Business owners want to hire, motivate and retain good people. Even if they succeed in finding a "perfect" hire, they are not always successful in motivating them, much less keeping them around. We asked our trusted friend, Ken Jacobs, a seasoned executive and a business consultant, to share his wisdom on how to boost employee morale. Ken has held senior management positions at both public companies and private companies. His last position was President of ACE USA, a Private Equity-owned company. He co-authored a book, Managing is Everybody’s Business, and now helps business owners increase enterprise values through his consulting company, Work/Life Tools, LLC.
Everyone has heard the saying, “The emperor has no clothes on!” This saying is from a short story by Hans Christian Andersen. This saying captures a common phenomenon in our society: most people are afraid of not agreeing with their peers, even when their peers are obviously wrong.
This concept is seen in our country today and throughout the business world. In business, employees are afraid their peers will not accept they are wrong, and the peers may retaliate in some form or another. This creates an unhealthy culture for a company and causes a negative impact on performance.
So how does business allow the free flow of information between all levels of the organization to be open and transparent to their people?
The free flow of information starts with the leader or owner of the business. The leader sets the example for the rest of the organization.
The leader has to have less arrogance and a little more humility to listen to their employees.
Arrogance impedes our ability to hear suggestions or advice. An arrogant person thinks they know everything. Employees can perceive very quickly if a leader is listening and open to suggestions or ideas.
Listening to employees has a secondary benefit of building trust between the leaders and their employees. When employees feel they are making a difference to the success of the company, they feel empowered to provide more ideas and suggestions. All information may not be pleasant information to hear but all information must be heard to make the right decisions for the company.
As the leader sets an example on how information is shared in the organization, the benefits move down into the organization to the other managers and their people. Sharing of information across the organization allows the business to take advantage of opportunities, fix weaknesses and address employee concerns.
Good communication builds trust across an organization and builds a healthy company working culture.
A family-owned company that I am familiar with had poor communication between the leadership and their employees. The employees raised safety concerns and suggestions to improve the operation to the leadership, but the leadership was not listening. As a result, employee morale was low. The leaders felt they knew best but they did not listen to the concerns or suggestions.
If the leaders had a little less arrogance and listened to their employees, they would be more proactive to address the issues showing their employees they are valued. This would improve employee morale and most likely the performance of the company.
Employees are the most important asset of a company. They are also an important resource to improve the business operation as they are closest to the operation. However, this requires listening to them, being open to their suggestions, and willing to implement their suggestions.
Good communication leads to a healthy company culture and this results in improved employee morale, positive business results and an increase in the value of the company.
Ken Jacobs is a seasoned executive and a business consultant. He has held senior management positions at both public companies and private companies. His last position was President of ACE USA, a Private Equity-owned company. He co-authored a book, Managing is Everybody’s Business, and now helps business owners increase enterprise values through his consulting company, Work/Life Tools, LLC.