If you’re a manager, you know the challenge of keeping your best employees and trying to bring the others to a higher level of performance. While an employee may simply not have the skills to do their job well, in many cases an underperforming team member may have more of an attitude problem than an ability problem. Fortunately, there are some practical things you, as a manager, can do about it.
Most employees who quit their jobs are leaving because of their managers and low staff morale, not necessarily their companies. Sure, we can think of exceptions, like an employee who moves away, or someone who works at a burger joint who decides to follow a vegan diet, or someone who feels a company product, practice or philosophy violates their own values. But in cases where the employee just can’t stand to go in to work anymore, most of the time it’s personal – often directly related to the interaction they have, or don’t have, with their manager. If the manager/employee interactions are negative or inadequate, low staff morale will often ensue.
Many studies have revealed that there is a direct relationship between employee morale and productivity and performance, so making a conscious effort to improve morale is simply good business. The Gallup Organization has estimated that there are 22 million actively disengaged employees costing the American economy up to $350 billion annually in lost productivity including absence, illness, and other problems that occur as a result of employee dissatisfaction. Executives and managers who are able to keep employee morale high will undoubtedly improve productivity and performance for their company.
If you want to improve staff morale among your employees adopt the five strategies outlined below as part of your regular management practice.
Remember the old jump rope jingle?
Tommy and Suzy sittin’ in a tree
First comes love, then comes marriage
Then comes Suzy with a baby carriage!
We usually inserted the names of a boy and a girl we knew and used this rhyme as a way of embarrassing them; but the point is, it wasn’t that long ago that the sequence of events in the relationship were the norm, and variances were socially unacceptable.
Social climate, perceived standards of morality and priorities have changed a lot since then! I read some interesting research by Galena K. Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley that explored how the “new normal” trends have affected the younger generation of married couples. Their findings include three major conclusions:
In the business world we often hear terms and strategies for doing business that are predatory, aggressive and even deceptive in order to make the sale or increase profits. Words like shark, war and guerilla come up in the vernacular. But I’ve been watching people over the years, and find that, in the long run, people who are willing to cheat or compromise often lose out on true success. People who do the right things for the right reasons have more satisfying careers and happier lives.
So, let’s explore this a little further: Have you ever met someone that you consider to be, or to have been, a really good person? I would imagine that you could probably name at least a few. What character traits do you think describe a “good” man or a good woman in our society today? Perhaps words such as kind, thoughtful, generous, giving and unselfish top your list. If so, I would agree – these are traits we would all expect a good person to possess, but there’s got to be more to it – and there is.
We have all heard that the majority of marriages end in divorce, and if you believe what you hear, you may think the tradition of marriage is doomed. But I recently read the research published by Shaunti Feldhahn based on census statistics and many other sources. In her book, The Good News About Marriage, she and her research assistant, Tally Whitehead, dig deep into facts, figures, trends, and urban legends about the state of marriage today.
The full scope of marriage research is too overwhelming to summarize in a blog post, so today we will look at two significant statistics about women that give us reason to hope.
In my last blog I suggested that the first strategy for dealing with burnout is to Refocus. It’s important to move your gaze from the quagmire of stress and over-commitment and gain a new outlook. I urged you to think about how you think and shared some books that have helped me and a lot of others.
Today we will talk about Strategy #2: Revitalize.
If you neglect to put gas in your car you will soon find yourself stuck on the side of the road. The same is true of your body. If you neglect your legitimate physical needs – sleep, nutrition, and physical activity – you will burn out quickly.
In my last blog I described some ways to determine if you may be experiencing burnout from your work and stresses. If you’re already struggling it can be difficult to muster up the energy to constructively address the problem when you are exhausted, but things are not likely to change if you don’t. As overwhelming as it may feel right now, there are strategies you can use to improve your situation and regain control of your life.
Today we will look at Strategy #1: Refocus.
“I hate my job because it’s consuming me; I miss my life and I can’t remember what it’s like to feel good. I wish I could just escape to a deserted island in the middle of nowhere!” Can you relate?
In today’s faced paced, hyper-competitive and tough economic times, a growing number of men and women are experiencing the painful effects of burnout. According to a CareerBuilding.com report, 77 percent of employees claim they feel burnout related to their jobs. In another national poll, over half of the respondents reported that they were less productive at work because of job stress.
Most people have at some point in their lives had to deal with someone who refuses to lose. No matter how unreasonable their position and how obviously wrong they may be, they clamp down their jaw as instinctively as a bull terrier in a dogfight – and it seems nothing short of death will loosen it.
It’s often not that complicated to deal with this sort of person at a dinner party, where the simplest strategy may be to avoid them or to feign agreement for a couple of hours until you can escape after dessert. But in the workplace this is seldom possible, and if the bulldog is your superior, you can come away from discussions frustrated, angry and hurt.