According to a recent Gallup study, the state of the American workplace is in need of renewal. In fact, “only 22% of U.S. employees [feel as if they] are engaged and thriving”.
As a business owner today, it’s no surprise that you face growing pressures at a speed and intensity like never before. Financial demands, competition, employee engagement, talent retention and safety are just to name a few. At the same time, you know and understand that when “employees are engaged and thriving in their overall lives, they are more likely to maintain strong work performance – even during difficult times”.
But things are beyond busy; there too many fires to put out; there’s too much pressure and not enough time. So how do you rise above the challenges while at the same time create new strategies to maintain strong work performance, ensuring that your employee’s highest needs are served and that morale is high?
Before we get to the “how”, let’s examine some of the consequences of low employee morale:
- Decreased productivity
- Increased absenteeism
- Increased health related issues
- Employee burnout
- More accidents
- Low talent retention
- Conflict amongst employees
- Customer complaints
Disengaged employees currently cost the American economy “as much as $350 billion per year in lost productivity”. Now think about the associated costs (financial and otherwise) to your organization when employees are less productive, absent from work, sick, burned out and having more frequent accidents. Low talent retention means you are continually hiring and re-training. Conflict creates amplified tension and stress. Not taking care of your customer means that you will eventually lose them.
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If you want to increase morale in your organization, you need to create a culture of trust. In order to create trust you need to drive out fear. And this absolutely must begin at the top. The CEO and senior management team need to be the “living example” of the culture they desire, demonstrating trust and loyalty through communication, collaboration, and transparency. Employees need and want to feel valued – they want to experience their work as something meaningful and fulfilling. They need to be heard – to be given an opportunity to share their ideas and opinions and learn and grow.
Making the commitment to take accountability for developing yourself and others is one of the best investments you can make. Some may argue that business is about making a profit; and it is. But not at the expense of its people. With no people, you have no business. With no business, you have no profit. People are not a means to an end; they are a means unto themselves. Help to develop them and you will not only have happy employees; you will have a thriving business with people who have a genuine interest in helping it succeed beyond your (and their) wildest dreams.