5 Ways to Shatter Employee Morale

07.14.22Baylee Davies

5 Ways to Shatter Employee Morale

You’ve just hired employee #11. We’ll call them Eleven for now. They are a solid, bright candidate with a brilliant future ahead. Great references, engaging, prompt, and motivated, but best of all, they exude joy for the opportunity to be on your team! Bingo. Slot Eleven into place and they should chug right along. Right?   

Fast forward a few months. Eleven’s passion is fading. Their motivation seems to have fled and while their work ethic is intact, their spark is gone. Was this a bad hire? Did we hire too quickly? Was Eleven exceptionally good at pulling the wool over your eyes?

Let’s examine some ways that morale can be destroyed and ideas to rebuild it:

1. Disconnected HR

Human Resources. A mention of HR oftentimes strikes fear or defensiveness in employees. In a recent SDHRC consultant poll on what is the most common disconnect between HR and employees, several statements stood out:

“HR leadership is perceived as either being on the side of management or being on the side of employees instead of being viewed as being on everyone’s side.”

“A big issue is if the HR person only views themselves as a protector of the company.”

“Employees often see HR leadership in a negative light, I.E., the “principal’s office”.

Here are some ways to mitigate this breakdown and bring the human aspect to the forefront. Open door policies, get-to-know-you lunches, virtual ice-breaker events or in-person team events that provide the human equalization view needed to start the change. But most of all, remember to have compassion and understanding as you walk through the disconnect repair process.

2. No performance management

Where are my goals? What is my focus? Why don’t I feel successful? While things like surveys are helpful, creating a plan to assist employees in identifying their long-term goals, providing a road map for growth plans, clear and consistent communication, along with scheduled 1:1’s, are a few ways to make your employees feel secure and thrive in their role.

3. Not valuing work/life balance

Our employee, Eleven, has been working diligently at their new job and quickly proved themselves to be a reliable and honest individual. Due to a schedule change, they’ve requested to work from home two days per week. While this request is within company policies, their manager begins to micro-manage. Eleven feels as though they’ve proven their competency but starts to doubt themselves and after a while, looks for a new job. How could this have been prevented? When an environment of confidence and trust is valued within a company, it will attract the like-minded and positively affect an employee’s output and interactions with customers and clients. Focus on getting to know your employees. What motivates them and how to most effectively use that motivation, can help create growth and loyalty.

4. Unclear or confusing communication

Differing or faltering communication can quickly cause discouragement and exasperation, leading to chaos or low productivity. Ensure you have an internal communicator that relays the same information to all employees. Frequently meet with your managers and their team to pulse check on how information is being relayed, how free employees feel to ask for clarification and find out what method of communication is most impactful to them.

5. No praise or recognition

Eleven is still a loyal and talented employee. However, since starting to work from home, the encouragement and accolades have decreased. Eleven shines when they are praised and publicly recognized! A few items to consider: During new hire orientation, include a brief survey covering how this new employee prefers to be recognized. Is it verbal praise, private congratulations or do monetary incentives do the trick? There are several great platforms that encourage team accolades and virtual ‘high 5’s’. In our employee poll, one company used a point system for those who recognized others and those points were able to be turned into gift cards and company merchandise.

Merriam-Webster defines ‘morale’ as the mental and emotional condition of enthusiasm, confidence and loyalty of an individual or group. Classic trademarks of a great employee! As employees, we are the highest functioning when goals are clear, we have an advocate, defined roadmaps are in place for success and our communication style is met.

How SDHRC Can Help!

At SDHR Consulting, we have many additional tips and tricks up our sleeves to improve morale and help keep employees engaged. Contact us at info@sdhrconsulting.com or 888-220-9286 to learn more.

About the Author

Lori Jolly, Recruiter

Lori brings more than 15 years of IT recruiting background in corporate and staffing agencies with a focus on placing qualified technical candidates in individual contributor roles and team member roles.