Organizations have experienced a lot of ups and downs this year with economic and pandemic challenges. Leaders have had to focus on navigating a volatile, unfamiliar business landscape while making adjustments to support the long-term health of their companies.
It’s no surprise that employee morale may also ebb and flow as organizations adapt to challenging circumstances, and during all of the transformation, it’s important for leaders to make employee confidence a priority.
Higher morale has been shown to enhance employee retention, creativity and productivity . When we think about the factors that will enable our companies to succeed in 2020 and beyond, we need team members who are committed, motivated and contributing new, brilliant ideas. Leaders simply cannot afford to let morale fall to the wayside.
As your organization navigates unfamiliar circumstances, encourage your leaders to make an impact on morale by considering these five recommendations:
1. Own the Story
In the absence of information, it’s common for people to fill in gaps on their own. Sometimes that can result in inaccurate and potentially detrimental stories. Whatever may go on within your organization, it’s important for your leaders to be transparent and open with information.
Be clear about why changes occur or why decisions are made that impact your workforce – doing so will connect to the Analytical Attribute. To support the Structural Attribute, provide details and specificity. Make what assurances you can to put your team members at ease. Just be sure that any assurances you offer are ones you can commit to. Otherwise, you may inadvertently erode morale down the road.
Emergenetics® tip: As you communicate with staff, be sure to consider all seven of the Emergenetics Attributes. By speaking to each Attribute, you can close intent-impact gaps and better connect with your audience.
2. Lead with Empathy
In times of stress and uncertainty, empathy can make a real difference in enhancing your employees’ confidence in your organization. Ask for staff feedback in-person, in writing or through anonymous surveys to understand their needs. By offering a variety of ways to get input, you can engage team members across all parts of the Expressiveness spectrum.
Practice active listening and recognize that employees will all have different ways of adjusting to difficult news or changing circumstances. Seek to understand their perspectives and offer validation to help staff feel heard and valued.
Emergenetics tip: If you have an Emergenetics Profile, be sure to download the Emergenetics+ app and review the Profiles of staff before having a meeting or conversation to better anticipate the needs and perspectives of your employees.
3. Align on Priorities
As changes occur, your team members may need help re-evaluating their priorities. Encourage managers to meet with staff to review their goals and job responsibilities. From the standpoint of Flexibility, identify what projects will need to remain a focus and which ones can shift to accommodate new work realities. Pair these considerations with the lens of Assertiveness to identify the urgency of the goals and tasks.
We know that in times of significant change, productivity can often dip. If you notice that staff are having a difficult time adjusting, encourage leaders to offer a helping hand to give team members the space and time they need to adapt. By extending support, morale can increase, which will support productivity down the road.
Emergenetics tip: Profile holders have access to several resources in Emergenetics+. Download our guide, How Each Attribute Prefers to Set Goals, in your library to reframe objectives in a way that will better resonate with the preferences and needs of your staff.
4. Create Connections
To enhance morale and support the Social Attribute, consider how you can nurture greater team and employee cohesion. The connections can (and should) take many forms. Some can be purely social with a focus on helping staff engage with team members in a fun way.
Other events may be more work-oriented like weekly (virtual) standup team meetings and reoccurring town halls for company-wide updates. With all these recommendations, I encourage leaders to actively participate in the events to highlight the importance of bonding and connecting in times of challenge and stress.
Emergenetics tip: Bring a WEapproach to your gatherings by considering the interest of each Attribute as you set up your events. By forming a WEteam (or a group of individuals who collectively have a preference in each Thinking Attribute and representation across the spectrum of Behavioral Attributes) to help identify ways to connect, you stand a better chance of engaging all staff in your programs.
5. Describe the Future
In times of change, employees – particularly those with Conceptual preferences – will still want to understand where the organization is heading. Paint a clear picture of the future you envision for your company. Even after difficult circumstances, it’s essential to create a compelling, motivating vision of the possibilities you see ahead for your organization and staff members themselves.
Celebrate milestones and your employees’ achievements along the way to help them recognize progress. If you haven’t done so already, identify formal and informal recognition systems to honor successes.
Emergenetics tip: Another great resource in the Emergenetics+ library is our guide, How the Emergenetics Attributes Prefer to Receive Recognition, which can help you deliver meaningful praise to staff and identify considerations for a broader employee recognition program through a WEapproach.
The thoughts and feelings of your employees have a significant impact on the contributions they can make to your organization. By prioritizing employee morale, your leaders can put your company in the best position to navigate challenging times and adapt to build a more positive, resilient future.
Do you want to take advantage of the free resources mentioned in this blog post but don’t have an Emergenetics Profile? Learn more about our programs  or fill out the form below to connect with a team member today.