Research and Writing Proposal: Morale at Workplace
Table of Contents
In the conditions of organization’s morale, there is a state of collective life, the spirit, the power of a group that is accompanied by confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a group and its tendency to do the job as good as it can be done. However, morale in the workplace can be very elusive, often unstable, and even dynamic. Increasing quits, reduction of working capacity and general discontent of workers are all the consequences of a negative mood and low morale of employees. A positive mood is an important component of any organization or business on the path to its success and prosperity. However, in recent years, human resources managers have a popular belief that only one kind attitude to subordinates contributes to the rise of a company’s morale. This belief does not harm anyone, but the fact remains that people spend at work most of their time and the rise of a company’s morale requires more than simple observances of etiquette or periodic recitation of motivational speeches. The current paper gives several tips on how to cheaply and effectively raise employees’ morale in the workplace, reduce the general stress levels and encourage people to do the work.
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Managers tend to believe that any effective program of raising morale, whether it is fiscal stimulus plan, an increase of salaries or a combination of expensive entitlements and benefits, costs big money. Business owners often complain that people go to wherever the money flows. All researches show the opposite. People are hungry for opportunities. Everyone is willing to have career growth. They desperately want promotion and increase of their own prestige, as well as increasing the responsibility assigned to them and expand their career opportunities. Different researches indicate that the factors that increase employee satisfaction and maintain their sense of happiness cannot be bought. Instead of this belief, that received recognition in recent years, it is necessary to apply a little psychological aspect that offers a successful low-cost and even free opportunity to increase and strengthen employees’ morale.
A Flexible Work Schedule
At first, if it is possible, an employer has to make a more flexible schedule for his/her employees. Flexible working day may equally have a positive impact both for employees and for a company itself. As it was mentioned above, an employer who does not make rigid frames for workers has an obvious advantage over his competitors and has more opportunities to attract good professionals (Baird, 2015, p.16). By so doing, an employer can reduce the stress levels of employees by just following this advice. For families, where both parents work and have a car to share, such plot will be invaluable. The schedule should be created in a way, according to which a worker on certain days can come to work later or leave earlier, or, for example, a schedule, according to which am employee has to come to work on days that are convenient for him/her. General, an employer has to try to make sure that time is not an obstacle for employees.
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Meetings outside the Office
An employer could hold meetings and conferences outside of an office to diversify the ambiance. A restaurant or a cafe in the park will be a much more pleasant place for employees than the usual room for meetings. Consequently, employees will be more attentive and receptive, if the meeting will take place in an unusual setting, in a place where there is fresh air and a pleasant environment.
Contribution and Participation
People want to contribute to the work, where the value of their participation will be appreciated. Therefore, the opportunity to freely express thoughts is one of the main factors in maintaining morale. The next part of the paper considers the results of the recent research conducted by the National Business Research Institute (NRBI). The study was constructed in a way, as to analyze root causes of employees’ low morale of one of the largest providers of health services and a high turnover of staff in the company. As it was found out by NRBI experts, the main psychological reason, which has an impact on all employees, is confidence that employers do not appreciate their contributions to the company. The specialists have developed a program of great ideas, which came out to be a very successful corrective strategy. Employees of the company were asked to submit their views on how to make the work more efficient, both to reduce costs and increase the company’s revenues. Employees were told that all the ideas expressed by them will be evaluated, and that the number of ideas, worthy of recognition, would not be limited. All those who submitted observations, which have been implemented, have been recognized within the company, and bonuses commensurate with the financial effect of an idea. This program has been successful due to three reasons: first, this program encourages feedback from employees; second, it was opened to anybody, but only those who really deserved it were rewarded; and third, bonuses received by the winners were financed through additional funds, generated by the program, which was paid off abundantly. It is helpful to invite employees to contribute to the discussions that lead managers, and take part in organization problem solving. The research shows that employees are motivated by interaction, discussion, an opportunity to express their own ideas and get feedback from them. Thus, if it is possible, it is necessary to create a democracy in the workplace, in which everyone will have the opportunity to participate in making important decisions. When organizations create conditions that empower employees with new opportunities, allowing people to determine their own responsibilities, timing of tasks and goals, employees become owners of the corporation fate in which they operate and begin to work with great inspiration. It is important to remember not to underestimate the powerful emotional impact that empowers employees by at least small proportion of the control.
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Money Can Undermine Morale and Creativity
Atmosphere of competition can seriously harm employee’s productivity and morale (Davenport, Harris, & Morison, 2010, p. 152). In their book, Davenport et al. give the results of numerous studies, carried out at the enterprises. It shows that when employees are asked to name the most important of their working conditions and rank them, money is significantly behind the factors, such as interesting work and the colleagues with whom it is pleasant to communicate. It is interesting that when managers are asked about what is the most important for their subordinates, managers usually put on first place money, so they can manage their subordinates on the basis of a false premise. In at least 70% of different studies, it was found out that rewards tend to undermine the interest to carry out tasks or damage employee behavior. As a confirmation, Con brings compelling study of the employees’ behavior of Marshall Industries, a large Californian company that is a distributor of electronic components. The company strongly relied on financial incentives for their employees. There was a critical moment when financial rewards actually started to restrain the company’s development. The General Director Rob Rodin eliminated the competition and other events that the employees were facing, then the stimulation of managers and, finally, replaced the remuneration for the effectiveness by tariff rates. The main result of these innovations was the rise of employees’ morale. Sellers started to cooperate. Staff turnover, which was one of the biggest problems with the old system of remuneration, was reduced by 80%. The sales and profitability of the business has grown very impressively.
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Encouraging employees to implement their goals and objectives is an impartial necessity and leaders have to realize it. However, for a long period of time in personnel management science, money was the main stimulus for workers. Along with the material, effective stimulating factors are also matching the work to person’s needs, recognition of him/her as a personality and the possibility of self-expression. Work motivation is one of the most important functions of management, which represents a promotion of an employee or group of employees to make efforts to achieve the objectives of the enterprise through satisfaction of their own needs. So, motivation has to be done right.
The concept of stimulus has to be taken into consideration as well, because it is contrary to what most people think about motivation. In the context of the organization, the word ‘motivation’ is often associated with rewards and punishment. Thus, the paradigm of “reward – punishment” was our way of action, since the industrial revolution, and we only recently started to doubt its effectiveness. On the contrary, the behavior, motivated by internal factors, explicit compensation or external coercion does not exist. The activity itself is a sufficient remuneration. It turns out that external rewards can actually weaken the motivation.
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The curious study shows that an interesting relationship exists between the reward and behavior. In one experiment, people who were paid $100 for the performance of certain tasks, evaluated this task as more complex, difficult and that it required more efforts than those who received the same tasks in the same conditions, only for $25. This and other similar studies show that when the amount of money injects into the equation (or any external compensation), people start to think that this task requires such a reward. Numerous studies of the process of education of young children also concluded that rewarding a child for good behavior only reduces the inner satisfaction, which the child can get, in case he/she would not receive such remuneration. As the amount of remuneration is growing, the motivation and interest of employees are reducing (Jackall, 2009, p. 84). It is necessary to remember that not only money can serve as motivation, but also everything that contributes to a rise of person’s self-esteem.
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Indeed, people have to earn a living, and every person wants to feel appreciated and earn the money to cover all the arising expenses. The essence of the above conclusion is that it is impossible to throw money at the person and expect that his/her behavior will change, and performance levels will increase; in fact, from external rewards the opposite effect should be expected. The optimal strategy can be found only in a more precise understanding of the nuances of human behavior. The more complex the activity is, the more it is harmed by external rewards. (Kalyn, 2013, p. 21) Thus, these results explain why for the staff involved in the implementation of simple and sometimes even certain creative tasks, bonuses for quality of work can be quite effective. And, conversely, employees whose work requires some creativity and a work that is more complex, will be more satisfying and will demonstrate better performance in cases where they are given the right to choose a job and their income does not depend directly on the efficiency of their labor.
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The analysis of the strategies for improving morale would be incomplete without the careful consideration of the pioneering work of Harvard Business School professor Elton Mayo and his research project conducted at the factory Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne Works. There were 40 thousand workers in the company that designed, assembled and tested cable systems, switches and switchgear, switching systems and other telecommunications equipment. Researchers, who worked in Hawthorne, were the first ones who discovered that the workers have a collective life, and demonstrated exceptionally strong influence of the factors of interpersonal communication on the workers’ morale. It is often believed that this project, in fact, marked the beginning of industrial psychology as a special scientific discipline. This experiment dispelled the myth that individual abilities are the most reliable predictors of the effectiveness of employees. Although these abilities really indicate the physical and mental capacity of the individual, but the most important factor – productivity, is exposed to a very strong influence of social factors. Employees are experiencing an acute need for cooperation and communication with their colleagues. Insulation deprives people of motivation because people are social creatures. Employers are supposed to encourage the interaction between employees and find opportunities to facilitate the formation of partnerships and community based on mutual cooperation. Social interaction has a positive effect on cooperation of employees and makes them come to work enthusiastically every day and improves morale in the workplace. Amazingly simple, but a very powerful element of boosting morale in the work environment is to simply remember to say ‘thank you’. Employees must be recognized and rewarded for their achievements.
Managers should praise subordinates immediately after they successfully complete a task, and adds that the praise should be specific and sincere; for example, one could thank subordinates for preparing a report ahead of schedule. Also, an employer could note that the completion of work was particularly impressive. Employees should be aware that, for their own contribution to the team work, they will be rewarded with recognition. Everyone needs to feel that he/she is a valuable member of the team. Look for opportunities to celebrate successes solemnly and publicly, especially in cases when people have to make additional efforts to meet the given objectives. Publish your praise in the bulletin of the company or place the letters of gratitude on the blackboard, where bulletin on the personnel’s questions is placed. In the book 1501 Way to Reward Employees, consultant of remuneration and recognition of Bob Nelson mentions the importance of appreciating the employees’ work. Employees, more than anything else, want to work well and be appreciated by those, whom they treat with great respect (Nelson, 2012, p. 405).
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Above mentioned are a few tips on how to improve morale in the workplace. Of course, there are a lot more ways to do so, but the ones above mentioned are supposed to be effective. So, every director and leader should remember that by following these instructions, he/she can raise morale of employees. And, in its turn, efficiency and productivity of the workers will be improved. Atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and encouragement of a reasonable risk and tolerance for mistakes and failures, as well as attentive attitude from management leads to the company’s success. Good leaders have to remember that for a more efficient organization of work, it is necessary to use a comprehensive approach that would include a lot of types of moral work stimulation. It is necessary to take into account that the main factor in the effective stimulation of work is to encourage people to work. In organizations, where people work closely with each other, using the incentives has to be reasonable and it is important to take into consideration satisfaction, enterprise and interests of individuals, even the character and the way of life. The stimulation will then be truly effective and personally meaningful.