Four Morale Busters

Four Morale Busters

By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group

It’s no secret that companies are feeling increased pressure to do more with less these days – and this includes keeping staff inspired on a tight budget. While the economy may be improving little by little, raises and other rewards are still hard to come by at many organizations.

If you’re in a supervisory role, your attitude and interactions with your staff can have a major impact on morale. Following are four common pitfalls managers make and tips for avoiding them:

  1. Assuming they’re lucky to have a job. Your best and brightest always have options, and you want them to stay with you for the long term. Instead of adopting a “you’re lucky” posture, make sure you recognize employees for a job well done and, when possible, offer low- or no-cost incentives – tickets to an art exhibit and the time off to go, for example – to show your appreciation.
  2. Not asking for input. If your firm is facing challenges, consider assembling a formal task force to tackle these problems. By informing them of the issues – the need to expedite a project, for example – you make them stakeholders and give them the opportunity to influence the company’s success.
  3. Ignoring rumors. There’s always plenty of grist to fuel the rumor mill, but if you begin to cancel meetings, shut your door or speak in hushed tones, your staff will know something is up. And you can count on the fact that if you don’t tell them what’s going on, someone else will, and that information can easily become misconstrued. Control the message by giving it yourself. Be honest and direct when sharing news, whether good or bad, and be cognizant of your audience. How you say something is as important as what you say.
  4. Letting a lack of recognition trickle down. Many senior managers and executives would be the first to admit that they could provide a bit more positive reinforcement. No matter how busy you are, make sure your direct reports know you value their hard work and contributions. Showing your appreciation will motivate team members. As long as praise is specific, genuine and timely there’s no such thing as too much of it.

Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at