So many people have amazing job descriptions, get paid a generous salary and have such flexible working hours but are still miserable in their job roles and can’t wait to get out. Everybody has their tough days – where all you want to do, is shut that day away in a filing cabinet and never have to revisit it again. But in reality, we all know we have to face those issues and just toughen up and get it sorted.
But what happens when those issues are roadblocks instilled by the very company that you work for?
Bad morale within staff can be toxic and decrease productivity and generate high turnover of staff; so how and what should leaders and managers of a company do to minimise low morale within staff? No – it does not mean you chuck a huge party with unlimited beverages and fancy ribbon sandwiches – instead, it’s understanding what very factors increase morale for the long term.
I want to touch on one particular way to boost employee morale and that is to empower staff members in their roles. Empowering staff is a whole subject on its own, so I wanted to outline the concept of empowerment and how this very concept actually boosts employee morale.
The first and foremost important aspect that we need to understand about empowering staff members is that it does not mean that you delegate more duties, responsibilities and authority to the employee without providing the required skills and knowledge to succeed. For a staff member, being delegated more responsibility and authority without the correct knowledge or avenues to obtain those skills to perform those tasks can end up creating more stress and frustrations and in turn, create a dissatisfaction with their new responsibilities.
The true meaning of employee empowerment is when the employee has the fabrics of success to complete those tasks – feeling competent in those tasks, have justified meaning in those tasks and most importantly, have the self-determination that they are capable in their new duties in their role.
So what are these fabrics of success to complete those tasks you may ask?
1. Involve Employees in the decision making process:
Employees that are actively invited to be involved in the key decisions that affect themselves, the company and the forward progression of strategies to improve business all seem to have great morale within their job role. The most distinctive factor of empowering staff by involving them in the decision making process is the strengthening of the relationship between the company and the employee. It instills confidence and trust that a company and its leaders has in their own employees. When an employee understands that their inputs toward decisions that affects the company beneficially, the employee learns to appreciate and value their position within the company.
Employees that are asked to provide input towards decision making are excellent at providing a different perspective or an aspect of a solution that may not have been thought of before. Managers and leaders may have certain agendas that affect their decision making process due to being overly narrow and focused; this can be challenged with the involvement of ‘fresh eyes’.
2. Involve Employees in the planning process:
When there are plans and goals that need to be attained that affects an employee’s job function, a way to increase their morale within the company is to entrust them by involving them in the planning process. Involving them in strategic planning not only allows them to feel that they are contributing towards a process that affects their role greatly, but provides employees with a true understanding at how complex functions are in a job role. It allows employees to appreciate the labourious task of planning and to provide their valuable input to what they know currently works but also to share their ‘out of the box’ contribution towards planning.
The planning process is largely responsible of the appointed decisions eventually made – by including staff members in this process, it provides the employee the true empowerment of the OVERALL process to the end result – a strategic decision. Below is a snapshot on the basic elements of strategic planning:
3. Provide Positive Feedback:
No one disapproves being positively reinforced for the actions they take. Surprise, surprise – employees are no different. Leaders providing positive feedback steer their focus from the negative or wrong things that employees are doing; instead, they are more focused on the positive actions. Employees understand that if there is some sort of incentive (for example – job satisfaction, recognition and feeling empowered) for performing in a positive manner – supported by the positive reinforcement given by their leader, usually leads in continuation of that positive manner.
Positive feedback needs to be given when it’s deserved. It also needs to be specific and not a general “You’re such a loyal worker”. An example of valuable positive feedback is responding to an extraordinary task completed by an employee, for example: “Employee X, well done on growing 12% from last year with Customer Y; a great reflection on your relationship”. Addressing an issue can also include positive reinforcement, and can result in faster resolutions, if used correctly. An example of this is “Employee X, I really appreciate the extra hours you had put into the proposal for Company Y’s tender, but next time, can you please ensure that also put away time to complete and submit your weekly call report in a more timely manner”.
4. Provide Continual Support and Training:
There is nothing more frustrating for an employee than when a leader or manager just does not follow through with training or support to an identified issue. It isn’t enough for managers to just give an employee a pat on the back and tell them ‘how valuable’ they are and that is it. Empowering staff involves giving them all the support they require from their managers. Usually supporting a subordinate comes int eh form of training. the type of training that should be offered and shared with employees are valuable skills to arms them with the very tools to conduct their job functions successfully. Providing training to an employee that seeks new skills, or wish to refine their current skills, allows them to feel valuable to the company their work for.
Every manager should take into consideration on what training should be provided; if their team is a sales team that require to do presentations, then perhaps a refresher on presentation skills should be offered to employees to keep them up to date with new ways in presenting to their clients.
Or if a young employee wishes to start an eventual progress in their career into a more management position, it might be ideal for their manager to organise a business mentor, that will provide objectives and goals for that employee to strive for- increasing their skills into that desired management position.
Above are very basic four empowerment points in how managers and leaders can boost the moral of their staff. Employees are the bloodlines of companies, the cogs that drive the ‘machine’, usually the ones responsible in just making the whole thing work. But a machine cannot run on cogs alone, they require ignition, drive and power – much like how managers in companies are required to ignite, drive and designate the power to make a company work successfully.