Despite their difference in size, small and big business are often tasked with similar objectives and concerned with identical problems. Neither can afford to take their accounting casually, for example. And regulatory agencies demand compliance regardless of size. One of the other areas that know no size is morale. In fact, low morale might impact small companies even more than big ones. That is because it might take quite a long time for morale issues to hit a critical mass in a big company. In a small company, it only requires a tiny portion of the workforce to have a material impact on productivity and organization within the business. That is just one reason why keeping up morale is vital to your small business. Here are a few others:
Hard Work Must Be Rewarded
If you want people to work hard, you have to reward hard work. Contrary to our popular mythology, no one works hard strictly for pride. As many have learned the hard way, pride does not put food on the table or send kids to a good university.
That is not to say that pride has no value as motivation. But it only goes so far. And that is not far enough for a small business to survive.
Pride in a job well done needs to be enhanced by recognition awards. Business people are not so different from celebrities and athletes. They take a great deal of pride in their work. But at the end of the day, what they want is to be able to hoist that trophy. Internal motivators are always enhanced by external symbols of achievement.
Low Morale Poisons the Well For New Hires
You can’t solve your problem with bad blood in the company by bringing in new blood. That is because the moment the new person comes in contact with the disgruntled employee, their enthusiasm is immediately dampened. It is human nature.
The new person becomes privy to negative information they did not formerly have. Disgruntled employees usually have some good reasons for feeling the way they do. And the new hire has no way of distinguishing truth from exaggeration.
Perhaps the company really is sometimes late paying employees. Maybe they are not fair when it comes to bonuses. Many companies try to get overtime work for part-time pay. That manager in sector G might actually be a bad manager.
You don’t solve these problems by bringing in new people. You have to clean the well before inviting more people to drink from it. If you don’t fix your morale issues first, your new hires will inherit the morale problems of the past.
Low Morale Breeds Self-Doubt
Great things are produced by confident people. As Steve Jobs used to say, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” That does not apply to people with low self-esteem.
Nothing kills productivity faster than a person reasoning they are attempting the impossible. As the old joke goes, the way to stop a centipede from walking is to ask it how it manages to maneuver all those legs. Once it stops to ponder the question, it simply can’t do it anymore.
You need to keep morale up in your company because there are a lot of workers doing things they didn’t know they could do. Once they start to feel the weight of doubt and negativity, they become like the centipede. Suddenly, their task feels both impossible and pointless.
Your employees are human and have their ups and downs. But you cannot ignore morale, especially when it takes a dip. Your employees will never give you their best work for pride, alone. Low morale poisons the well for new hires. And high morale breeds high self-confidence. Brilliant work cannot be done without it.