I used to work for a call center that was notorious for paying its employees far below industry standard. I didn’t even realize this until I got promoted within the company. It’s one thing to pay people $.50 last than a competing company, but it’s entirely another thing when you pay your employees $7 to $8 per hour less than the rest of the entire industry.
Needless to say, this was one company that did not have the best employee morale. They paid for it – it manifested itself in the form of high turnover. Looking back, there’s a reason that I don’t work for them anymore.
If you’re one of the few people in today’s workforce that has not had the misfortune of working for any company that has suffered from employee morale, then you’re lucky. If low employee morale were a medical condition, we would have a nationwide epidemic on our hands. It’s so bad that people have settled for the popular notion that people don’t like their jobs.
It doesn’t have to be this way. As the manager of a company, you have the power to boost employee morale. Here are five ways you can do that.
Establish companies usually have established the work processes. The entire idea is that if something isn’t broken, it should be fixed. This leads to a culture of stagnancy. People stop innovating. They stop looking for ways to fix an inefficient system. This is especially true when employees make suggestions that are always turned down because the managers think they just know better.
Remain open to employee suggestions. Often times, the employees are the ones that are actually doing the work. It is much easier for them to spot inefficiencies in the workflows and the work processes than for managers to do the same thing. Of course, there may be some red tape that prevents a suggestion from going through, but if an employee believes that you are doing your best to make an effort that employee will be a happy employee.
Where did the notion of the standard workday come from? Has anyone ever thought of why this block of time – the 9-to-5 job – has been set aside for the standard workday? The answer is simple. The communication tools that people used 100 years ago are very different from the communication tools that people use today. The 9-to-5 job has allowed people to be at work at the same time because it is a communication tactic. How can you communicate with your coworkers if you keep different hours? As a business owner, how can you communicate with customers and clients if you’re never available because you work in the middle of the night?
Many employees are not customer facing employees. In other words, they don’t deal with clients directly. They may do work in the background, but they don’t have to keep the same schedule as clients. In fact, many of them work alone. Without being forced to, and within certain parameters, employees should be given the freedom to set their own hours. The point is for them to get work done. The bottom line doesn’t usually care when the work is done as long as it’s completed on time.
Give employees the option to set their own hours – within reason. For your salaried employees that are supposed work 40 hours a week, if they need to take a day off, let them take a day off. The only catch is they have to put in the same amount of hours per week to match what they are getting paid. This should not open the door for employees to walk all over the employers. It should only give the employees a little bit of freedom over their schedules. If they want to work 10-to-6 instead of 9-to-5, there really shouldn’t be any harm in it.
This can be especially true for creative employees who are night owls or people who would have to adjust otherwise to a schedule that matches the 9-to-5 mantra.
Many employers are afraid of allowing their employees to telecommute simply because they can’t keep track of the hours they work. They may believe that productivity will shrink because they are not there to micromanage their employees and watch them every hour of every day.
This doesn’t even begin to touch on the issue of the actual commute. Some people spend a good chunk of their day going back and forth between work. If it takes an hour and a half to get to work – which is not an unreasonable amount of time for many employees –then it will take an hour and a half to get home. That’s three hours a day, or 15 hours a week spent commuting.
We’re all adults here. Give your employees at least the option to telecommute and see if your employee morale doesn’t go up. Some people just work better when they don’t have an employer breathing down their neck.
Many employees will appreciate the freedom that comes when they work from home. Even if they need to go to work one day per week to attend meetings and to touch base, your employees will still save a significant amount of time and money commuting.
Long workdays in a dead-end job can really get to people. It turns into drudgery when they know what to expect, day in and day out. It’s often not enough to provide just the weekend. Many jobs are mundane. In the beginning, employees may be excited. However, mundane jobs quickly lose their luster and their workplace becomes a place where employees begin to dread.
Spice things up a little bit by having office parties. Don’t hold office parties at the office, either. Hold them at a restaurant or some other place where employees can kick back and relax a little. Take a day off and have your employees volunteer at a nonprofit organization. A break from everyday work can work wonders toward boosting employee morale, not to mention productivity.
A Warm, Welcoming Workspace
Many people look at their work or their employee with a level of disdain. Many of your employees don’t want to think about work when they’re not at work. They see the office as a mundane, dry, dead-end type place. Many people even believe that their work goes unnoticed and don’t try as hard as they would or could if they thought they were a valued employee.
Pixar Animation attributes their success to the freedom that they give their employees. By cultivating a culture of creativity, they have yet to have a film that flops. Let people bring in personal effects from home. Let them decorate their desks the way they want with pictures of their family, pieces of art they might’ve created, or other trinkets that make the office feel like a home away from home. People who care about their office environment because they can personalize it tend to be happier while they’re working.
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