An open letter from Glenn Stearns, CEO of Kind Lending
In honor of Halloween, this week’s letter will chill you to the bone:
You’re working late one evening in your office. The clacking of your keyboard competes with the heavy rainfall outside your window as you fill one last spreadsheet. Suddenly, thunder crashes and the lights go out. After a moment in the dark, lit only by the pale glow of your laptop monitor, the fluorescents flick back on as the backup generator kicks in. Just as you’re settling back into your routine you hear a blood curdling scream from the breakroom. You rush in to find a member of the cleaning crew scared out of his mind, and laying on the ground before you is…
Your Office Morale!
Cue dramatic music.
So light your pipes, underdogs, and put on your checkered sleuthing hats because we’re going to solve the mystery of who killed your workplace morale.
It’s a staple in every workplace: office morale is what keeps employees happy, and productivity up.
Having a weak or non-existent workplace morale is a major problem. In a 2018 study by Gallup, employee engagement across the United States was only 34% percent!
According to those conducting the study, engaged employees are involved in, enthusiastic, and committed to their work and workplace. That means that TWO THIRDS of Americans aren’t!
Now if you’re still saying, “Glenn, you old worrywart. Why should I waste my valuable time trying to solve a problem I’m not even sure I have?”
Well, if you’re still not convinced, here’s a few more statistics from that same study that should light a fire under your ass.
First, organizations that are the best at engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth over FOUR times higher than their competition. Additionally, businesses in the top quartile of engagement achieve better productivity, higher customer engagement, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
To help you along your way, I've rounded up three of the most common suspects in cases of low to nonexistent office morale. I’ll give each a brief description and a potential solution, but it’s up to you to track down leads and follow the clues in your own workplace to uncover what really killed your office morale.
Suspect 1: Poor Management
In my experience, when I find that multiple team members who share a manager are disengaged, I begin to look at how effective their supervisor is.
One of the most common causes of low workplace morale, I’ve found, is bad management.
Promoting people based on their personal performance is all well and good, but where many workplaces fail is failing to realize that personal performance does not mean they’ll perform well when leading others.
Making sure that your managers are all competent and trained in effective leadership is the best way to resurrect your dead office morale and get that productivity back up.
Suspect 2: Feelings of Disconnection/Unimportance
We all know what it’s like to get lost in the shuffle. Many of us have worked for larger companies in the past that fail to show you the importance of your role and how it works in the larger picture.
Employees who don’t feel connected to their company’s big picture goals are more likely to feel disconnected from their workplace. Feeling unimportant, or not knowing where you fit in is detrimental to employee engagement, as well as their happiness both inside and outside of work.
Fixing this is tough, but as seen earlier, the results are well worth it. Take the time to make your team members feel important and you’ll be rewarded in the long run.
Suspect 3: Stagnation
Especially for underdogs (like the ones reading this article) stagnation can be a real morale killer. We’re hardwired to keep pushing and never stop climbing, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our morale suffers when we feel like there’s no potential for upwards mobility.
In my experience, the most driven, engaged, and productive employees are the ones who are only passing through on their way to bigger and better things. Ambition, the desire to keep growing, is what keeps them going.
Make sure your employees are always presented with the opportunity to improve themselves and learn new skills. Even if they don’t always take you up on the offer, having the room to grow will keep them from feeling stagnant and becoming disconnected.
Now that I’ve started you on your investigations, it’s time to take this knowledge into your own workplace.
Sleuth on, underdogs!