The most successful companies are the ones whose managers understand that employee morale affects the bottom line, either positively or negatively. Employees who are not happy in their jobs aren’t going to put forth their best effort, and finding ways to keep his team motivated is a major part of any manager’s job. The corporate culture must be one where employees feel valued as individuals and that their job duties are an important part of the company’s long-term growth and success. There are many variables that contribute to workplace morale, and these factors must be addressed in ways that will create a workplace environment that increases employee efforts and their long-term commitment to the success of the company.
Each individual employee’s perception of his job and the company he/she works for has an impact on his/her morale and job performance. If an employee perceives the management style as unethical in business practices or unfair in dealing with employees, it will create a negative perception of the company. Employees who have negative feelings about their job will not be inclined to put forth their best effort and will probably make a minimum effort, perhaps just enough to keep their jobs.
Conversely, employees with a positive perception of their workplace environment are more likely to be committed to helping the company grow. They will put forth their best effort, and even go above and beyond the call of duty, doing more than is required of them. For example, an employee with a negative perception of their workplace will be ready to leave for the day as soon as work hours are over. An employee who has a positive perception may look forward to going home, yet willingly will remain a few minutes after working hours to wrap up an important task.
Empowering employees to make decisions that concern their jobs will increase their positive perception of their workplace. This may mean that employees will need training in decision-making skills so that the decisions they make will be the right one. Empowering employees can mean restructuring the existing chain of command. Managers should assume a guiding role, making sure that their employees have the training and tools they need to perform well. Employees who have the skills and tools to do their jobs well, and are allowed to make autonomous decisions, will be happier at their jobs. This is a strategy that requires mutual trust between managers and employees, and time to analyze each individual employee’s abilities and provide them with training they need.
Of course, it would be chaos if all managers gave up all authority at once! As mutual trust develops, managers must learn to delegate authority to employees who are capable of making wise decisions. As employees’ skills are evaluated, those that need additional training to improve should be offered the training they need to be successful. Those who already have excellent skills should be given the responsibility of making their own decisions, and being answerable for those decisions. Employees who have less-than-adequate decision-making skills of their own should be encouraged to consult with their manager on decisions that affect their job responsibilities.
Specific, Realistic, and Challenging Goals
Every organization has a goal, or many, but the goal of every business is to thrive. This is only possible when team members have committed themselves to the success of the company and feel like their contributions matter. Many employees fall short of their goals because they are being held up to unrealistic expectations or are not receiving the recognition they deserve for their efforts. They become frustrated and soon stop trying very hard to succeed. They become stressed-out and their morale hits bottom. Goals should not be impossible or overwhelming. Motivating by giving employees specific, challenging goals and helping them succeed positively affects their work performance and perception of the company. An effective motivational strategy is to let employees have a say in creating challenging goals and giving them individual performance objectives. The strategy of managing by objective creates realistic goals that can be met by using able resources. This builds their self-esteem and confidence, and boosts their morale.
Simply put, happy employees contribute to the success of the company, and unhappy employees will do the bare minimum to keep their jobs. Creating a workplace environment where employees feel valued and gladly work toward attainable goals is the key to building loyalty and commitment toward the organization.
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