One of the goals of any leader is the ability to improve morale. But how do you do that in difficult times? How do you make members of the team feel appreciated and optimistic about the future when raises are minimal or nonexistent and budgets are tight?
COVID-19 has also contributed to increases in anxiety, stress and uncertainty. Letting others know that they are valued can not only improve their personal life but their productivity and morale at work too.
Invest In People
Challenges to morale tend to increase when people feel unappreciated or sense that their contributions do not matter. Difficult times mean that leaders often need to redouble their efforts at recognizing groups and individuals. Take time at meetings to single out those who have gone the extra mile.
Explore Alternative Rewards
Although financial challenges frequently make it impossible to reward employees through raises or bonuses, it sometimes becomes possible to find other ways to acknowledge the high quality of an employee’s work. Upgrading an employee’s work devices or investing in education/training opportunities can often make their work easier, more enjoyable and more productive. Funding a workshop or conference can allow the person to enjoy a brief respite from daily responsibilities on the job.
If no other alternative is possible, consider whether you can relieve someone of a duty that the person finds particularly unpleasant. Also, ensure sure that each team member is taking on responsibility evenly and that no one person is being asked to put in more hours or generate more work or reports than others.
Communicate Frequently & Openly
It can be tempting for leaders to immerse themselves in addressing problems during difficult times, spending every minute of every day working on the challenges rather than devoting time to public meetings and informational sessions. But members of the staff need more information during a tough time, not less. When people do not have access to clear and accurate information about what is going on around them, they yield to fears that are almost always worse than reality.
During difficult times, therefore, it may be necessary to hold more regular status meetings, weekly email announcements to be sent daily, and additional efforts to be made so that all communication is open and transparent.
Stress management is key in the midst of our busy lives. Remind your team that work/life balance matters! Small things, like a weekly dinner out with family, can sometimes make all the difference!
Behavioral Health Systems is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 800-245-1150. With a robust network of providers, BHS is able to provide care tailored to your specific needs.