Workplace Culture: Good Morale, In Difficult Times Too!
What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
How would you rate the morale in your business? According to Forbes, workplace (or employee) morale is "the job satisfaction, attitude, and outlook that employees have while at your business." *
It is possible to have good morale in both smooth and challenging times. At times, morale can be even higher when a team of people goes through an unusual or difficult time together. COVID would be a great example of this. There are lessons to be learned in how companies facilitated good morale during the upheaval in professional and personal lives.
As I reviewed my business over the past two years of COVID, I believe the following "Three Cs" were pivotal in having good morale in the clinic. I hope you find them helpful in your business as well!
From the beginning of COVID, regular contact was crucial for providing relevant information and supporting each other. Needing to close for a few weeks caused a significant change in people's work lives while substantial changes were happening in their personal lives. Regular communication via staff updates and Zoom meetings decreased stress as staff knew about the clinic situation, government directives, and timelines. In addition, regular communication kept them in contact with other staff, which helped promote morale while we were not physically working together.
As a follow-up to the first "C," regular communication helps to decrease conflict. Often, conflict can occur when there is a misunderstanding, an assumption, or people feel they (or their input and ideas) are not valued. However, despite best intentions, conflict can occur. It is best to have a strategy to handle conflict in a professional, healthy and effective way. This includes
Praying first: Ask God for wisdom to understand the situation and to deal with it in a way that provides a resolution that improves the situation.
Dealing with it promptly: You may find it was just a miscommunication, and dealing with it in a timely manner avoided a time of strain and ineffectiveness.
Taking time to communicate: Make sure you set a meeting time to talk with the person to have enough time to discuss it and focus on the issue and the person.
Taking time to listen: What you perceive as the issue may not be the real issue, or there may be other facts or events you need to consider. Listen well.
Treating the person with dignity and respect: Even if you disagree, you must treat people professionally and know you still value their input.
Realize it may take more time: During the first conversation, there may be details you were not aware of. Acknowledge this, learn more, and set up another time to meet.
Thank the person: Demonstrate appreciation for their input or concerns and care enough for the business to discuss it.
Demonstrating care, concern, and appreciation should be part of your company's values and embedded in how employees are treated. This will undoubtedly help when there is a conflict situation as the person will understand they are part of a supportive work environment. Take time to understand the conflict situation and the person's feelings about it.
Perhaps the conflict is based on a person making a poor decision because they are exhausted and just need time off.
Maybe a person needs to take a course on conflict management.
Perhaps a person needs to talk to a different person to clarify an issue.
Maybe they need just to know how their lack of attention to detail or being late with projects is impacting others, is not acceptable, and that you will work with them on how to improve. This demonstrates that the cause of the conflict is being addressed, and there is help for them to improve.
Every situation will be as individual as the people involved and the circumstance. Caring is all about arriving at a solution that addresses the problem and the person in a just and kind manner.
Review your communication strategy first if you feel your business's morale can be improved. Then, determine if you have a defined conflict resolution approach. Demonstrate you care and are looking for solutions that serve their needs and the needs of the business.
Have a wonderful week. God Bless!
Bonny, Christian Women at Work