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Employee Morale and the Boss

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Business Week Graphic 

The other day, I came across an interesting graph a client of mine had copied from a BusinessWeek article.  I’ve been trying to find it online, to no avail.  I found reference to it here, on another blog, NumericLife.

Everyone has a boss to deal with

When employees were polled to pick New Year’s resolution for their managers,
– 18% say ‘deal with workplace conflicts faster’.
– 14% say ‘be less of a micromanager’.
– 12% say ‘recognize work well done’.
– 0% say ‘plan events for building office morale’.

Source: Businessweek, Jan 3rd, 2007.

I also found an online version of the survey here, at Badbossology.

At first it would seem just another funny piece of trivia: a source of amusement as we think of the HR professional rounding up people for the monthly group birthday cake. 

But as HR professionals ourselves, we realize it goes deeper than that.  This is a living lesson in what has come to be known as Employee Engagement.  While I’m no big fan of morale building events, when people ask me what I miss most as a result of leaving a large consulting company environment to start a consulting firm of my own, I have to say that I miss most the sense of belonging that comes with being part of something bigger. 

Clearly, it wasn’t enough to keep me engaged, just as it isn’t something indicated in these survey results as something people are looking for. 

But foretold is forewarned:  Employee morale and sense of belonging is a critical piece of employee engagement.  Address morale issues quickly and effectively: just not with a “moral boosting event.”

Next week I’ll talk about what I believe to be some of the specific things you can do to impact morale for the better.

About the authorDonald Glade is President and Founder of Sourcing Analytics, Inc., an independent consulting firm specializing in helping companies optimize their HR / benefits / payroll service partnerships through relationship management, financial analysis, and process improvement.

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3 responses to “Employee Morale and the Boss”

  1. systematicHR Avatar

    I’ll be interested in this “morale” discussion as it’s not one I’m conversant in. I always tend to think culture, advancement, and cool work as being paths to engagement, but clearly how the culture permeates to the core of how an employee feels about the workplace is critical as well. Looking forward to it.

  2. Recruiting Animal Avatar

    To some extent, the recruitosphere fulfills this sense of belonging for isolated consultants. I know a number of smart, lively people through the net who are thinking about the same things I am and it can be a lot of fun to have exchanges with them. Of course, you’re not usually working on projects together so that they cannot directly support you in your most important endeavours.

  3. Donald Glade Avatar

    I added a scan of the Business Week clipping that prompted me to write this article. I thought y’all might like to see it.

    Sorry it’s so small.