The official forecast for growth in the UK economy this year has been halved. The cuts were announced at the start of George Osborne’s Budget speech this week, in which he blamed the cuts on lower-than-expected exports. Not an announcement to fill UK businesses or employees with the joys of Spring, if indeed Spring ever arrives! When the economy is stagnant and budgets are tight it is very difficult for employers not to look at cutting headcounts, freezing pay or reducing investment in training. The knock-on effect can often be a reduction in employee morale with an associated decrease in productivity.
So how can employers help to halt this downward spiral in employee morale and move the business and their employees towards a positive outcome? Here are just a few ideas:
- Find ways to make life more pleasant in general for employees. Offer flexible schedules, time off in lieu, work-from home schedules.
- Make sure your staff know they are appreciated.
- Do something spontaneous, free cakes, donuts, fruit, gift certificates or sponsor social events
- Improve the working environment – Make sure it is clean and fresh, make it more people-friendly
- Use 360 degree feedback surveys as a way to show employees that you support and encourage an atmosphere of continuous improvement and encourage communication between employees and all levels of management
- Make sure the values and ethics of the company are of those employees can take pride in. Everybody wants to work for a company they can trust and believe in
- Empower employees, nobody has a monopoly on good ideas – if you’re open to suggestions and challenges from your colleagues, your decision-making will benefit
- Change your style. Don’t be autocratic. Stop and think, You have lots of skills in the organisation, understand where they are, recognise and use them to support your business
- Demonstrate loyalty to your employees. If business starts to decline, find ways to keep employees without losing jobs. (See my previous blog – 10 Ways to Cut Costs Without Cutting Jobs)
- Promote a feeling of happiness and satisfaction in the workplace. Go out and talk to your employees. Smile. Take the time to understand their challenges, if they are not happy how can you expect them to make your customers happy?
How does your organisation engage with employees? What steps do you think organisations should take to support employee morale? I would be interested to hear.