Posted by Rich DiGirolamo on August 3rd, 2011 | No Comments
In the last year I have seen a big increase by organizations looking to form employee morale committees. Sometimes it comes at the request of leaders; other times it is a result of employee groups getting together and taking the proverbial bull by the horns. While this is no surprise given the turbulent times we are in, I’m also surprised at the lack of a clear plan and understanding as to what an employee morale group entails. It’s not all fun and games – and if you think it is please disband your group right now.
So here are a few must-haves for you and your committee to consider before undertaking the task:
Vision – your team/committee needs some sort of a vision. What are you really trying to do here? There’s a difference between putting together a crazy hat day (don’t forget to include the Is It Recess Beanie) and sitting around and sharing employee concerns and new ideas while wearing a crazy hat. There’s a difference between a one time event (what I call a band-aid) and a longer term plan of making morale a priority. Why is morale so low? Is this a pattern? In addition to reacting to the current declining morale what can be done to not get to this place in the future?
Information – your committee needs to know what’s going on. A while back I spent an entire day working with a team to lay the foundation for creating a better employee & customer experience only to receive an email a few days later that people were laid off – that same week. Some of the same people who were in that room. I’m having a hard time believing that decision was made after I walked out the doors. If things are going to get worse, your committee needs to know. When given the task of helping a CEO, HR or a VP build a better workplace you’re only killing any type of initiative with an example like I just shared. Are layoffs coming? Benefit reductions? A reorganization of the company? Is a big customer about to leave you? Etc. Etc. Be forthcoming before you further take the wind out of people and kill your efforts.
Budget – your employee morale committee needs a budget. It can be big or small. It can be used to purchase supplies, hire a magician, enlist the services of a food truck for an afternoon, or bring in a consultant to get them started on the right path. But make no mistake, when forming a morale committee you need some bucks to make this happen.
Environment – Where your employee morale committee meets can often be the make or break as to whether their efforts will be a success. Sending them to that four walled hell that I call a conference room may or may not work. Sending them to a coffee shop, a park or a beach might be just the inspiration they need to gather some new ideas and create an initiative that engages people and has impact. And if they happen to apply for a job while at the coffee shop this idea may have been too late.
Support – Why do employee morale teams fizzle? Simple answer: there is no support from leadership. Set aside some time to visit with them. Attend some of their meetings. Let them know you approve. Praise their efforts in front of the rest of the organization. But please, please, please do not send them off on a mission and forget about them. When a large medical devices company was instituting a RECESS AT WORK initiative there would have been a very different outcome and level of participation had the VP of HR (who approved) sent a message sharing what was going on and what the committee was planning.
Well that’s it. Vision, Information, Budget, Environment & Support. Oh and of course, please make sure your committee is having fun and providing fun – fun with a purpose that is!
Good luck and let me know if I can be of help.