Salary freezes, hiring freezes, travel freezes — no wonder it feels so cold in the office these days. Or maybe that’s employees’ chilly disposition.
It’s not surprising companies are struggling with major morale issues these days. Most folks are facing huge personal financial pressures and few companies are heaping big (or any) raises at all.
That may not change anytime soon. So how to you get and keep employees energized about doing their jobs?
Here are three strategies that work best in hard times:
Strategy 1: Ask them what they want — again
Hopefully when you hired each member of your finance team, you spoke with people about their career goals and aspirations, as well as what makes them tick. That may have changed — even since their last performance review.
Now’s a great time to do a new touch-base with each staffer. What’s most important to them now? More flextime? A telecommuting option? More education? Nailing that down not only helps you pinpoint what gets each staffer going, but it sends the very important message that you and your company are interested in that individual.
Strategy 2: Make sure more work also means more responsibility
It always happens when times get tight: Companies need to do more with less, so people’s job descriptions get longer. That’s inevitable.
The real trouble comes in when staffers merely feel “dumped on.” There goes morale.
Yes, there’s extra work that has to be spread among the people there to do it. The key? Increasing people’s responsibility levels so they don’t feel like it’s grunt work. Even if you have to have Marissa take on more invoice keying, see if you can also delegate some “higher level” tasks to her. Or enlist her input on how to streamline the process. Maybe you can even make her a mentor to a more junior member of your team.
That’s a proven way to reenergize folks … for free.
Strategy 3: Offer context
Of course, you can’t make everything better. The facts are the facts and times are tough all over.
That’s why offering some context can bring a boost to recession-battered morale. Two ways to do that:
- Find out where you’re ahead of the curve and pass that long. All 401(k)s are taking serious hits now, but maybe your company’s is performing better than most. That’s worth passing along. Been able to avoid layoffs when others in your industry haven’t? Call that to folks’ attention.
- Pass on a history lesson. It was only seven years ago that we were in a recession. While even the experts aren’t so sure of when we’ll come out of this one, you can share how long your company weathered the last economic storm. Often, simply not knowing causes anxiety and morale problems. A little info can go a long way to easing people’s minds.