7 Ways IT Leaders Build Great Employee Morale
Every manager or business owner should strive to create an environment of high employee morale. Having employees that are happy at work is not only important because your employees are people and deserve happiness, but because low morale impacts your business in fairly significant ways. Employees who have a low feeling of job satisfaction are not as productive as happy employees. They may not be as polite as you’d like them to be as they interact with users inside and outside the IT organization.
If you are noticing a general gloom around the office, or want to avoid low employee morale before it becomes noticeable, there a few simple steps you can take that will make your employees happy to come to work. In this post, we’ll look at 7 of the best ways to improve employee morale in your department.
Buy Breakfast or Lunch Every So Often
This doesn’t need to be an everyday thing, but surprising your employees with breakfast or lunch every so often lets them know that you are thinking about them. A big part of low employee morale is when an employee feels underappreciated. Gestures such as a free breakfast or lunch every now again lets them know that you think of them as more than number on a payroll sheet or slaves to your bottom line.
These purchases also needn’t be expensive, a simple bagel in the morning or sandwich at lunch serves the same purpose. Indeed, the goal here is just to let the employee know that you are thinking of them, not to buy their loyalty.
Discuss Problems in Private
One of the most demoralizing things you can have happened to you is to be berated by your boss in front of your coworkers. Even if you think you are being tactful, calling out an employee’s poor behavior with others around to hear it is going to needlessly hit their self-esteem and ruin their day. This is especially true because there may be personal reasons that the employee is having an off day. Calling them out in public forces them to either bury these feelings deeper, and grow resentment of you in the process, or to air their problems publicly.
Even in private, you should show more compassion than simply talking down to the employee. When there is a problem, let the employee know that you are on their side and that you want to help address the problem.
Take a Personal Interest in Your Employees
Part of what makes work so dreary is that it takes you away from the things that you’d rather be doing. Your employees may have to leave their family and hobbies behind to come to work, but that doesn’t mean they have to forget about those things. By showing an interest in the things outside of work that motivate your employees, you allow them to bring a little bit of that into the workplace.
This is a fairly small gesture but can go a long way in easing the discomfort people have about having to put those things aside and come to work instead. It allows them to showcase a part of their personality and their life that they normally have to forget about at work. This is especially true of employees that are more isolated from coworkers that they may otherwise have these types of conversations with.
Spend Time with Employees Outside the Office
This doesn’t mean that you need to become their best friend. However, spending time with your employees outside of the office occasionally helps them to see you as a leader that they’ll be glad to follow rather than just that person at work that bosses them around. This time outside the office can come in a variety of ways. It could be something as casual as inviting everyone out to coffee or drinks after work one day. Perhaps if that feels too informal for you, you can have a department picnic, party, or activity day. These are great opportunities to get to know your employees outside of work and double as great team-building exercises.
Have an Open Door Policy
We talked a bit about how personal problems may have an impact on an employee’s ability to do their job effectively. While addressing the performance issues that arise from those problems behind closed doors saves the self-esteem of the employee, it is also a bit late to find out about these problems. By letting your employees know that they can come to you with personal problems that may impact their job performance, you are giving yourself a heads up on issues that may arise, creating the opportunity to help the employee and avoid those problems arising in the first place, and building employee morale by letting them know that you care about the issues that are affecting them.
Have Regular “One-On-Ones”
Often, employees do not feel comfortable coming to their boss with problems that they may have at the workplace. This is most often because the boss does not create an environment where they feel welcome to do so. By regularly taking the time to pull your employees aside and give them the opportunity to express their concerns about issues, you are creating an environment where they do not feel the need to hold in their problems and let resentment build.
Get Back to Them on Concerns
This tip builds on the last one. When an employee comes to you with a problem, they are entrusting you to advocate on their behalf. Not every problem is something that you can help them with. In fact, not every concern will even be reasonable. Even in the worst-case scenario, the employee needs to know that you made an honest attempt to understand their point of view and to resolve the issue for them. This means that if you say that you will investigate something, you need to actually do so and then follow up with the employee. This way, even if you do not actually solve their problem, they know that they were heard and respected to raise employee morale.
Learn More About Building Great Employee Morale
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