How to build morale in difficult times: Help yourself and your employees to cope up

Even if we don’t find ourselves in a recession, if you take the actions listed below, you will have a more inspired, committed, and higher performing workforce. Strong morale is never a luxury item; it’s always an essential. And that’s especially true today. Companies that can sustain employee morale while coronavirus disrupts their business will be better off than those who watch it vanish.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. 

Ambiguity – i.e. “not knowing” – makes most people anxious.  The less your employees know about what’s going on, the more likely they are to assume the worse. Research on stress and resilience shows that the more someone knows about a difficult situation, and what will happen next – even if its bad news – the less stress they feel. Thus, during difficult and uncertain times, amp up your communication.

Tell stories about the great things you and your employees are doing.

Decades of research on trauma and resilience have shown that when people feel their lives have meaning and purpose, they have a far greater capacity to deal with traumatic events and difficult times. Inspired people – people ignited by a worthy cause – rise above challenges.

Celebrate wins

Although this could be a sub-category under the last item, it gets its own listing because it combines the human need for meaning and purpose and the need to experience mastery. The good feelings that come from success are an antidote to fear. Nothing boosts spirits and strengthens determination like succeeding at something. During difficult times, your employees can easily slip into a “Loser Mentality” of doom and gloom and “nothing is going right.”

Help your employees develop self-efficacy

Self-efficacy – the belief that we’re effective – plays a huge role in a person’s ability to handle difficulties without getting stressed. Furthermore, the greater our self-efficacy, the more we enjoy being challenged. Consider the difference between a first time downhill skier and an expert. While the novice might find the Bunny Slop challenging and even scary, the expert finds the expert runs invigorating. 

Building self-efficacy is like strength training: you grow stronger though appropriate levels of challenge. You can help your employees develop their “self-efficacy muscles” by:

  • Providing them with the tools, resources, and training to do their jobs well, so they can feel the “thrill of victory, rather than the agony of defeat”.
  • Giving them stretch goals and assignments that challenge them.
  • Giving them opportunities to lead projects.
  • Giving them as much autonomy as possible.

Strengthen relationships 

Decades of research on stress and health has shown that people with strong relationships are more resilient. They overcome traumatic events more quickly, they are less likely to get sick, and more likely to recover from life-threatening illnesses.

Remove Unnecessary Sources of Stress 

There’s no need to add to the stress that an economic downturn or uncertain times bring. You don’t want your employees spending their precious energy and coping resources struggling to overcome ineffective processes, ridiculous rules and policies, and other obstacles. Smart employers, even in good times, ask their employees about what they, the employer, does that frustrates them, makes it hard for them to do their work well, or just adds unnecessary aggravation.

Posted by Srishti