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Boosting Morale by Empowering Workers

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Company morale is essential to productivity and success. A new article, however, suggests ways you might be destroying people’s spirits without realizing it.

As part of the Refresh Leadership blog, the piece warned about three problem areas:

By Fostering an Environment of Anonymity
Companies that stick to all work and no play could be fostering an environment where anonymity – when an employee feels that no one sees or cares about them at work – thrives. And that can make for miserable employees.

People want – and need – to be treated like people, all the time. That means employees need to genuinely know they’re heard, understood, and accepted at work. According to Patrick Lencioni, author of The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, solving the problem of anonymity is key to fostering fulfilled, valuable, passionate, and engaged employees. “People who see themselves as invisible, generic, or anonymous cannot love their jobs, no matter what they are doing,” Lencioni says.

By Failing to Convey Job Purpose
Studies show that money can’t buy happiness. Having a sense of purpose on the other hand, can have an impact on how happy we feel. Employees who understand their purpose at work and why it’s meaningful are often more engaged, motivated, and happy.

By Missing Autonomy at Work
A report by the Society for Human Resource Management found that autonomy – or the freedom to make choices in the workplace – had significant correlations with work satisfaction, commitment, retention, and low burnout. Other studies have found that those who feel they have the ability to make decisions and be accountable for them at work are happier and more productive.

These might sound like no-brainers, but it’s actually pretty easy to create a workplace where people have no sense of individual identity, no clear understanding of their job purpose, and feel that they lack independence.

The blog post does provide some good pointers for how to address these issues. However, we at AccelaWork feel that there’s one action an employer can take that tackles all three and more. Ask an employee to select a process they’d like to improve, and then suggest they take ownership of positively transforming that workflow.

employee productivity and morale

© Flickr user USACE Europe District

This isn’t simply a cop-out for you to not have to solve the issue. Rather, it’s a method that should produce the best results for everyone. When stakeholders are actually empowered to do work, they feel like real people, not just numbers. When they have an assignment that has true significance to the organization, they feel a sense of purpose. And when employees have ownership, they don’t need direction. They become leaders all their own. Plus, there’s a good chance that if a stakeholder has a problem with a process, they may have an idea or two on how to best fix that problem as well!

Think about all the best companies to work for, either those where you’ve worked or those you’ve heard about. What are the common trends that tie them together? There’s probably a solid sense of purpose, a personal touch that makes employees feel involved, and plenty of autonomy. If your organization doesn’t have those three things, then it’s time to take a long look in the mirror to figure out why you don’t feel you’re able to implement such practices. If after reviewing your process, you still feel like bringing those three things to the forefront isn’t possible, then it may be time for some realignment within your company. Because if morale isn’t high, then there’s no way success can be as high as you’d like.

Don’t settle for mediocrity. Improve morale at your company in order to go from good to great. Talk to experts in employee engagement and process improvement. Don’t hesitate to contact our business productivity consultants today!

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