In my work with clients I have learned how to look for morale issues with an organization. With one organization my recognition of low morale came from observation of a staff meeting. The staff all sat only with members from their own department and the room felt “heavy” rather than light-hearted. When I acknowledged this to the middle managers and asked what the organization does to make their staff feel valued they answered with examples of all the things the leadership had done recently to make them feel devalued. Apparently I was on to something.
At another organization this information came out of ProScan one-on-one sessions. ProScan is the behavioral assessment tool we use that provides a stress analysis. In the discussion around the stress analysis with staff a lot of information leaked out. Generally, the low morale was connected to a relationship with another staff, a manager, or the leadership at the top of the organization.
Whatever the reason and however we determine it is a concern the point is it needs to be addressed. Easier said than done!
What can you do if you feel like the morale within your organization is low? Ask. Ask your staff, “what would make you feel valued?” When I was an executive director I did this with my team; one-on-one with each staff member with their supervisor present. It is very interesting how one person is not motivated by the same things another person is. For some, it was recognition of work. For others, it was felling like they matter as a person and not just as an employee.
Sometimes, it is financial rewards that motivate most and when you are working in a small business or nonprofit you have to be creative as to how this plays out. In this case, you can ask the employee to brainstorm options with you. Some employees only need to be asked how they are, genuinely, by their supervisor. Then, ask your staff to help you come up with realistic solutions to ensure that you communicate that you value them.
Here’s the key. Once you have asked you have to follow through on at least some of the suggestions they offer. Often, just the discussion itself can start to change things within an organization. Employees want to be heard and feel like their opinion is important. It is often more about the including them in the process than including them in the actual decisions.
No matter what you do or how you do it spend time on building your organizations morale. You will not regret it.