How can I improve morale and keep good staff?
“Treat other people in the way that you want to be treated” is a familiar saying, often known as the ‘Golden Rule’.
Yes, it is important that we treat each other with kindness and respect, but we also need to acknowledge that everyone is different and what ‘good support’ means to each person is also likely to be different. The first thing that you can do to improve morale is to really get to know each of your colleagues – both in relation to what matters to them inside and outside of work, and in terms of what support they need (from their manager and colleagues) to be able to do their best work. There are many great processes for this, including a range of personality tests, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Belbin’s team roles. Another approach is to support your team to develop their own one-page profiles.
This can help in three ways:
1) Each team member gets to hear what other people appreciate about them and therefore feel valued for their qualities.
2) You learn what matters to each person in relation to their families, interests and hobbies. Although staff may have worked together for years and feel that they know each other, once a team has done their own one-page profiles well, the feedback is always that people know each other much better.
3) You learn how to help each other have better days at work, by learning what people need to know or do to support each other well.
As a manager you can use one-page profiles in your day-to-day support of your colleagues, and also as the basis of supervision, appraisal and team meetings.
You might want to go further and look at developing as a person-centred team.
Once each person has a one-page profile and these are shared with each other, you could then move to looking at what is working and not working for each person, and either doing this individually or together as a team.
Improving morale is hard, and there are lots of factors involved. However, if you start by giving each person a strong message that they are important, and that you want to learn what matters to them and best to support them, this could make a big difference. Have a look at Teresa Chin’s blog about her experience of doing her own one-page profile.