What tips do you have for morale boosting?

I run a company of just over 40 people and there has been a good atmosphere since we began trading five years ago. However, some of the leading lights in the company (in personality terms) moved on recently. There was no single reason for these departures, but the result is that the mood in the office is subdued and I am concerned that falling morale could harm results. How can I raise spirits and boost productivity?

A. David Williams writes:

You’re right to worry. Whenever anyone leaves a business, it triggers a re-evaluation for everyone, so don’t ignore this or put it off – it needs nipping in the bud. The first thing to do is re-recruit your best people – the 20% that do 80% of the work. Sit them down as if they were new and reaffirm what you’re trying to achieve. Ask them about their ambitions and work out how to fulfi l them together. Build a joint-plan for the future which makes clear their role within it – this can take time but you need to get it right.

Then reinforce the positives about the departures; why it was good for individuals and the opportunities they have created for the company. But you also need to acknowledge the negatives. Having recognised the problem the next step is to share it. It’s not just your problem, it’s everyone’s. When long relationships end we suffer a sense of loss, so find a way of fast-tracking new relations, whether through joint projects, a few beers or a fun day away.

But motivation doesn’t just come from camaraderie. Productivity and performance comes from a sense of pride and selfesteem. This stems from the knowledge that the company is the best at what it does and that staff are working to their talents, so are able to do the best they can. Use the departures as a chance to re-evaluate roles and make sure this is the case, from your perspective and from your employees’.

A mentor of mine always said that time invested in people now pays handsome dividends later. Especially in a small business, leadership is key. Make time to lead your way out of this problem.

David Williams is the founder of customer and employee experience provider How to Experience (H2X), a specialist in delivering compelling customer experiences. www.h2x.biz


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