Know the worth of staff mirth

Increasing staff communication reduces anxiety and can stabilise, if not improve, morale
Increasing staff communication reduces anxiety and can stabilise, if not improve, morale

The economy may be heading for depression but that doesn’t mean you should too. A happy workforce is more productive so keeping everyone smiling should be a priority



11 February 2009

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Retailers caught in the grip of the downturn face a very difficult challenge in preventing the deterioration of staff morale. Especially with all the doom and gloom surrounding us and morale reaching a point where negativity outweighs the desire to do a good job.

Poor staff morale effects store atmosphere, staff performance, service and ultimately sales. Your staff have to contend with a daily armageddon of negativity on the radio, in the press and on television and although all members of a team need to be aware of challenges within a business, it is important to keep staff mentally positive at all times.

Retailers are also faced with a double edged sword during a recession. At the same time that sales are contracting, staff morale threatens to make matters even worse. Where is the pleasure in shopping in a store where the atmosphere is awful and the staff are depressed? At these times, maintaining staff morale and even boosting it is a priority.

There are plenty of cost effective ways to maintain staff morale

Implementing a positive, dynamic training policy will bring substantial benefits to many areas of your business. For example, you might see your staff responding positively to your commitment to their career development, becoming more motivated to perform well and being dedicated to the business.

Well-trained staff will be able to complete tasks more quickly and efficiently and productivity may go up as a result. Regular evaluation of completed training will help you identify skills gaps in your workforce and take early steps to avoid potential problems. An effective training strategy should be integrated with business planning and staff development.

  1. Focus on the positive. If all you’re talking about is how bad things are then that is all your staff will be thinking about.
  2. Games and contests help prevent your top performers from growing stagnant and encourage the entire team to improve their own performance by creating a healthy competitive environment. The reward can be nominal, not costing and arm and a leg.
  3. Increasing staff communication reduces anxiety and can stabilise, if not improve, morale. Staff appraisals offer and excellent opportunity to show staff they are being heard and even if there is a pay freeze in place, it doesn’t mean that your team doesn’t want direction in their development.
  4. Finally, making your staff feel rewarded, recognised and appreciated can be as simple as saying thank you or pointing out a job well done.
Barry Whelan is managing director of Excel Recruitment Ltd




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