ANNE-MARIE DOLAN HR Leader, Australian Human Resources Institute
AS an employee, your first step might be to tell your supervisor or manager that you are noticing negativity in the office and ask if there is anything you can do to support efforts to improve morale. Try to keep a positive attitude yourself. Identify the things that you enjoy about your workplace and focus on those positives, particularly when talking with others. Listen when others complain about things they are unhappy about but don’t join in with the negative talk. Suggest they speak with their manager or someone from HR rather than with other colleagues. WHEN attempting to increase morale in your office, start by examining the root cause of the problem. Rather than make assumptions, try to truly understand what’s going on for your team members. For example, are office politics getting to people? Is career progression limited by a lack of opportunity? Are people bored? Do they lack inspiration from their manager? Is the workplace too stressful? It also helps to remember that morale is essentially an emotional matter. One of the best ways to positively impact morale is to personally make co-workers feel their work is valued. NO two organisations are the same, with each characterised by its own unique dynamics, structure and culture. Therefore what is driving low morale in one organisation may be different to the drivers in another. Typically morale will be impacted through two key areas: how aligned individuals are to their jobs and how aligned individuals are to their organisation. Before designing any approach to address the issue it’s important for organisations to conduct some interpretative analysis to understand the underlying issues. This is best conducted through a specialist organisation. EACH of us has an impact on the atmosphere around us through our emotional energy, whether that is positive or negative. Therefore, office morale is a joint responsibility. Bright, cheerful and energetic behaviours can be contagious just as moody, glum or sour ones can be. Think about your general attitudes, emotions and behaviours: are they mainly optimistic, encouraging and supportive of others? Begin by modelling these positive attributes and offering to assist others who may be struggling emotionally. Try to introduce some fun or social activities that inject humour.