Something is wrong in your company. Your top performers start to miss deadlines and turn in sub-par work. Long-time staff begin showing up late and office conflicts start to rise. A dark cloud seems to hang over everyone. It’s clear that low morale has become a problem, but what is causing it and how can you change the mood? Try using these steps to get to the heart of the problem:
- Track Down the Cause – It may not be immediately clear what is weighing so heavily on your employees. Have an informal meeting with the staff that seems the most troubled and ask them broad, open-ended questions to better understand where their feelings are coming from.
- Consider the Obvious – Have you put a major new policy in place? Did a popular member of staff leave the company? Are their rumors in the office about firings? The most obvious explanation is often the correct one.
- Reach Out – It’s never a good idea to dismiss or downplay the source of a morale problem, regardless of how minor or petty it may seem. Let your staff know that you understand the scope of the problem and take finding a solution seriously.
- Smooth the Edges – It’s an unfortunate fact that in a lot of cases there is no way to fix what is causing low morale. Business can be rough. You can help to repair damaged feelings by making sure your staff has the training/technology/resources/motivators they need to succeed in your environment.
- Maintain Dialogue – These kinds of issues rarely resolve themselves overnight. Even after you have “fixed the problem,” keep lines of communication open and make yourself available to receive feedback.
- Eliminate the Bad Apples – Your morale problem could spring from just one or two bad apples on your staff. If that is the case, work with these employees individually, but avoid turning the process into a trial. If issues persist, consider transferring the employee, or making the hard decision to let them go.
- Keep Context – It’s important to know when a morale problem is a major issue or just a temporary funk. Company environments have a natural ebb and flow, and if you turn a minor dilemma into major intervention it could create a lot more problems than it solves. Be willing to intervene when necessary, but let things resolve themselves naturally in every other instance.
There is a strong link between office morale and staffing. Your workforce blues could be caused by having the wrong staff, not enough staff, or even too much staff. When you need to make effective changes fast, contact Morris Bixby.