ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cutbacks Don't Have to Sink Employee Morale

It's hard to stay up in down times, but it's crucially important to the health and success of individuals and organizations.

During bad times, most people cut back, do less, and dispense with frills and many pleasures.

Managers do the same thing. They curtail the coffee, bagels and donuts, and stop having the Friday afternoon pizza parties. They also eliminate needed equipment, like cell phones and printers.

Consequently, at the very time when people need to nurture themselves and be nurtured, they are deprived and made to feel diminished.

What's the solution to staying upbeat, while being conservative with resources? It is to recognize the importance of pleasure, fun and laughter to morale. Both individuals and managers need to sort carefully and keep those things that allow for the maintenance of good morale. Eliminate big unnecessary expenses, but keep what really matters in your day-to-day life. Sometimes spending saves in the long run.


* Take care of yourself even if you think all your time should be spent job hunting, earning money or worrying.

* List everything you do and buy that are not essentials. Prioritize the list in order of how much personal pleasure each of these gives. Add the cost of each item. Eliminate those with the lowest priority as well as the expensive ones with only medium priority.

* Ask loved ones to make similar lists and the same decisions.

* Consider small pleasures and add some to your weekly routine, such as walking on the beach, bubble baths, basketball, playing with your children and playing board games.

* Increase exercise and particularly time outdoors, walking, running, swimming, playing golf or tennis, etc.

* Don't punish yourself for being caught up in the recession. It's not your fault and you should not feel less about yourself because you are out of work or experiencing a loss of status. You haven't changed, the situation has. Don't confuse the two.

* Don't associate with people who make you feel worse. If you have no choice, such as with a parent, child or spouse, let them know how they make you feel. If necessary, get a few hours of professional help to enable you to work out these issues with those you love.


* Recognize the importance of keeping morale and motivation up among your employees. Do not be penny wise and pound foolish.

* Meet with employees regularly in small groups to discuss feelings and concerns. Be as honest as you can, while at the same time being relatively upbeat about the future of the company.

* Look at large expenses, such as first-class travel, expensive cars and extravagant trips and determine which you can eliminate or do less often.

* If your company has very high salaries, bonuses or commissions for upper managers, find a way to reduce them and let employees know you have done so.

* Maintain those small perks that make people feel good. In particular, never take the coffee, bagels and donuts away. Perhaps you need to have the pizza parties once a month, instead of once a week, but continue them.

* You might even add to the small perks to improve morale.

* Create incentive bonuses for success instead of automatic raises.

* Streamline systems and improve processes with your workers, so they can work smarter with less.

* Show people you care in other ways, perhaps by allowing more flexible time for those working so hard to keep up with the demand.

In short, manage your morale and those for whom you are responsible by recognizing the importance of communication, caring and pleasure. Be selective, but do not deny yourself or others with things enabling them to continue to get out of bed in the morning and look forward to the day, the week and their lives.


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