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Improve Employee Morale to Increase Engagement and Productivity

We’re constantly looking to know what the hot-button issues are in human capital, training, OD, and human resources, and so when I came across this blog—Improving Employee Morale [1]—on the American Society for Training and Development’s website, I pored through it.

Employee morale is easy to spot, both in a negative and a positive sense, but it’s difficult to shift, especially with negative employee morale. Think of it like a wave—it can seem overbearing once it’s right on top of you, but it started rolling in a small way over quite some time.

You know negative company morale when you see it: dissatisfied employees, lack of communication, aversion to change, workplace silos, ineffective leadership, lack of trust. But how do you turn it around and improve employee morale, or, better yet, prevent it from ever getting to that point in the first place?

The ASTD blogger, Stewart Liff, outlines a couple of key factors:

These are all important, but I want to focus on the second bullet—how well you communicate—because I think it is the foundation for everything else that follows.

Liff mentions that “communicating in a whole brain fashion” is important—“Since people have different learning styles, it stands to reason that you want to use different means of communication to reach as many employees as possible.” Right on, Stewart—now let’s talk about how to get that done:

Employees are coming both from different thinking patterns and from different behavioral tendencies [2]. The key is listening to them in a way that extends the communication line out and communicating to them [3] in a way that makes sense in their brain. It’s not easy, because really, we’re talking about individualizing your communication approaches, but the results are incredible.

Take the brain and let’s look at it from four perspectives: convergent (commonly called left brain), divergent (commonly called right brain), abstract, and concrete.

Finally, communication [4] is built on Expressiveness. How expressive are the people who work in your organization? Where do their behaviors lie?

It isn’t easy to stem the rising tide of a negative morale, but one clear way to improve employee morale is by communicating more effectively [5].