How would you answer the following questions about your organization?
- Are your employees happy?
- When leaders walk in a room, do employees catch their eye and say hello?
- Are employees eager to speak with the CEO?
- Is there laughter?
- Are there interactions, small groups meeting and employees having animated conversations?
- Does the leader know people by name?
- How does the environment look?
- Are people proud of their work areas?
These questions are critical and can determine your organization’s voltage level. If you answered yes to all of these questions, no doubt your organization experiences a level of electricity, engagement and excitement that other organizations can only envy. Alternately, if you answered no to any of the above questions, your organization’s voltage, or employee morale, could be low. Low voltage is indicative of disengaged, unhappy and even angry employees. Voltage is one of the most important predictive performance barometers a company can use in managing the work community.
Providing opportunities for the staff to express their feelings and perceptions about the company in the form of surveys or assessments often creates voltage. Receiving staff feedback can be uncomfortable for leadership. However, it’s a critical component in creating a culture where employees feel valued, listened to and respected.
Staff morale and staff voltage are the responsibility of every manager in an organization and it begins at the top. To illustrate just how critical this responsibility is, a recent Gallup poll found that 71% of employees are actively disengaged and 53% are just plain unhappy. Inept leaders and managers who fail to do their job create the majority of issues surrounding low employee morale.
The reality is that most people spend more time interacting with people in their work environment than they do with their families. That makes the success of a work community a high priority for any business leader. Numbers and studies now support the belief that when people feel good about their job, about their manager and about the work itself, they are more productive. Having employees that are more productive means better results, higher margins, better performance and more satisfied customers and clients.
Unhappy or disengaged employees have a negative impact on every aspect of your business. Exceptional employees dislike working with them and question the reason management keeps these employees on staff. Customers will encounter a disengaged employee at some time. That encounter will be remembered, and passed along, more than any other.
To help maintain strong staff morale and high voltage, leadership should explore the following concepts on a regular basis:
- Ensure employees are recognized for their contributions
- Set up monthly company meetings to share stories of success, ideas for improvements and customer experiences. Make sure to put effort into making these meetings enjoyable.
- Solicit feedback from employees regarding what they prefer in terms of employee recognition and initiatives. Be sure to build in follow-up!
- Ensure accountability is part of your culture
By being proactive in creating a culture where employees feel valued; where employees know their ideas count; where employees feel empowered to make decisions that contribute to the well-being of the organization – a business leader is allowing the company the opportunity to not just survive, but thrive and create maximum voltage.