Volume 37 Number 5 | October 2023

Claude Rector, MA, MLS(ASCP), ASCLS President

Claude RectorThe following information is shared from the St. Bernards Medical Center Workplace Morale Kit.

Employee morale can be described as employees’ capacity to keep their faith in their organization and its goals. It is especially prominent in the face of hardship, like many employers have seen during the COVID-19 crisis. However, low employee morale can be present during “regular” times, and it is detectable in employees’ behavior. Employees that complain about the company’s policies, work facilities, management, or something else related to the workplace are usually the ones with low morale.

In that sense, extremely low morale is easy to detect, and it will probably go hand-in-hand with high turnover and decreased productivity. However, boosting employee morale is always a good idea, as it has very apparent benefits for your workforce.

7 Essential Steps to Leading High Morale

Morale is the state of confidence, enthusiasm, purpose, and discipline toward goals. Moreover, great morale is all about feelings of dignity and worth at work. To that end, leaders can use these seven daily steps to lead to high morale.

  1. Highlight meaning and give regular feedback. Highlight how employees’ jobs and work affect our business, customers, and community. Your employees get demotivated, and their morale drops if they do not know if their performance makes a difference. Continuous employee feedback has numerous benefits, and companies that apply regular feedback policies enjoy the presence of constant improvement culture.
  2. Create belonging and facilitate team building. Make sure that everyone feels welcome and needed. Prevent cliques so that no one feels isolated. Team building activities in the form of games and friendly competition push your employees to work together in order to win or solve problems. Also, the relaxed team building atmosphere creates a sense of community. Overall, fun and games lift peoples’ spirits and effectively boost your employees’ morale.
  3. Acknowledge, praise, and show appreciation. People like to be reassured that they are doing a good job and be appreciated for it. Nobody works in a vacuum, and both peer-to-peer and top-down recognition have significant power to boost your employee morale. In fact, 58 percent of employees say that their leaders could engage them better by recognizing them. Therefore, try appreciating your employees’ work simply by thanking them. At the end of the day, employee recognition is low cost and high impact.
  4. Clear the obstacles and have employees’ backs. People want to perform well. If there are obstacles they cannot clear, they look to leaders to remove the blocks. Otherwise, why would employees need leaders?
  5. Sustain a positive workplace. You, as a leader, set the tone. Is the vibe fear and negativity or positive learning and growth?
  6. Engage natural talents and diverse ideas. Employees want to use their talents and learn and grow. This is critical to leading high morale.
  7. Most importantly … treat everyone with respect and dignity. This is critical to leading high morale. Even when you feel frustrated, listen and communicate what needs to change instead of venting your emotion. When you use sarcasm and “put downs” when communicating to staff, it kills morale.
Morale Quick Hits
  • Employee Recognition Preference Profile: Have every member of your team complete an Employee Recognition Preference Profile that shares all of their favorite things for you to keep on file. When an employee has a birthday, service anniversary, or goes above and beyond your standards, use this form to surprise them with one of their favorite things and let them know how appreciated they are. Make sure to provide this to all new hires that join your area too.
  • Cheers for Peers: Any staff member can appreciate another staff member at the end of a meeting.
  • Positivity Notes: Challenge each department member to write a note of positivity or appreciation to a member of another department.
  • Treat Fairy: Surprise your team with their favorite treat to help lift spirits when it’s been a crazy day. Use the Recognition Preference Profile to know their favorite drink.
  • The Welcome Board: The purpose of this board is to announce the arrival of a new employee and, in doing so, hopefully make them feel welcome and part of the team. It also benefits current employees to get to know something about the “new person.” Set-up a bulletin board that has room for pictures and a short bio. To keep this staff driven, it is a nice touch to have the co-worker who is precepting the new employee take the picture and write the bio. Gathering this information will not only improve the bonding between preceptor and orientee, but learning more detail about someone’s experience will also ease the orientation process.

Claude Rector is the Director of Laboratory and Respiratory Services at St. Bernards CrossRidge Community Hospital in Wynne, Arkansas.