In my experience with small businesses, there is always more work to do than can be accomplished in a day. New companies are in a perpetual state of being understaffed, but rarely have the resources to adequately expand.
These constraints can stress employees. As a small business owner you know the value of company morale, but you can’t necessarily afford to slow the pace of progress. This article walks you through how company morale is affected by factors other than workload and will outline some philosophies on how to boost employee spirits.
Workplace Negativity: The Silent Killer
Negative employees are often more pernicious than outright bad hires, because they can be hard to spot and ever harder to let go. Although they may be productive and well-qualified, employees who are consistently negative are destructive to company morale and to their peers around them.
Workplace negativity doesn’t just stem from gossip and employees who are too quick to claim credit. Phrases such as “That’s not my job” or “I’ve already worked hard enough” encourage complacency and mediocrity. The mark of a fine-tuned company is when employees want to take on more challenges and feel pride in the work they do.
So what can you do if you observe these contagious behaviors in your office?
1. Involve Employees in Decisions that Affect Their Work
Giving your staff a voice in shaping the projects they are working on is monumental in fostering company morale. There is a lot of truth to the saying that people work hard when they love their jobs.
Let your employees feel like owners. Your employees are building your company alongside you, so let them feel like their work is purposeful.
This doesn’t mean restructuring the authority of each employee. But encouraging feedback and setting up employees so that they are onboard with the work they are doing can make them feel proud about their contributions to your company.
2. Support Employees in Their Good Times and Bad
Everyone has major life events occur outside of work. Showing flexibility such that your employees can be with their communities or families for the good, the bad, or the necessary obligations helps foster good will. When employees know they can count on you to let them address demands outside of work they are more likely to reciprocate when extra attention is needed at work.
3. Be an Active Listener
The last philosophy to building a strong company morale is dedicating yourself and your managers to being active listeners. An active listener is someone who provides feedback on what they have just heard from the speaker. This practice not only confirms that both parties are on the same page with what is being discussed, but makes the employee speaking feel like he or she is being acknowledged.
Not every problem has an immediate, actionable solution, but by actively listening you are demonstrating to your employees that you understand what they are sharing with you. This signals that they are an important part of your company, and that their feedback is high value.
While company morale is vital for employee satisfaction and productivity, it may not always seem controllable. By paying attention to the language used around your office and the mood of your employees, you can gauge if your company needs a boost of energy and enthusiasm.
Workplace philosophies I have discussed are involving employees in decisions that affect their work, supporting employees in their good and bad times, and being an active listener.
What are your thoughts on company morale and the philosophies that improve it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.