TO LIFT MORALE, LEADERS AND MANAGERS MUST ‘OWN IT’!
No matter where your workforce is based, leaders and managers hold the key to employee morale. There's a multitude of methods to explore, but which ones will work for your organisation? Let's get started...
Recent stats from the Office Of National Statistics showed that 49.2% of adults in employment are working from home, and it will continue like this until it’s safe and right to change for your employees, and for your business. For some, maybe many, remote and flexible working will continue in the “new normal” of Covid-19.
No matter where your workforce is based, leaders and managers hold the key to employee morale. Of course, an organisations’ culture will have a big influence, but it’s the job of leaders and managers to engage, inspire and keep a handle on morale. Be mindful of the remote workforce, just because they are out of sight, they should never be out of mind.
The ability to sense and measure levels of morale is a skill, and an essential ingredient in the making of great leaders, it sets them apart and is especially useful when managing remote teams.
“Genius of leadership lies in the manner in which leaders see and act on their own, and their followers’ values and motivations” – Abraham Lincoln
Let’s be fair, when morale is high it’s a pretty good sign your employees enjoy working for you? This makes it more likely they’re enjoying working for the organisation too – you set the scene for your team! Not only that but it benefits everyone to keep morale high, surely? Employees with high morale are not only more enjoyable to work with, but they become amazing advocates for you and your business.
MORALE CAN BE TRICKY AND A FINE BALANCING ACT
Understanding how to address low morale is tricky.
We’re all different, every day can be different and even when we share the same experiences, we all perceive and react in different ways. Moods can change like the weather, and some days can bring all four seasons at once - morale really can shift just like that.
Low morale may affect the confidence and enthusiasm of one team member at first. Not only is that such a sad thought, but the lone employee with low morale can be tricky to spot amongst an otherwise cheery or super busy team. If you don’t catch and deal with low morale early, it can spread to the whole team, and that’s no fun for anyone.
Low morale could be due to almost anything, lack of challenges, health or wellbeing, financial problems, a difficult colleague, lack of recognition, or tools and incentives to motivate performance. Try not to take low morale personally as a manager, it won’t be particularly productive - just focus on doing the leg work to get things resolved as soon as possible.
Listen, connect and engage with your team, figure out the problem and move forward to raise morale together.
If you’ve picked up some signals and you think your remote team is having morale trouble, be proactive, dig around, get to grips with it, restore the balance and then you can start looking at raising the bar!
GET ENGAGEMENT BASICS RIGHT AND THE FUN STUFF WILL FOLLOW
Working remotely offers lots of different ways to connect and reach out to each other. Suggest the best channel for your team, keep it open and make sure the team has the confidence to use it – you can still be approachable in the remote space.
Actually, you can do almost all the things remotely to raise morale that any great leader would do for their team in any circumstances, apart from physically interact for now. Revisit best practices and create structure for your remote team.
Build relationships with your remote employees as you normally would. Have regular team meetings, catch ups and 121’s. Make personal development plans, and definitely recognise achievements and have some socials together. There’s no excuse, today's tech allows for it, you just need to get a little more creative at times – Get ways of working right and you’re halfway there.
SHOW HOW MUCH YOU APPRECIATE YOUR REMOTE EMPLOYEES
Show your gratitude and recognise the achievements of your remote team.
A little thanks goes a long way to lifting morale, but please don’t just applaud the outstanding. Recognise the different contributions of your team in different ways, in ways that recognise their efforts and personal milestones.
Send your remote employees a treat to recognise their hard work, or something to simply reassure and show that you appreciate having them onboard. This may seem a little tricky at the moment, what with Covid-19, social distancing and shops just scheduled to re-open.
Make sure the treat hits the right spot, every time and any time. Take advantage of digital gifts to benefit you and your remote workers, there’s some great deals around. eVouchers and digital rewards give you instant and flexible ways to reward and thank your remote team, plus you can make them even more personal by putting kind words and thoughtful sentiment behind them.
Digital vouchers and eCodes have been a thing for some time, right now they’re the ultimate ‘go to’ for gifting and rewarding, because they can be used both in store and online. They’re a cashless and contactless way to show you care, this makes them a popular and great way to gift and recognise at any time, also a safer way to gift as we move into a “new normal” time of Covid-19.
Online rewards have literally thousands of places and online spaces that your remote employee can access, this gives remote workers the choice to decide exactly what they need to help lift their spirits.
They might want something to go out, or stay in (sorry, a little pun intended). They might need something for health and well-being, or for the garden maybe. It’s quite possible they’ll want some DIY essentials, after looking at every nook and cracking cranny in their houses for the past however many months? Help make a tricky choice easier for you and give choice as a gift to your remote employee.
Whatever way you choose to show your appreciation, it’s safe to say gratitude is a positive behaviour that inspires empathy, kindness and generosity which leads to higher morale.
NOT convinced? Then throw a little gratitude party (workshop) with your team and find out what gratitude looks like to them. You may be surprised what comes out of it. It can highlight what we all have to be grateful for, build understanding and inspire the whole team to show more gratitude to each other in the future.
ONCE YOU’VE GOT THE BASICS, GO ON, GET creative!
Don’t make it all about work, take engagement with your team to another level and get a bit wild and wacky... if that suits your team of course.
Exchange music playlists, set up book clubs, pick a TV show or movie that you will all watch the same night, watch it over Zoom or something so you can interact together. Give tours of your homes and gardens, let each other see the environments you're working and living in. Arrange a talent night or a social painting evening, the list is endless and there’s oodles of other ideas online.
If wacky and creative isn’t your thing, simply try and inject some fun into the workplace or arrange some social time outside work hours. Having fun together and sharing personal stories takes that bond from a colleague to a friend, and friendships will lead to higher morale across the whole team.
Be inspiring and lead the way to high morale with confidence, enthusiasm, oh and definitely don’t hold back with the gratitude!
Whatever you do as a leader or manager to raise morale, make sure you ‘own it’ and do it sincerely.
tAKE THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS A MORE MOTIVATED TEAM...
If you'd like to learn more about how you can improve employee morale and motivation, or uncover the stumbling blocks that may be causing a decline in engagement for employees, we highly recommend that you download our free Employee Motivation Cheat Sheet.
This great resource will reveal all the tell-tale signs of a demotivated team and help you to improve your company culture and formulate better engagement strategies.