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HR strategies to improve office morale

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Jason Carney gives his advice on how to handle common HR problems and lists the best strategies to turn office moral around. Check out his interview with FindtheRightJob.com below.

 

What Your Employees are Saying Behind Your Back

Dawn Papandrea
January 17, 2013

It’s quite normal for organizations to go through HR growing pains, especially when they have meteoric rises, says Jason Carney, director of human resources for WorkSmart Systems, a human resources outsourcing firm with more than 300 clients.

While it might feel like the right move to go out and spend a lot of money on consultants, Carney says HR professionals can start making improvements organically and internally just by paying attention to the vibe around the water cooler.

water cooler conversation

Here are three common things that you might hear your employees saying, along with strategies for how to address them:

“I don’t feel appreciated.”

“Employers have trimmed their staffs and been left with this classic feeling that if you’re a good practitioner, you must be a good manager,” explains Carney. But without the proper training, he warns that poor management skills end up being the root of most employee frustrations. “This leads to low job satisfaction, and employees that are not motivated,” he says. And eventually, it will evolve into high turnover and a bad reputation in the industry.

HR strategy: Making sure your supervisors are trained in employee relations. The “reset” conversation – we’ve talked, I think you should know what your performance is, what’ going on here? Once employees feel they are more comfortable saying whatever it may be, knowing they have that open line of communication is 70 percent of the battle.

“I’m overworked.”

Downsizing is a very real issue at most companies these days, so if an employer feels like they’ve taken on four people’s jobs with no compensation, that’s a big problem, says Carney.

HR strategy: “If someone is working 60 hours a week, you need to truly step back and analyze the workload,” says Carney. See what type of support the employee needs and if there are other staffers that could share some of the additional duties. In addition, look for ways to pump up your top performers so they know you’re aware of their hard work. No one should make promises like “you’re going to have a job no matter what,” but it’s perfectly OK to remind your hardest workers that “if something should happen, I’ll want you on my team.”

“I have a problem and nowhere to turn.”

Coworker conflicts are huge as is workplace bullying, says Carney. “Management needs to understand employee conflicts and deal with them before they get out of control.” In fact, he points out, gripes and bad attitudes can also spark complaints to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which have reached record numbers each of the past two years nationally.

HR strategy: Employee surveys are a good way to kick off a culture conversation if they’re done correctly, says Carney. “They give employees opportunity to be heard even if they’re anonymous.” But be careful what you ask for, he warns, and be ready to address and act on the important concerns.

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