While productivity is linked to morale, they are not the same thing. High morale may lead to greater productivity, but it's not the only factor. There can be various levels of morale and productivity, and the highest standard for companies to strive for is high productivity-high morale.
Likewise, morale and motivation are related but different. Morale reflects an employee's attitude toward their work, while motivation is an energy that comes from an inner feeling to satisfy the demands of the job. Motivation is drive and morale is sentiment.
Employers should be cognizant of the fact that there exists both individual morale as well as group morale, and while they're not necessarily the same, they affect each other. Review the following factors that can directly impact morale to determine how you can best improve productivity within your organization:
1- Give Employees More Control Over Their Jobs
Just as management enjoys and exerts control over the strategy and direction of the company, employees want control over their jobs, the ability to schedule their own hours, and the freedom to manage how they approach the details of their job.
Allowing employees to have a voice, whether it's providing feedback to management or making recommendations to increase production in their area of responsibility creates a feeling of connectedness to the company as well as their co-workers.
Asking questions and listening carefully to answers creates a feeling of respect, and recognizing employee strengths and giving them the opportunity to use them goes a long way toward avoiding toward preventing burnout.
2 – Contribute to Healthier Employees
The lack of benefits like health and individual dental insurance, health savings accounts, and paid sick days creates the impression that employees aren't valued and contributes to low morale and employee turnover.
Many companies now provide local health club memberships, and larger companies provide on-site fitness facilities. A healthy workforce with the ability to take preventative medical action without fear of missing a day's pay is more productive. As long as you reward your employees through fair wages and solid benefits, they're likely to be around longer.
3 – What Negative Perceptions are you Propagating that Impact Employee Morale?
Have you ever wished you could read your employees' minds? Do you believe you know what they're thinking? You might be surprised.
Staff meetings are good for discussing what's been accomplished and what's ahead, but they're not always the right place for employees to express frustration or offer actual criticism. Anonymous surveys that ask the right questions will provide a more accurate picture. You might discover that employees feel:
- They're kept in the dark about business goals
- Decisions are made that affect them with no input from them
- Management has no idea what it's like on the front lines
- They're taken for granted
- Management expects loyalty but doesn't return it
These and many other negative perceptions can be rectified, but first they need to be identified.
4 – Good Workplace Communication
The first rule of good communication is to ensure that the receiver hears what the sender intended. When there's a verbal back-and-forth, it's possible and advisable for the receiver to be afforded the opportunity to confirm what they've heard or to ask for clarification. The goal is to have all parties to the conversation walk away with the same understanding. A written account of the meeting's details will help solidify understanding.
If there's a change in management, a simple introduction of the new manager isn't enough. A change in practices and methods can have a negative impact on morale if it's not explained. By offering even a simple explanation for the change, employees will be more receptive to moving on and accepting the new manager.
5 – Recognize Employee Successes
While every company has a long-term strategy, by focusing on individual employee accomplishments along the way, management can build employee morale which will contribute to motivation which will result in increased productivity.
Recognition for quick wins, whether it's formal, informal, or public, encourages peers to reach for similar achievements.
Carol Evenson is an entrepreneur and professional business consultant specializing in C-level training and business growth. She currently works with organizations across the globe, assisting CEOs with their expansion strategies.