Do you find your staff are doing a fantastic job, things are going swimmingly, and all seems excellent in the world and then out of nowhere the team appears flat and the enthusiasm has suddenly dipped? Are you left wondering what went wrong and how to get your enthusiastic team back? Read on for ideas to help build staff morale, and we're not talking about perks and rewards. We're going down the path of sustainable practices.
We've all heard the whispers of offers of workplaces that offer unlimited annual leave, free lunch on Fridays, extravagant conferences, monthly parties and a long list of other workplace perks. This approach to employee satisfaction and workplace morale is fantastic for happy employees. However, using work perks to lift morale is short-lived and somewhat superficial. Not to mention, those of us in ECEC know that it's not an option to enjoy a sleep pod or Friday drinks on the job!
Inspired by Michael C Bush's TED Talk (view at the end of the blog), we've stripped back the work perks and taken a sustainable, affordable, and grassroots approach to boost employee morale.
First and foremost, to be happy at work, all employees need the same basic things.
Trust & Respect
Employees need to feel supported and know that their leaders trust and respect them; the leaders know that the employee will always be doing their best. There's no second-guessing, micromanaging, gaslighting, or playing favourites. These behaviours are detrimental to staff morale as they create a divide and instil a feeling of low confidence in the team.
Action: Observe employee relationships. Are all team members being treated with trust and respect? If they're not, there may be underlying reasons that you need to resolve within your team.
Creating an inclusive environment is essential for the children's happiness, satisfaction and progression as well as for the staff. View our course Building Inclusive Practices in Early Childhood Education and Care Skill Set for more information.
Happy employees are treated the same regardless, of gender, age, sexual preference, race, tenure and other factors. Unfairness or perceived injustice is a short trackway to ensure employee dissatisfaction. This doesn't mean that leaders and employees with longevity will receive all the same information or make the same level of decisions. It means that employees need to understand, trust and respect why they may be involved in some decisions and conversations and not others. Treatment of all employees must always be the same to ensure happiness at work.
Action: Ensure that your team members and leaders all have the same privileges. Ensure that people in the same roles have the same pay, tasks, expectations and opportunities. Encourage open conversations with our team to ensure any unfairness or perceived unfairness can be rectified as soon as possible.
Employees need their boss to hear them, engage with them and consider what they have to say. They want their bosses and colleagues to see things from their point of view. This doesn't mean that everyone needs to agree. It merely means that by listening to each other with full concentration and commitment to the conversation, you can lift your workplace vibe!
Action: Do you have people in your workplace who are in leadership positions - or people who will be moving into leadership positions? If so consider helping them to master their leadership skills with the Team Leader Skill Set. After all, we all know the best way to lead is by example.
Be bold and step outside your comfort zone. Be willing to change. Has someone in your team suggested a new way of doing something? Is there a task your employees perform as part of their duties, but you know it weighs them down? Look for new ways to improve your systems and processes and consult your team when making changes. Select a committee for significant changes, encourage your team to work together in an environment that promotes trust, respect, and an even playing field. Work with your team to ensure they are always learning to stop the days from becoming mundane.
Action: Venture Education offers a number of nationally recognised courses to help your team excel in their career. Explore our courses to see which courses will help your team to put their best foot forward.
See below for Michael C Bush's TED Talk on making employees happy at work