Don’t Put Window Dressing on Low Morale

Clients sometimes share with me how their employees are feeling dispirited, demoralized, frustrated and even downright angry.   So what’s the solution?


A staff barbecue!

A party!

A heath and wellness day to show the staff we care!

An employee appreciation event!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge believer and supporter of traditions, rituals, parties and social events in the workplace – they are key ways to build trust, maintain morale, create a sense of shared history, reduce stress and give employees something to look forward to and reminisce about.

But, and it’s a big but, if your employees really ARE  feeling angry, ignored and frustrated, then it better not be the only thing you do, otherwise you are merely window decorating and doing nothing to address the real issues.

So if employees are feeling angry and frustrated, I’d strongly suggest you take the following questions to heart:

1.  Do they deserve to feel angry and frustrated?

2.  Has senior management acknowledged their concerns in a genuine way?

3.  Has senior management empathized with the employees in a sincere way?

4. Have employees been given opportunities for real dialogue (rather than just talking at them)?

5. Has anyone, gulp, actually considered apologizing to them?

Stories of truly dysfunctional workplaces abound, and what always staggers me about some of these stories is how out of touch the management team is about the true level of morale in their workplace.  What also amazes me is how rarely one hears stories of anyone from senior management listening and actually apologizing to employees when an organization has gone through a period of turmoil.

So the next time you hear grumblings of low morale in your workplace, take a step back and consider the possibility as to whether there’s a valid reason for the low morale.

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