A recent survey by US staffing agency, Accountemps found that one third of HR managers cited communication issues as the main cause of staff morale issues.
Communication was also the most popular solution to the problem of low morale, with 38% of managers stating that communication, over monetary and other rewards, was the best remedy to poor morale at work.
It’s easy to turn to incentives such as days off, recognition programs and monetary bonuses in an attempt to boost staff morale, but if there is a fundamental lack of clear communication between managers and staff, these quick fixes are unlikely to have any long term effect on staff attitudes.
Employees like to feel that their superiors are honest and transparent and that they are kept in the loop in terms of the overall plans of the company. This is particularly important in the recent tough economic times, when threats of redundancy and water-cooler gossip has the potential to be incredibly damaging to staff morale.
The need of a good communication system
Good companies not only need to recognise that an effective top-down communication system should be in place to pass information from senior staff to employees; but also realise that every team member may have an important contribution to the company, however low-level their position, and must be given adequate opportunity to express this.
Managers need to be approachable and be willing to listen to employees as well as enabling the sharing of information across the team. It is important that every team-member’s voice is heard and that effective systems are in place to enable this, whether it is through staff meetings, focus groups, emails, company intranet or an open-door policy for senior staff members.
Why money doesn’t have an effect on staff morale
Rewards can be nice but it is important not to rely on them as a way to improve morale. Rather money should be used scarcely as a way of thanking employees, rather than relied on as an alternative to building a strong culture of clear and transparent communication.
Indeed, there’s evidence that money doesn’t motivate employees in the way many of us may assume and in some cases, offering bonuses can actually have a detrimental effect on performance.
The ability to communicate effectively should be an integral part of any manager’s skill set, but communication skills do not come naturally to everyone. Luckily, this is something that training can help with and we put communication at the centre of everything we teach in our training sessions.