10 Ways to Improve Staff Morale

Businesses say they care about staff morale BUT it's not the business that has to change, it's the people...question is do they know HOW? 

Low staff morale is dangerous. High staff morale is contagious and untouchable. Ive seen workplaces implode due to managers not addressing low staff morale because they don't know how to do it or they want to avoid it and just shove the issues under the carpet! 

Most companies do not train their senior staff to handle conflict or issues therefore staff morale drops. The level of your staff morale can make or break the workplace, increase or decrease growth and shatter or build brand credibility... scary isn't it? 

Maintaining staff morale is one of the most difficult elements of managing a business regardless of size - your staff are the ambassadors of your brand. Its critical to develop strong initiatives and keep them motivated enthusiastic and have ‘purpose’ in their job role. Your business will thrive, customers and clients wont be able to get enough, people will be talking about you – all because you have enthusiastic, supportive and dedicated staff that have a passion for your business.

Here are my top 10  that will not break the bank, but will need your time and your commitment to gain and maintain a powerful strong team of brilliant brand ambassadors!

1. Consult your Staff

Be a consultative manager and ask staff for their input or suggestions, this is by far one of the most powerful tools a manager can use. Even if the ideas or comments are not always used they feel important they have contributed and more importantly you 'asked' for their input. So many senior managers think they know it all and won't consult. 

2. Train them to help them

Provide training and workshops to increase their skill set. Coordinate a half-day or full-day workshop on service skills, team building or training that relates to your business. Plus the 'bonding' they do is very beneficial to managers and the staff. Even have “Paper Bag” meetings at lunchtime a weekly one-hour session on specific topics they choose. 

3. Give them Social Media 'time"

Allow staff to spend 'time' on their social media Facebook/twitter/youtube the amount of time is at your discretion. They will appreciate your management style and its almost part of the norm in business today. We all have to get with the program and suck it up. 

4. Get out of the office with your team

Have a regular 'casual drinks or cheap and cheerful' dinner every month let them choose the venue. Its amazing how staff behave and the feedback you hear in an informal casual environment. Find out how the staff really feel about your systems and processes and what they do on the weekend!

5. Constantly communicate - be OTT

Communicate, communicate and communicate - never underestimate the power of sharing information! Staff need to know what is going on in the business, what is coming up, what the status of projects or jobs are, who is delivering them. You must communicate your expectations because they need to feel secure and comfortable with the core values and goals of the business. If managers haven’t articulated clearly and openly their expectations (which comes from the top down) they will make it up themselves and we know what can happen when they do that!!

6. Tell them how you feel - Reward them

Reward and recognition! How many times do we hear this and how many times DON’T we see it happen. How hard is it to say thanks and recognise somebody for a job well done. For over 20 years I have seen good staff leave because they feel under valued. Develop a recognition program its not the ‘prize’ they want it’s the reward of being acknowledged for doing a great job! Maybe do this at the monthly cheap and cheerful dinner.. you decide just do it!

7. Give them extra time off!

Allow them to have an extra half hour for lunch or come in half an hour later every month or two. It doesn’t have to always be prizes or money to say “I appreciate the hours you have been working” time is very precious and people value that just as much. They love working for you so they will always go over and above. Don't micro manage and let them take extra time out if they deserve it.

8. Love your environment

Provide a relaxed and comfortable environment. This includes good lighting, a relaxed informal area to chat and eat, some plants (people love green), bowls of fruit and even music if possible. Many work environments are so stiff, stuffy and clinical you are too scared to talk. I understand some workplaces have to have limitations - but human beings thrive on the 5 senses sight, smell, taste, sound and touch! Yes! that means the fake rubber plants have to go. Why not ask the staff what they would like?

9. Provide time annually for 360 feedback

Give them constant feedback. Why don't people believe this is important? I find it extraordinary - maybe they don't want to be challenged to have a one to one? Everyone needs to know how they are performing, where they stand and what their career pathway choices are. Businesses who don’t support and value staff appraisals are behind the times and not doing the right thing by their staff or their company.  If you can give regular feedback even better, but an annual or 6 month review is absolutely critical for the growth of the person and the business. There are so many templates and resources you can use. I guess its tough sometimes for managers to hear things they may not want to hear but isn't that the point of making sure you have open transparent communication. Plus you have the opportunity to give them some positive feedback give it a try. 

10. Employ the 'right' Like-Minded people that share your vision in the first place!

Appoint like-minded people that share your values and goals. If you appoint the right people in the first place then you have a better chance of growing and building your team in a positive environment.  It’s a tough gig to always select the right person – but when you get a good one hang onto them. They can be your double and educate and nurture the staff with the same enthusiasm and vision that you have. Trust support and having that strong right hand person is gold! You never know they may eventually take over your job which makes for great succession planning. 

Good Luck! 

Jennifer Trethewey

Global Change Agent - Organisational change and biz process





"You give up the right to have a bad day" in any customer facing industry

I am so proud to be Australian, but really what on earth is going on in this country? And I am not talking about the current political environment. I am talking about our total lack of care, understanding and desire to give good service and the fundamental human behaviour of just being nice to your clients and customers! Many businesses are good at it but there are more businesses in Australia that are not good and frankly many are just appalling!

How can any business in this economic climate afford not to give good service and show respect to the people who are basically paying their wages? If I approached a staff member in any customer facing business across the country and asked them “who pays your wages"? not one would say "‘you do, the customer pays my wages”.  Management does not place enough importance on the fact that repeat business is the only reason why they are in business! Imagine if they were only paid for offering an exceptional customer experience each and every time and this formed part of their KPI’s, wouldn’t we receive different service then - I mean how difficult can it really be?

The serious decline in sales within the major retail sector across Australia is not just due to the fact that they didn’t embrace online shopping years ago, it is due to the total ‘lack’ of service in any shape or form within their stores. Staff just don’t get it because management don’t get it – if management did get it then why is the delivery to us so bad?

Management need to commit to robust policy & protocols to train staff then train again, keep the momentum going and keep your middle management accountable. You are only as good as the people under you. We may hear about Apple and McDonalds Ad nauseam but just look at their service, communication, follow up and consistency - they totally get it, live, eat and breathe it!

As a proud Australian businesswoman, I  plead with corporate and government businesses around the nation to educate your staff not just HOW to do their job but WHY they would want to do it well. So that we your shareholders, your consumers, your clients can talk about it share our stories and tell everyone how we can't wait to come back to you and buy again!

“Staff give up the right to have a bad day” in your business it is non-negotiable; they must be consistent day in day out.  Your business is basically ‘selling’ its service and the product is secondary. We must train, motivate and convince staff to understand who pays their way, because it's not just how to offer excellent customer experiences its about why they should want to keep on doing it!

So to all the senior management and business owners out there who are in business – please get your act together invest in your people and make them accountable.  Tell your staff that each customer, client or guest that walks through the door contributes to their wages – if they don’t like it then maybe its time to say “How can I help you to leave?”