as cutting in to whatever little extra cash they may be able to enjoy during the holiday season. As such, if given the choice between a holiday party or getting a few extra dollars in their paycheck or a small holiday bonus instead of going to a company party, many may choose the former.
I would contend its best to forego the holiday party, which would be lightly attended and attended by many who would not have as high a level of holiday cheer as they should, and give employees a sense of controlling their situation.
Leaders that want to create a high morale and high performing work culture should consistently apply the 6-Keys I outline in my latest white paper. Additionally, they will become an even better leader when they understand that in situations like these its not about themselves and what they want. It should always be about the people they lead and leading with compassion and empathy.
As leaders, listen to your people and give them what they desire when its easy to do so.