If things seem tense around the office and you’re not sure why, you’ll want to find out ASAP. The problem might not be your employees…
Here’s the situation: Departmental productivity over the last few months has dropped. Lately, the office seems quieter than usual. Smiles are hard to find, but blank stares are abundant. You hear whispering when your back is turned. What’s going on? Could it have something to do with your performance management?
It could be that you’ve made hires that are a poor fit for the organization and morale has suffered as a result, but you have to consider the possibility that the problem is… well, you.
It might not be, but consider this: According to a recent monster.com informal survey, about ¾ of employees would vote someone else into their manager’s position. Clearly, there’s a lot of discontent out there!
So what can you do? Do you confront your team? Demand answers? What if you don’t have a problem now, but you’re worried about the future?
There are a few ways you can approach this. To start, and this may be cliché, but keep an open door. Communication is not only a cure for many ills, but a preventative one at that.
Second, and further to that point, a robust performance management system keeps two-way feedback flowing, and sets clear expectations for everyone. It helps to optimize performance for employees, which can be energizing and increases sense of self-worth within the organization. Note that performance management is different from performance reviews. The reviews are just one part of a comprehensive strategy that involves measuring and managing performance on an ongoing basis.
Also, note that some employees may be improperly trained or otherwise insufficiently prepared for their current jobs. If that’s the case, they will feel frustrated and overwhelmed… feelings that can easily be misdirected. Identifying skills deficits and eliminating them with training will help solve that problem.
Finally, use employee surveys. They’re a great way to get objective feedback, and they help businesses of all sizes identify barriers in communication, create collaborative environments, reduce turnover and improve overall morale. If you feel you need to dig deeper to get to the heart of the matter, consider a 360 survey. It’s a highly effective means of gathering comprehensive feedback from supervisors, peers, direct reports, vendors and even customers.
Ultimately, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and your expectations should be realistic. But once you discover the nature of any morale problems and work to fix them, your biggest critics can become your biggest fans.