Woah! 2017 sure has been one for the books…
Productivity shattering political debates, California wildfires leave thousands homeless, hurricanes ravage Houston, Puerto Rico, and Florida, and sexual harassment continues to rear its ugly head. Your workplace morale has probably been much, much higher.
Proactive managers and company leaders stay aware of local and global events, and how their teams are feeling. They check-in with their teams regularly by walking around the office, or by asking feedback questions via software. Of course, not all questions will elicit the same level of inquiry and depth of information from employees.
What follows is an excerpt from The Great eBook of Employee Questions Part II: Return of the Question Master. In Chapter 4, we explore how to keep workplace morale high…
Note: For some employees, personal and world events can have a deep and lasting effect on their emotional state. For advice on what to do when employees are overwhelmed by emotion, read this post.
Fun? What is that? Yes, hard work is important, but people can burnout without the 4 Rs: Rest, Relaxation, Rejuvenation, and Recreation. This is also a great way to remind employees who have had a hard week that the company supports the “life” part of their work/life balance.
Plato said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”. So if part of your intention for a work retreat is to increase team cohesion (and it should be) then you want to break up brainstorming and work sessions with laughter and low stakes team building activities. Corn Hole anyone?
Work can be overwhelming and stressful, and will always include tasks that we don’t like to perform. Why not regularly remind your employees of the good stuff that lights them up, and tasks that utilize their uniques skills and talents? (Note: If the answer to this feedback question is limited, it’s time to meet with that employee and swap tasks they enjoy for the ones they don’t.)
This may seem like a risky question, one that is inviting anger and criticism. It’s important for managers to be aware of the full breadth of employee experience, including the parts that are less than ideal for that person. Perhaps you will learn of a task that can be delegated to an employee who will enjoy it, or maybe it’s problem in the workplace that can be improved for the team or the entire company.
Could you describe a good day of work you had recently?
This taps into their memories to extract clear and specific examples of positive experiences they’ve had. Leaders should be asking this question to learn everything they can about replicating the experience so that every day looks more like it.
Marcel Schwantes, Founder/Principal, Leadership from the Core
Research by Dr. Paul White indicates that less than 10% of employees desire tangible rewards as the primary way to receive recognition in the workplace. While most people like receiving some type of gift, if it is not also accompanied by sincere words, quality time, or helping them out, the gift is viewed as superficial and disingenuous. When you find out who deserves recognition, find out how they like to be recognized.
In romantic relationships, it’s the little things that count. In work relationships, the same holds true. We can often learn the most about people personally and professionally by being aware of the small things they do — triumphs, thoughtful words, offering guidance, or even dialing up someone else’s work to 11. Find out who your employees are by seeing the little things they do to improve work product and culture.
There are two parts to this question: 1) A manager might be sourcing 360 performance feedback. They are unaware of any verbal praise that an employee may have received from a co-worker and are providing an opportunity for them to share it. 2) A manager might be overwhelmed and has forgotten if they offered praise to one of their direct reports. This is a way of saying, I haven’t forgotten about you. Tell me how you rocked it this week!
Even the most present managers are not privy to the same awareness of an employee’s outstanding work as someone else on the team with whom that employee works more closely. Crowdsourcing employee appreciation is an efficient way to discover who went above and beyond and then recognize those efforts in a way that each individual employee wants to be recognized.
What’s favorable and enjoyable is important, but meaning is vital for our sense of satisfaction at work. Daniel Pink refers to this as purpose, the sense that what we do produces something transcendent or serves something meaningful beyond ourselves.
According to Harvard Health, in positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness and employee satisfaction. So that one reframe on an employee’s experience may be the single most valuable action you can take to improve workplace morale.
While these feedback questions are specifically designed to improve employee morale at your company, the most important thing is to engage with your staff. Ask them questions, provide performance feedback, and load up on employee appreciation. How each individual feels at work matters, not just for productivity and a healthy work culture, but for the people themselves.
David is Content Manager at 15Five, lightweight performance management software that includes continuous employee feedback, OKRs, pulse surveys, 1-on-1 agendas, and peer recognition. David’s articles on talent management have appeared in TheNextWeb, TalentCulture, and Startups.co. Follow him @davidmizne.
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