September 16, 2020
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, employees have been faced with various issues that could upset their general wellbeing. If you work in Lagos, Nigeria, you are already familiar with the hustle, the daily grind, the rush to meet up with deadlines and of course the never-ending traffic. Then came the pandemic, ‘work from home’, pay cut and increase in the cost of living.
Gradually, we are beginning to ease into the ‘new normal’ and get on with our lives. But it is important to ask the question – how are employees faring in the workplace? To answer this question, let us first take a look at what employee morale is.
Employee morale is defined as the overall satisfaction, outlook, and feelings of well-being that an employee holds in the workplace. Simply put, it is how satisfied they feel about their work environment. Employee morale is very critical to every business owner and employer. This is because an employee with a high morale is happy to perform his or her work, which shows in increased productivity and positivity. The reverse is the case for an employee with a low morale. Increased productivity is not the only reason why employee morale is important, other reasons such as production of quality work, ability to retain employees, reduced stress, reduced workplace accidents and frequent absenteeism, are why organizations need to take employee morale seriously. There are ways to improve employee morale in the workplace and here are some of them.
#1: Establish A Healthy Work Environment
Creating a healthy work environment goes beyond the normal look and atmosphere of the workplace. A healthy work environment is one that ‘gingers’ an employee to leave their bed every morning. It should involve healthy work relations between managers and staff, an environment where teamwork is encouraged, and employees fit into the organisation’s objectives and goals.
#2: Keep Communication Lines Open
In every company, good communication across all levels is necessary. There should not be a disconnect between the employees and their employers. Staff should be kept up-to-date on changes and happenings in the organisation. Also, employees should not be made to feel constrained, they should be encouraged to ask questions and offer ideas. This plays a part in achieving high morale among staff.
#3: Motivate Your Employees
Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviours. It is what causes you to act, a person’s driving force. Motivation could come in form of increment in remuneration, promotions, bonuses or other ways an organisation deems fit to reward their employees. Knowing how and when to motivate employees may go a long way in maintaining high morale among them.
#4: Recognise Employees
Appreciating employees, letting them know that you see in them, helps them perform better in the workplace. Celebrating their little achievements serves to boost their morale at work. Acknowledging employee efforts is likely to keep them satisfied, motivate them to churn out quality work and increase productivity.
#5: Show Empathy
Employees are also human, and they need to be taken care of. Even though they work for you, listen to them. Be empathetic towards them. Have conversations with them to understand areas they are struggling with and how you can help them overcome these challenges. In showing empathy to your employees however, remember to do so within limits.
Employees are already up against so many challenges and a toxic or indifferent workplace should not be part of what they should also have to deal with. Companies who put in place structures to ensure their employees’ morale remain high should not relent. Organisations that have not given the thought to encourage their employees’ morale should start now to do so. Creating a healthy work environment, appreciating and motivating employees, empowering and showing them empathy are some of the ways improve your workforce confidence, positivity and productivity in the workplace.