Balancing act: To improve morale at work, remember to communicate

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 5 2013 8:30 a.m. MST

So, how can a company improve communication and morale? The Accountemps press release about the survey offers five characteristics of low-morale organizations and how to remedy them:

• An active grapevine. When real communication is hard to get, gossip flourishes, the release indicates. “Even if you have bad news to share or don’t have all the answers, honesty is still the best policy. The more team members can rely on accurate information, the less grist they’ll have for the rumor mill.”

• Lack of initiative. Unmotivated employees don’t take “an active seat at the table,” the release says. Create an ownership environment that challenges employees to solve problems.

• Scarce rewards. Be sure to recognize employees’ efforts with “praise, low-cost awards and spot bonuses. Make rewards personal and give them as soon after an achievement as possible,” according to the release. And make sure you’re sincere, because your team will know if you’re not.

• Changes in attitude. Be on the lookout for increased negativity and absenteeism or reduced cooperation.

• Poor performance. This seems obvious, but morale problems usually become performance problems fairly quickly. If productivity is falling, it may be time to check your communication.

I like this advice. There’s nothing shocking here, but a basic commitment to open and honest communication goes a long way when it comes to building employee morale.

I’d be interested in your opinions on this, too. How important is communication to your morale at work? What are some examples from your past in which either good or bad communication affected your morale and, eventually, your team’s performance? What other tips would you offer to help managers improve communication with their teams?

Please leave a comment or send me an email, and I’ll share some of your ideas when I revisit this issue in a future column.

Email your comments to kratzbalancingact@gmail.com or post them online at deseretnews.com. Follow me on Twitter at gkratzbalancing or on Facebook on my journalist page.

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