It’s hard to escape feeling the effects of our nation’s economic downturn, no matter what career path or place you hold within the country. The annual inflation rate in the US unexpectedly accelerated to 8.6% compared to market forecasts of 8.3% in May 2022. Electricity, natural gas, and even food skyrocketed in the blink of an eye. Many categories significantly surged for the first time since 1981. Gasoline still holds strong as one of the highest increases at 48.7%. Wow! So if you’re feeling these effects as a leader or within your organization as a whole, your employees are certainly taking the brunt of them as well. It’s time we talked about what we can do to keep spirits high while we are all along for the ride.
Give Recognition & Check In Often
This is a pretty simple one to execute, but it can take time to get into a good rhythm. Use this time to create a solid listening culture that leaves your employees feeling included, empowered and a part of any changes you might need to make. Many employees are struggling with loneliness, or even just plain struggling. Especially those working remotely. Checking in with regular one-on-ones to talk about the world and how it’s affecting them personally will help fill the loneliness gap and boost morale. They should know they’re not alone, and you may even discover some things beneath the surface.
And don’t forget…recognition is a lifeline! Employees thrive when their efforts are appreciated, especially with the unfortunate state of our current economy, which has become more energy-draining and depressing. Organizational leaders who are focused on raising up the spirits of their people will also contribute to boosting company morale.
Communicate & Collaborate
Where most organizations go wrong is that they are afraid to communicate too much. Nonetheless, it is next to impossible to over-communicate. Work with your internal communication department to come up with a communication plan and execute that plan consistently. Make sure to include different mediums to communicate and make sure leaders, customers, and those on the front line have a chance to be a part of this planning and execution process.
Your people need to know what is going on and what improvements the organization is making. Do not assume that they don’t want to know, because trust me, they want to be involved much more than you think! Communicating more consistently and effectively collaborating with every individual will improve employee morale.
Spend Time Developing Leadership
With the economy as is, I have seen many organizations draw back on their spending to improve employee development. While this does make sense, things such as virtual workshops, a speaker series, manager coaching, and technical skills training are so important to help employees not feel like they are remaining stagnant. Leaders and employees who do not continuously receive proper training can negatively impact company morale for reasons as simple as not being able to handle the workload to being unable to properly manage. If budget is an issue, conduct skill assessments to find out the most important areas on which to focus.
These are some of the most challenging times many of us will ever see in our lifetimes. In an economic downturn, organizations must steer clear of short-sighted thinking and continue to show sincere appreciation, communicate, collaborate often, and develop leaders so that they can meet employees where they are today. These are a few critical steps if you want to boost employee morale, but make sure to have fun too!