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Business Last Updated: Dec 26, 2012 - 8:42:57 AM


How is your morale?
By Doug Dickerson
Dec 26, 2012 - 8:41:49 AM

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The best morale exists when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy. - Dwight D. Eisenhower
Two recent studies have put the spotlight back on employee-employer relations and more specifically the issue of performance and morale. The two separate reports combine to give us a snapshot of some very revealing issues all leaders need to be mindful in the run up to 2013.
First is the release of the 10th Anniversary edition of MetLife’s annual study of Employee Benefits Trends. A key finding this year is that 60 percent of surveyed employers recognize the precarious economic climate, rather than reducing business focus on employee benefits, actually creates opportunity for benefits to drive human capital. In addition, the Study found employees are less committed to employers, but at the same time, highly dependent on their workplace benefits.
The second was a survey released by Manpower Group’s own Right Management, which revealed that an unprecedented 86 percent of U.S. employees say they intend to look for a new job in 2013. Only 5 percent say they intend to stay in the current position.  Driving this sentiment is booming stress, flight cognition, and the continuous job hunt. This could also be attributed in part to another survey they conducted which revealed that only 12 percent of companies have a fully implemented talent management strategy in place.
Awareness of these new studies should cause you to take pause and reflect on how you are closing this year and what changes you might want to consider in the next. Because you care about your people, here are three simple considerations to help you build morale in your organization. It is not a complete list but it is a start.
Listen to your people. A troubling trend is that most employers are not even aware they have morale problems. This disconnect is disturbing and if not dealt with it can far- reaching consequences. If the disconnect lingers within your organization it will lead to two drastically different interpretations of your corporate identity and direction. Neither outcome will have a happy ending.
As a leader, when you are proactive in listening to your frontline people who are the face of your brand then morale issues can be dealt with swiftly. Smart leaders have their finger on the pulse of the organization and can make better decisions. This happens when you get out from behind your desk and listen to your people.
Encourage your people. The studies reveal that businesses that took their eye off the ball as it relates to human capital issues had employee satisfaction and loyalty problems. When your people know that you believe in them and know they are empowered to do their job, the level of success they can achieve is limitless. And this is where the heart of the leader becomes the tipping point that moves your organization to a more relational and engaged one.
Encouragement is the fuel that energies your business. It is an awareness of the sacrifices your employees make because they have bought-in to the vision and purpose of your company. Encouragement is the expression of your human capital IQ; it is the sharing of common values with like- minded people who also took a risk by following you. Encourage your team!
Respect your people. Herbert Casson said, “In handling men, there are three feelings a man must not possess –fear, dislike, and contempt. If he is afraid of men he cannot handle them. Neither can he influence them in his favor if he dislikes or scorns them. He must neither cringe nor sneer. He must have both self-respect and respect for others.” When team members feel valued, respected, and included it goes a long way in creating a positive work environment.
Many variables come into play as it relates to morale within your organization. When you listen to and encourage your people you will inevitably develop strong morale. Building morale begins with respect for the gifts, talents, and contributions of all the members of your team. Your commitment should be to make it a priority.
How is your morale?

Doug Dickerson is a nationally recognized leadership speaker and columnist. A Lowcountry resident, Doug is available to speak for your business or organization. Visit www.dougsmanagementmoment.blogspot.com for more information.
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