pie chartAccording to a new Accountemps survey, 33 percent of HR managers believe poor communication is at the center of most employee morale problems, while nearly one in five (18 percent) of respondents believed micromanagement was the main factor. An additional 38 percent of HR managers reported that communication is the most effective way to counter low employee morale.

The survey was derived from interviews with more than 300 HR managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

HR managers were asked two questions during interviews:

1. Which one of the following has the most negative impact on employee morale?

Responses included:

  • Lack of open, honest communication (33%)
  • Micromanaging employees (18%)
  • Failure to recognize employee achievements (15%)
  • Fear of job loss (10%)
  • Excessive workloads for extended periods (9%)
  • None of these (14%)
  • Don’t know (2%)

2. What is the best remedy for low morale?

Responses included:

  • Communication (38%)
  • Monetary rewards for exceptional performance (15%)
  • Unexpected rewards, such as gift certificates or sporting events tickets (13%)
  • Team building events or meetings (11%)
  • Additional days off (6%)
  • None of the above (2%)
  • Don’t know (2%)

“Managers can be doing everything right, but if they’re not including employees in the information loop, staff engagement could suffer,” Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, said. “To improve communication, keep team members apprised of company goals and performance, and encourage them to ask questions and offer feedback.”

Messmer added, “Fortunately, morale problems can often be addressed relatively easily. Improving workplace communication is one of the most effective—and one of the least costly—ways to combat the problem of a disengaged workforce.”



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