The low morale around your office is becoming harder and harder to ignore. At first, you overheard a few unhappy gripe sessions around the water cooler, but you could dismiss this as the grumbling of one or two chronic complainers. Then two bad apples became five. Then one of your best employees gave notice. Was the resignation related to the grumbling? You may never know for sure.
Now a subtle undercurrent has become a constant murmur of discontent, and your most talented staff members are getting restless. More of your employees are calling in sick, the office is quiet and gloomy, and nobody is touching the sign-up sheet for the company softball team. Worst of all, new ideas have stopped flowing. Employees are afraid to make suggestions, and they’ve become so shell- shocked and risk averse that they don’t seem to care if their projects—or the company– succeed or fail. What’s next?
Resolving a workplace morale problem can be broken down into three not-so-simple steps: Recognizing the problem in the first place, finding out why it’s happening, and making a plan to bring energy levels back to where they belong. You’ve done first, and that’s commendable. But now for the second step—identifying the root of the problem. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Eliminate Workplace Morale Problems: Get to the Heart of the Matter
1. Ask questions. And make sure you’re asking the right ones. If you call employees into your office to ask them how they’re feeling and how their projects are progressing, let them address morale issues in their own words. Don’t lead your witnesses. If you do, you might not get the real story.
2. Consider the context. Has your company experienced a recent shift in top management? Are employees adapting well to the new leadership? Are they still getting all the resources they need to do their jobs? The new management may be the problem, but the loss of the old management can also sometimes leave a trail of disorientation, loss, or even grief (depending on the reason).
3. How secure are employees feeling about their jobs? A layoff scare can have an effect that lingers for a long time, even months, after it ends. If the layoff rumors (or realities) exposed upper management as unfeeling or disloyal to its employees, the employees will remember this whether they keep their jobs or not.
4. Are any new policies or regulations causing resentment? Are employees having difficulty meeting newly established standards for performance, productivity, or behavior? The source of your morale problem may be as simple as a new dress code, or as complicated as an office of employees mourning the loss of a coworker. But before you can take steps to resolve the problem, you’ll need to find out where it lies.
For more help with office culture and workplace morale issues, contact the staffing experts at RPC. We can help you keep your workplace positive, vibrant and productive.