Sales are slow. Layoffs are looming. Hours are being cut back. How do you maintain employee morale in a difficult economy?

When the boss is stressed, everyone feels the tension. Maintaining employee morale is like walking a fine line. You have to convey the seriousness of everyone doing all they can to keep the business moving forward, however it is also imperative that you not create an air of uncertainty about the future of the company.

Many business owners and managers discount the importance of employee morale because they feel that employees are being paid a wage and should carry out the duties associated with that wage. If only it were that easy.

Keeping your employees happy is as important as keeping your customers happy. When your employees are happy, they give your customers better customer service which makes the customer happy.

Here are some ways to create a happy work force.

  • Communication is key. When all of your team members are on the same page, there is less gossip to pass. Everyone wants to be informed about what is going on in the company. If you have news, it is best to draft a memo and give everyone a copy or give everyone the news at one time with the opportunity to ask questions. However, if you only tell one person, it is inevitable that they will tell someone else and by the time the news spreads it may have evolved to a half truth.
  • Always be positive. As a business owner you will constantly be faced with challenges and obstacles as you build your business. Your employees should not have to share your burdens. This is a primary contributor to that air of uncertainty. The employees may not understand that struggles will come but you are determined to persevere, rather they may take your complaining as a sign of you throwing in the towel.
  • Show your employees that they are appreciated. This doesn’t always come in the form of financial compensation (even though it is the preferred method) but sometimes people just want to know that they are doing a good job or that you appreciate their contribution to the company. This is especially important when you can’t afford to pay your workers as much as they deserve. If you have a small staff, consider buying them lunch once a month. A couple of pizzas is a lot cheaper than high turnover.
  • Create a comfortable working environment and encourage employees to personalize their work area. If the employees don’t have individual work stations, consider creating a lounge area where they can relax when they take a break.
  • Finally, always resolve interoffice conflict immediately. Although you may think such matters should be handled between the parties involved, interoffice conflict is toxic. It will not only destroy your employee morale, it will also force some employees to take sides and polarize your entire workforce. This is a more distraction from their assigned task. If they are focused on infighting, they are not focused on your company. It is to your advantage to get involved and send the message that such behavior will not be tolerated.

Leave me a comment and share how you keep your employees happy.