We recently did an event focused on employee morale for a smaller group that does their work largely apart from each other most of the day. They were having problems with high numbers of employee complaints and were simply not completing the work on time. There was a lot of tardiness, absenteeism, pointing fingers, and frustration for all.
The first step in our plan of attack was to give them a survey highlighting the key areas (from research) that contribute to low employee morale. We got a chance to meet the team and get a sense of who they were at the same time.
From the information we collected, we could tell that they had a huge communication problem, as is often the case with these types of issues. Now we could plan the second part: the actual improvement event.
We went in with the full knowledge that participation would be a challenge. Luckily, getting people to participate is one of our many talents. We planned a packed day with lots of activities, training, and workshop elements. It was wonderful to see the team slowly unfold as they connected through the games and opened up in training and workshops to give input and answer questions.
Pretty soon they were working together and soon after that were even making decisions together! They started to see what each person brought to the table and actually appreciating it. In discussing operations, they even began to own up to when they didn’t behave their best towards each other.
In the end, this teamwork workshop focused on several things:
- Showing them better ways of communicating with each other
- Getting everyone on the same page by creating clear expectations with goals and timelines
- Providing an easy way for them to communicate what they are working on, when they need help, and any issues they are working through
We walked them through the creation of these elements and getting everyone to agree on the detail. By having the team create it, they got buy-in to the new way they wanted to accomplish things and were more likely to follow through with it.
Communication can be a huge factor in employee conflict and dissatisfaction. When there is little communication or big communication gaps, people (naturally) fill in the blanks. Humans tend to fill them in negatively about other people if we don’t know the whole story. For example: if my friend said she would let me borrow a certain movie but when I got up to leave she didn’t give it to me, she likely could have just forgotten to do it. But if I was to assume her motives, I could leap to “she doesn’t really want to let me borrow it” or even make it a personal attack towards me such as “she thinks I’m too irresponsible and I will lose it, she never gives me any credit when I get things right.” You can see how easily things could spiral.
This can happen even more often in the workplace when we know even less about our coworkers personally – we can assume even more. So, when we put simple communication tools in place, we can avoid tensions getting high altogether. When I know my coworker was supposed to complete something and get it to me last week, I will already know that they are waiting on an important piece from someone else and simply can’t move forward yet. It immediately becomes an objective issue instead of a personal one, and objective are MUCH easier to handle.
I have yet to find an employee issue that our tools can’t handle. If you are struggling with some personnel issues, please contact us and we will see what we can do to help. They are truly fun events and help make the workplace run a lot more smoothly.
We are always trying to improve too; constructive feedback is always welcome. Please comment or email so I can respond back to any questions you may have. Feel free to email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading!