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How does low employee morale affect an organization, and what can a communicator do to overcome it?

Norway

Research shows that low morale translates to low productivity, less-than-perfect customer service, and increased sick leave and medical incidents.

I came on board at Statkraft just over a year ago, and quickly noticed pockets of negativity throughout the organization.

After learning more about the company, it became dear that much of the negative mind-set could be traced to a lack of engagement. To combat the problem, we:

* Involved managers in communicating with new employees.

* Created the opportunity for information sharing.

* Developed a communication training program for managers.

* Continue to develop two-way dialogue tools on our intranet.

A year later, we see that information sharing has strengthened and is supported by communication initiatives and collaboration tools. Add this to the other changes in the company, such as our new vision and strategic platform and our well-defined leadership requirements, and we have a recipe for employee engagement and much higher morale.

Irene MacCallum, ABC

Manager, internal communications

Statkraft

Oslo

Tanzania

Low employee morale affects efficiency and productivity because employees lack commitment to their actions. It can result in riots, an unsafe working environment, high turnover and fraud.

Communicators can help overcome low employee morale by:

* Ensuring that employees get adequate and reliable information at the tight time.

* Encouraging employees to air their views without fear of retribution.

* Making employees feel that they are part of the company by involving them in the firm's publications and newsletters.

* Clearing up doubts created by rumors.

* Updating employees with news of interest to them as well as the firm.

* Highlighting the firm's strategies, mission, values and vision.

* Developing the habit of giving employees feedback on all the queries they raise.

Mtanga Noor

Internal communications officer

Tanga Cement Company Ltd.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Thailand

Low employee morale stems from many sources: bad management, poor economic conditions, culture dashes after a merger or acquisition, and layoffs, to name a few. It gradually destroys employees' commitment, resulting in pessimism, reduced productivity, lower profits and less effective teams. Employees cannot do their best when they are fearful and frustrated.

To overcome poor morale, communicators should encourage their organizations to provide channels for employees to share their concerns and ask questions. Management should address their concerns immediately, and respond sincerely to their questions and requests. Communicating often and keeping employees well informed about what's going on in the business are keys to better managing morale.

Chalumporn Nophaket

Internal communications manager

Unilever Thai Trading Ltd.

Bangkok

United Arab Emirates

Employee morale is really put to the test during challenging times. Tough economic conditions, poor financial performance, cultural differences (particularly following a merger or acquisition) and inconsistent management can all contribute to low employee morale and can be very detrimental to organizational health. We've all experienced it: Employees disengage, customer service suffers, and organizational productivity sinks to an all-time low.

Communicators can play a key role by helping senior management create and deliver truly meaningful messages that resonate with employees and address their concerns. Responses should be communicated as personally as possible, through town halls, group sessions or even intranet video broadcasts. Communications should address specific complaints and concerns to reassure employees that management has heard the message and is taking action. Employees should also be encouraged to provide feedback in ways that will make them want to play a part in changing the dynamic and moving forward. It may be very challenging, but with transparent communication and consistent action from management over time, you will start to see a shift.

Nancy Fullerton

Communications director

MEGLobal International FZE

Dubai
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Title Annotation:global perspectives
Publication:Communication World
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2010
Words:588
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