We’re all seeing the headlines and we can’t get them out of our heads – mass layoffs at some of the biggest brands including ones who have only seen growth before. The rumblings of a recession has almost 80% of employees worried their jobs will be cut. To get through this downturn, research shows employee engagement is critical. Here’s how organizations can ensure employee morale remains high when everything seems down.
Let’s start with why morale matters in a downturn
Employees and companies have been hit with one blow after another since the pandemic started, and a downturn is the latest challenge to the workforce. With so much going on, it could be easy to ignore morale, but employee morale could be the difference between surviving and suffering in a downturn. Employee morale (how you feel about the company) is directly connected to employee engagement (how much effort an employee puts into their job). Companies with employee high engagement will be more productive in all economies. Unfortunately, only about one in three US employees are engaged. Yikes.
To reconnect with employees, managers will have to step up. Managers are the key to morale and can foster strong ties to the company. They can set clear expectations, provide support and resources, show genuine appreciation, consistent recognition, and support a culture of learning and growth. All core factors for high engagement, leading to more productivity and more profitability even when times are tough.
Managers don’t have to blow the budget to boost morale. There are actually simple and cost-effective ways to improve morale and engagement.
- Say thank you. Show employees you appreciate them by giving thanks. A thank you for completing a project or a thank you taking on extra responsibilities as the company adjusts during tumultuous times.
- Celebrate employee milestones, like work anniversaries or birthdays. Have colleagues and management sign a digital card with meaningful messages. This can be a perfect opportunity to recognize an employee’s contributions which can help keep them happy and hard working.
- Share success. Give employees and colleagues a shout out to recognize a job well done – no matter how big or small and be specific, explain how it helped contribute to the organization’s mission. Also, company accomplishments should be recognized too.
- Host virtual team building events to build stronger relationships with colleagues. This can be games over zoom or coffee breaks to bring some fun distractions during anxious times.