Morale is not about false positivity or false security. It’s about being clear, communicating effectively, and reassuring people where you can to maintain productivity as much as possible and reduce the distraction caused by fear. These are key tenets to great leadership that will help you to make sure morale is built AND sustained, both now and into the future.
Checking in daily is good. It’s important to have conversations and meetings so that you know what your workers are doing, but too many meetings and calls will give people the sense that you are checking up on them. It also makes it hard for people to get their work done.
Be careful of creating restrictive rules about your need to “see” what people are doing versus giving them room to do the work. Shift your mindset to the idea that people want to do their best work.
In the workplace, we often rely on physical proximity for creating connections. Working while maintaining social distancing provides fewer of those opportunities, and people will miss them greatly. As a leader, it’s crucial that you are intentional about creating ways for people to stay connected to each other, to you, and to the work overall.
Sharing information from your organization helps people know what is going on in the company. Include stories of success, humour, and empathy in your internal communications now too. You may want to call on your Gen Z and millennial employees for their ideas on how to stay connected virtually. Give them opportunities to lead where they can.
For example, S2SA has weekly virtual group meetings, to keep updated on what everyone is doing, as well as two group chat “channels”: One for work and one for sharing cute pictures of our pets while we work remotely! Even if your organization is not working remotely, virtual meetings and workplace chat channels can help fulfill the social aspects of work while working further apart.
Given the distractions in the world, people may be struggling to stay focused. They may want to do good work but are feeling pulled toward the relentless news cycle. Be clear about your expectations.
Help employees understand what their priorities are. Either set priorities for them or ask them to send you what they see as their most important pieces of work. Agree on the priorities, being careful not to overwhelm, and set an overall time frame.
This may seem obvious, but employees often identify appreciation as lacking in organizations. This is a major contributor to poor employee engagement. Often, leaders do appreciate what their people are doing but fail to prioritize sharing it. Again, false positivity is not what is needed. Genuine, heartfelt appreciation for the work getting done and the contributions people are making is absolutely crucial right now.
Published: April 29, 2020
Picot, Lianne. “Maintaining Morale Now and Into the Future”, The Conference Board of Canada, 26 March 2020, www.conferenceboard.ca/insights/blogs/maintaining-morale-now-and-into-the-future