Strategic Relations Journal

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Brought to you by Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant. Thank you for reading.

Issue #67 -- January 13, 2003

A weekly journal about building stronger relationships in business.
Subscription information is available at the end of this newsletter. Thank you for reading.

Have you ever just wanted to make sure -- I checked the spelling on "morale" (as in attitude of a group alluding to confidence) a hundred times. In this weeks lesson, "Simple Methods to Improve Employee Morale Even When Times Are Tough" you learn how to keep your people focused on work, not those things that often draw a company into harder times. Morale is the best word to use; it is stronger than attitude and understood better than temperament.

Often companies try to raise morale through external actions, when the environment around employees shapes their attitudes. It is about what you have employees say and do more than what you do to them. I am providing you several strategies you can use to encourage improvements in morale through improvements in your relationship with employees.

One thing about this newsletter that I want to remind you is that it is all about you. I am putting together the topics for the next couple of weeks, but before I tell you what I will teach you -- I would like to hear about what you want to learn. A key to improving quality of service is to know what your customer considers an improvement.

As simple, as it seems 7 out of 10 companies do not teach employees how to ask for customer feedback. By now, many of you are familiar with my areas of expertise, so now it is your turn -- email me with your requests, questions about business relationships. What do you want to learn? Send you ideas to questions-strategic-relationsat or reply to this message directly.

Warmly yours,

Justin Hitt
Strategic Relations Consultant, Author & Speaker

Simple Methods to Improve Employee Morale Even When Times Are Tough

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Employees are your ticket out of financial troubles only when they work towards positive results. Frequently in times of trouble, they are the first to suffer in both morale and discomfort. Here are several strategies to improve employee morale, while improving the relationship:

  1. Highlight your company�s current strengths in your industry. Help employees understand where your company provides extra value that keeps customers coming back. A strong position in your industry show employees, while things are bad, it is better to be with a winner.
  2. Describe how "your employees" are superior to the competition, and because of that, this team� shall succeed. Be very specific about what makes your people better than the rest. Talk only about their positive traits, rather than bashing the competition.
  3. Demonstrate fact based decision making in all areas of your company. Decision makers should work from reliable information to demonstrate they know how to address the situation. Create confidence by acting like highly trained professionals rather than confused children.
  4. Maintain an open dialog addressing employee concerns. Do not let questions go unanswered, get your people involved at all levels for a solution. Provide constructive feedback about results created from their actions. Putting everything on the table distributes responsibility, while improving the quality of efforts.
  5. Be truthful about the difficulty your organization is facing. When you hide information from employees, they eventually find out through informal channels. Be sensitive to disclosure issues, but do provide the information people need to make decisions.
  6. Share the responsibility for success with individual employees. Invite employees to decide what needs to be done, how they are going to do it, and what results they need to gain. When employees are responsible for their own success, they become committed to maintain higher levels of productivity. This sense of empowerment keeps morale high.
  7. Enable employee innovations that bring the company towards its objectives. Seek feedback and test ideas from all levels of staff as they feel they can produce better results. Let people know you appreciate it when they improve their own performance.
  8. Make change from the top down, especially in cost cutting measures. If you are asking people to spend less, then the executive level should set an example by spending less. Lead by example and employees will follow, otherwise it will be like pulling a bull by its nose.
  9. With your clearly defined objectives, celebrate wins that bring you closer to corporate goals. Positively reinforce any success as it brings you closer to your objectives. Use thank you� notes, small luncheons, and other modest events to encourage more achievements in that area.
  10. Outline business objectives with clarity and purpose. When corporate goals are easy for all to understand they are easier to achieve. Employees want to succeed and can when they know what they must do. A clear plan is the first step to keeping morale high during any challenge.
  11. Take time to review the value of each relationship. Let employees know how much you appreciate what they have done -- your best people should know how much you want to keep them. Even though times are hard, and no matter the outcome, you appreciate them as individuals.
  12. Stay busy working on achieving results, not talking about them. Learn to drop everything that does not bring the company towards its objectives. If you are not working towards success, you are working against it. Help all employees be involved in overcoming the situation.

When employee morale is low productivity declines even when the company is not experiencing financial challenges. This happens because employees feel that it does not matter what they do, it will not change anything. Help them understand that everything they do influences the results, and orient them towards your business objectives through their individual role. When individuals are responsible for results, they are less likely to place blame.

Managements Proactive Role

Management should serve as a positive guide who is bringing people together to reach a common objective, addressing concerns, and seeking to work in the best interest of the long-term relationship. The executive ranks are not knights in shinning armor� who will rescue the company from distress, but they serve as trained professionals who will lead the organization to positive results. People want heroes, but have always done better when they provide their own deliverance.

Maintain strong employee relationships through all this by improving communications channels, being trust worthy in action, and logical about the level of risk necessary to remedy the challenge. As Friederich Nietzsche says, "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger." Strengthen your employee morale through though times and not only will you make it, but your people will be better for it.

© 2002 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
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Justin Hitt is a Strategic Relations Consultant who helps business to business executives build stronger relationships in business that lead to more sales, increased profits, and greater satisfaction in business. Visit his website for more information,

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