5 Workplace Practices that Destroy Employee Morale
Would you stab your toe on a wall? Would you do it on purpose?
My guess is not! But businesses are constantly doing that. With poor processes and practices, they are continuously hindering their own progress.
Here are 5 things that businesses do (or don’t do) that create a stressful working environment for their employees, leading to low performance and poor business outcomes.
1. Lack of recognition
Appreciation goes a long way in the workplace. It’s not that hard to do either. Saying a simple ‘thanks‘ face to face, or even online chat or email – if you can’t do it face to face.
It’s been shown time and time again that employees seek to be recognized for their efforts. Most managers don’t argue against recognizing employees, but most managers (and businesses) have poor practices when it comes to recognizing employees.
The way most businesses appreciate and recognize employees is through some sort of quarterly, semiannual, or yearly award that’s handed out to them for good or great work.
This is like saving all the appreciation, recognition of effort, and rewarding a child on their birthday only. You just wouldn’t do that. If you want to encourage better behaviour, discipline and effort by children, you would show them appreciation on a daily basis. You would re-enforce good behaviour every time by showing gratitude, appreciation or recognizing their effort.
I’m not saying employees should be treated like children. However, if you want to encourage good performance then managers and peers need to be generous in handing out appreciation and recognition. That means not saving it for the end of the quarter, or worse, till the end of the year.
2. Not engaging employees when undergoing change
Humans tend to be averse to change. This is true for changes occurring in the organization. Often mismanaging communication and not engaging employees during any significant change creates uncertainty for employees.
If the change is perceived to be negative, this multiplies the effect.
The most important thing you can do as a business is to engage employees as soon as possible – before decisions are even made on the underlying change. This also helps build trust, respect and better relationships throughout the organization.
The sooner employees are onboard with the change, the easier it gets to roll out the change, as well as make sure the the change is successful in achieving it’s objectives.
Engaging employees should be a part of the overall employee experience strategy regardless of when change happens. It is directly related to productivity and performance. There are several things you can do to create better employee experiences and engagement.
Make sure you follow these 8 principles for creating optimal employee experiences.
3. Micro management
Micro management is such a buzz killer. Unfortunately managers or peers that do so most likely aren’t even aware they are micromanaging.
Here’s a little story to get you thinking about micro managing:
“I’m standing in the center of a room with a blindfold on. You want me to go to the corner of the room.
Option 1: you spin me around, point me straight towards the corner of the room and tell me to walk in a dead straight line.
Option 2. You tell me to go and find the corner of the room.
Same thing right? you still get the outcome you want…. or do you? What happens when Joe comes along and puts a chair in my way?“
Micromanagement creates several issues. It undermines the abilities or capabilities of the people working under the micromanager. It alienates those employees, potentially making them hostile towards the micromanager. Micromanagement takes away a sense of responsibility and accountability, while creating a hostile response by the employee towards the micromanager.
Finally, besides the employee relationship and experience issue, micromanagement is just a poor business practice that creates bottlenecks in how information flows, or how projects are completed.
4. Restricted communication
Communication is the life blood of an organization. EXCELLENT communication is what separates a great company from a good one. And a GOOD communication is what separates a good company from a bad one!
Making sure the employees are communicated to in a timely and effective manner is essential to creating and boosting employee morale. A lack of communication creates a whole host of issues. Some of these include:
- Mistrust between employees and managers
- Broken flow of information
- Reduced ability to perform day-to-day tasks
- Projects delayed or exceed budget
- In ability for business to motivate employees
- Poor customer experience
- In ability to create proper employee experience
- Creates silos or bottlenecks
- Creates uncertainty
5. Lack of career development opportunities
Lack of development opportunities is another surefire way to kill employee morale. No one likes the idea of working in a ‘dead end job’.
How do you motivate employees to remain engaged when they do not see any growth prospects at your company? Unless you give them significant reasons to stay at your company, then you will have trouble not only boosting morale, but retaining staff also.
Understandably it is harder for smaller organizations with limited roles and limited scope for changing job titles.
A promotion and changing job-title is obviously nice, but if the organization . However, development does not necessarily need to be a promotion or change in job title. Development can include training and up-skilling so employees are challenged and capable to take on more or different responsibilities.
By providing more training and up-skilling employees are able to offer more value to an organization. This helps boos employee engagement and morale.
What’s worse than low morale? Stress. Are you creating stressed out employees?
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