Managing Employee Morale in Uncertain Times

I am SO thankful that I no longer work in banking, and I truly feel for my colleagues who are still there. With all the economic turbulence these days, employees are walking on egg shells wondering about their jobs.

But fears about job security aren’t limited to the folks in financial services. These days, managers in almost all economic sectors are grappling with the question: How do you bolster employee morale and confidence when the future is so uncertain? I found some great management advice that addresses this question. According to Melcrum’s Source for Communicators, there are a number of ways you can help lift employee morale. Here are three of my favorites:

  • “Encourage people to recognize their own achievements and then to go public.”

The reality is managers are not always proactive at catching their employees doing something right. And if we have to wait for others to recognize our accomplishments, we may be waiting a long time. The Source shares a story about a manager who created this special sign for her employees to use to get her attention: “I just did something wonderful. Ask me about it!”

  • “Create small victories.”
    Since stretch goals may be overwhelming, build in progressive smaller goals that can be achieved and recognized along the way (i.e., “small wins”). This also keeps employees focused as the larger goal becomes more attainable in the long run.
  • “Prepare for the future.”
    Carve out time with staff to consider and discuss contingency planning. We spend so much time putting out office fires that we forget the importance of preventive firefighting.

2 Comments

  • Merra Lee Moffitt November 30, 2008 Reply

    Most small business owners think that they catch their employees being good, but the employees don’t agree. Make sure your compliment stands out among the noise.

  • Sona Hathi October 14, 2008 Reply

    Hi Sybil,
    Thanks, I’m pleased you thought the tips we’re useful! I also think these ideas can be used even when job security is not an issue. Like you say, managers aren’t always quick to spot accomplishments, and employee reward and recognition never goes amiss – regardless of the state of the economy. All the best.

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