In the community that is a small business, there are few things more insidious than low employee morale.
Low morale is contagious. It spreads and infects the whole operation— turning excitement, success, and pride into resentment, dread, and failure.
Here are 3 tips to halt the progress of low morale and help your employees, reach their full potential.
Empathize With Your Employees
When low morale starts to creep into your business, it can be easy to become resentful.
After all, you're providing them employment.
You most likely put in far more hours than they do and have a lot more work-related stress.
Why can't they be happy with what they have and just do their job? While this reaction is understandable, it is not conducive to a successful business.
Controlling employee morale is about controlling the culture of your business.
Few companies understand this better than Google. When you start to notice low morale, the first thing you should do is flip your perspective.
Put your own ego to the side and try to honestly imagine what the work environment is like from the perspective of your employees.
Encourage Open Communication
Low morale doesn't just come out of no where. It develops for a reason.
One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to combat low morale is to talk openly with your employees.
If you notice one employee at the center of the problem, talk to them—not in a disciplinary way, but with the honest intention of trying to find out what's wrong and resolving it.
Developing a culture in your business where open communication is not only tolerated, but is highly encouraged is crucial to preventing and reversing low morale.
A way to submit anonymous suggestions and quick weekly meetings are both good places to start. However you do it, ask often for feedback—and listen to it!
Perhaps the most important indicator of employee morale is how appreciated your employees feel.
If your employees don't feel appreciated they will soon become resentful and then the cancer has started.
While pay raises are a great way to show appreciation—always give raises when they are earned— they are certainly not the only way.
Discounts on the products or services your business offers are fantastic.
Taking your crew out to lunch once a month, giving out gift cards, or even showing up with donuts or pizza every so often are all ways to let your employees know that you value them.
Also, be flexible. Understanding that your employees are human beings with friends, families, and obligations outside of work does wonders for creating a culture of appreciation.
A small business is a community with a unique culture. If you create a professional culture that values empathy, open communication, and its employees then you will be well on your way to killing the cancer of low employee morale.