How to keep your team engaged when morale is low

With the fast-paced nature of many industries, problems in the workplace can arise at any given moment

Sometimes, changes can happen that don’t sit well with your teams, leaving members of staff feeling unmotivated, uninspired and with a negative attitude. The worst situation here is when one employee’s negative frame of mind is then passed on to others, creating low morale across the team.

As a manager, you may start to absorb the low morale around you. However, it’s important to recognize the problem and work on boosting the working environment before it can get out of hand.  After all, no one is going to enjoy a work day when the whole team is feeling demotivated.

Here are 5 ways to boost your team and keep them engaged when morale at work is low:

Talk about low morale and don’t cover it up

When things go unsaid, bigger problems can arise. Therefore, the number one rule of thumb is to approach any difficult topics and make everyone aware of them.
A successful manager is expected to become comfortable with having difficult and uncomfortable conversations that take place in the workplace. It’s never an easy task, but addressing any situations is always the best approach.

Whether something negative in the business has happened, or employees are struggling to be happy due to changes, be honest about the situation.
Either approach your team one by one or as a group and acknowledge the upset. Whatever the situation is, go in by talking about how you have personally found it, discussing any challenges and points from other teams. Be open, so they can open up too.

Sometimes, employees just want to vent but don’t feel they can – especially not to HR managers. If you give them an opportunity to be heard, it could make a huge difference.

Assist with their career growth

A happy employee tends to know where they want to go within their career, and understand the route they need to take to improve and grow. If career growth isn’t spoken about, employees can quickly become disheartened and encouraged to look elsewhere for jobs.

Some staff members may feel like they are struggling in a certain area or need further training. Others may have reached their potential in their role, and perhaps the only way for them to grow is to look at expanding their skills and progressing into another area.

Always encourage further training, no matter which category of the above they sit under. Someone who has a lot of potential to climb high in the business and reach a very senior role – or even a director level at some stage – may benefit from looking into an MBA. Some businesses can fund these for employees, whereas in others it lies in the employees hands. Make sure you look into this before having any conversations.

MBAs can be studied online, like that of the MBA course at Suffolk University Online. These are flexible enough to fit around their existing position at your company and are a great option for those who have the potential to excel in business.

If you can show that you are willing to invest in any team member’s growth and development, this gives them another bullet point or two for their resumes, which can be huge long term for their career at your company.

Praise and recognize hard work

Think about it. How does it feel to receive praise? It can literally perk up your mood in an instant, helping to bring on boosts of confidence. Assess the teams in your workplace, and think about the most and least successful teams in terms of performance. Is there any correlation between what positive and negative feedback both teams get? Those who receive praise and have their hard work recognized tend to be overall more motivated, determined and inspired.

If you can sense low morale across a team in the workplace, think about what feedback they might be exposed to regularly. If it is largely negative, try incorporating some positives to them, or comment on jobs well done by certain individuals. Try doing this for a week and see if the atmosphere lifts. Their performance will likely see immediate improvements, too.

Demonstrate loyalty to your team

One of the biggest mistakes HR managers and department managers make is to not realize that loyalty works both ways. If you treat any employees poorly, you shouldn’t be so surprised if you receive disloyal behavior in return – regardless of being a manager.

To continuously improve staff morale, you must firstly earn the loyalty of the employees around you. One of the key ways to ensure that you’re a loyal HR manager or manager in general is to make supporting and respecting your team a priority. Even when times get a little tough, remember that it may turn on you later down the line if you start to show a lack of respect. Loyalty and respect can take a while to build up but play the long game.

If a staff member talks to you in confidentiality, treat it that way. If someone is angry about a work situation and is using bad language towards you, don’t retaliate back. Show them you are loyal and respectful and, in time, you should see this reflected back to you.

Final Points

The above may be smaller things, but these can be practiced daily and the effects they have can be huge. Alongside these smaller practices, try doing one grand gesture every now and again to boost staff morale, build trust and create a team building effect.

You can take your team out for a celebratory lunch if targets have been hit, award a bonus to an employee who is particularly deserving of one, or run a weekly prize draw where the highest achievers that week get to pick a prize first.

Remember that people remember the good times more than the bad, so create some positive memories. What do you do to ensure your team maintains high morale?

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