Saturday, April 2, 2011

Not Feeling the Love? Reclaiming Morale and Loyalty Within Your Organization

The best morale exists when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

The proverbial curtain was pulled back recently exposing the state of morale among employees and the news was not good. USA Today reported ( the findings of the 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends revealing that employee morale is at a three year low.

What makes this report even more disturbing is the revelation that most employers are “precariously unaware of the morale meltdown.” Ronald Leopold, MetLife’s vice president of U.S. business states, “Businesses are understandable focused on expenses. But they’re taking they’re eyes off the ball with the human capital issue, notably what drives employee satisfaction and loyalty.”

The study also found that fed-up workers are seeking greener professional pastures: Slightly more than one in three hope to find a new job in the next 12 months. The report states that impending exodus could wallop employers who have to pay for recruiting and training replacements, as well as deal with lost productivity as they seek personnel.

The report concludes that resignations could fall if bosses take on low-cost actions such as offering career advancement advice and thanking deserving workers, this according to Kevin Sheridan, chief engagement officer at consultant HR Solution. He adds that employees “want to know they’re reporting to someone who cares about them as a person and cares about their engagement level.”

Frank I. Fletcher said, “No man can deliver the goods if his heart is heavier than the load.” And this is the leadership challenge within many organizations today. Striking a balance between what is economically advantageous for the bottom line verses what the best thing is for the people who operate the business.

Here are three considerations for employers who care about their people. While this is not a cure-all prescription, it is a start. Here are the first steps toward reclaiming strong morale.

Listen to your people. A troubling revelation of the study was that most employers were unaware of their morale problem. This disconnect is disturbing. Within an organization this leads to two drastically different versions of corporate identity and direction.

When leadership is proactive about listening to the frontline people who make things happen, morale issues can be dealt with before they become major problems. A proactive leader will also take listening to new levels by not relying on the archaic “open door” policy.

Smart leaders will not wait until employees are so disgruntled they come to see him. By then, it is quite possibly too late. Doesn’t it make more sense to listen, respond to, and solve problems before they come through the door? This happens when leaders get out from behind the desk to get among the people and listen.

Encourage your people. As mentioned in the study, businesses took their eye off the ball as it related to human capital issues and employee satisfaction and loyalty. John Maxwell says, “You can’t move people to action unless you first move them with emotion. The heart always comes before the head.”

Encouragement is the fuel that drives your business. It is an awareness of the sacrifices your employees make because they have bought-in to the vision and purpose of the company. Encouragement is the expression of your human capital IQ; it is the sharing of common values with like- minded people who also took a risk by following you. Encourage them.

Respect your people. Herbert Casson said, “In handling men, there are three feelings a man must not possess –fear, dislike, and contempt. If he is afraid of men he cannot handle them. Neither can he influence them in his favor if he dislikes or scorns them. He must neither cringe nor sneer. He must have both self-respect and respect for others.”

Many variables come into play as it relates to strong morale or low morale within an organization. Strong leaders who listen to and encourage their people will inevitably have strong morale. Strong morale begins with mutual respect for the gifts, talents, and contributions of each team member. Loyalty is the product of leaders understanding the value of human capital.

How is your morale?

© 2011 Doug Dickerson

No comments:

Post a Comment