Employees who are motivated and have a high morale are more efficient, miss less sick days, and save the company thousands of dollars. High morale breeds productivity and creativity, two crucial components of a successful business.
Keeping employees morale high is one of the best things any company can do for itself. It creates a sense of loyalty that is unmatched in any other way. So now the million dollar question. How does your organization boost and sustain morale?
You might be surprised to find what the answer actually is, but first let me tell you what it’s not. Trying to boost morale by doing things like giving more time off, having more meetings or team building exercises, giving out unexpected gifts like gift certificates or sporting event tickets, or even handing out raises is not the answer to improve morale.
Sure, some people will be into that kind of stuff, but the majority of people want something a little bit different. The majority of people want to communicate better with the organization and with each other. Communication improves morale much more than any other technique.
In a survey done a few years ago by a prominent business magazine, the best remedy for low morale in the opinion of a number of executives was regular communication. According to Max Mesmer, the chairman of Accountemps, “Regular communication with employees is always integral to the organization success, but it becomes especially critical during times of uncertainty.”
He goes on to say that when people are concerned about job security in the company’s well-being, updates from the top are essential. And when employees are informed, stress and anxiety levels go down while morale goes up! So communication should be number one on the list of things to do better in order to boost morale. And not just any communication, honest and personal communication.
Use Social Media
Let’s face it, whether you like it or not, most employees use social media to communicate. Whether or not your organization prohibits the use of social media during work hours is beside the point. Using social media to reach out and connect with employees is a valuable tool that your company should use, frequently.
Most employees will already be connected to some social media like Facebook or Twitter. But sadly most businesses don’t use these social media communication devices to connect with employees. The employer should set up an internal Facebook or Twitter feed for employees and since everyone is already plugged in, embracing this should not be a leap for anyone.
By appointing someone to be the social media liaison you can make the first step in the right direction. Then make sure the person is doing their best to keep everyone on the same page and as current as possible with the company happenings. Managers and executives report the social media person, and in exchange, it gets distributed it via Facebook or Twitter. Quite simple really.
One of the beautiful things of social media is it’s a 2 way communication street. Take Facebook for example. An employer could keep everyone in the Grapevine by continuously updating the company Facebook page. Employees could “like” and “comment” on posts providing valuable feedback.
Using social media as a communication device needs to become a culture within an organization for it to work. What I mean is, people need to be comfortable participating in the social experience found on these platforms to generate an open dialog.
This is done by first encouraging participation and second having a little fun. Not every Facebook update about the company needs to be serious. Some updates can be fun which encourages participation.
Other updates might be about employee recognition. Maybe somebody did a great job at something and they can get some recognition on the Facebook page. This should encourage lots of communication.
Honest and Personal Communication
For the past year we’ve been going through a very tumultuous presidential election in the United States. During that time the candidates have released attack ads against each other. Both candidates also reached out to their base and undecided voters. Much of this was done through email communication, but there was of course lots of social media work done. The sheer amount of dialog on these forums in response to a post by a candidate was staggering.
Receiving a personal email from Tagg Romney or Michelle Obama, depending on your political leanings, can make you feel special. The emails or telephone calls usually contain someone knowing your first name and past contribution history.
This personalized message makes people feel special and enhances feelings of wanting to contribute. I mean, it’s not every day that Joe Biden emails you for an extra couple of bucks and when he does you might want to help. We all know this is a mass email, but psychologically it feels very personal.
An organization is somewhat similar to this whole process. Managers or presidents and CEOs can all appeal to their employees through social media and email communication. With a little effort these communications can feel quite personalized. With even more effort direct messages can actually be completely personalized, depending on company size.
The more personal the communication the more effective it becomes. When employees feel like they’re having a conversation with management, and that there can be an open dialogue, morale boosts! Even if the message isn’t positive news, employees want to know the company strategy and be given the opportunity to be informed quickly. Not wait for a weekly meeting to get the news. This is a total morale booster.
People Make Businesses Succeed
Sometimes the difference between success and failure is a very fine line. You can’t run a company without people, and people make companies succeed. If employees are disconnected from the company morale drops way down. But on the flip-side, when communication is done well inside a company… morale soars.
So why don’t you think about using social media within the organization to improve communication? Open up a dialogue between the top execs and the most valuable piece of any company, the people who make it happen everyday. The employees.