January 17, 2014
I’ve never seen morale this low in my 13 years of government service. What are some fun and creative ways my office can boost morale and try to have a good time?--Anonymous
There is no doubt that morale in the federal government is low. The Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey provides at least one quantitative way to measure issues like morale. The 2013 survey indicates a drop in every governmentwide measure of employee satisfaction, compared with the results of the previous year’s survey.
In reading the survey, I was drawn especially to the Employee Engagement Index Trends (Page 48), which indicate that the governmentwide score (64) is the lowest in four years. If this was a test score, then the government would receive a “D” for engagement. While some agencies are better (receiving a C) and some are worse (receiving an F), the overall measurements paint a gloomy picture for morale.
If the problem is well-known then what can you do as a leader to boost morale? Are fun and creative ways available to help?
Morale describes enthusiasm, confidence and loyalty toward a job or organization. Good morale typically is associated with an esprit de corps and a positive psychological outlook and well-being that make a job and a community more enjoyable. This is good not only for the individual, but also for the organization.
Morale is important to an organization because of its association with performance, productivity, attendance and retention. A variety of studies indicate that a drop in morale lowers performance, degrades productivity, increases absenteeism, and makes it difficult to attract and retain the most talented employees. The converse also is true -- high morale benefits the organization in many dimensions
Improving low morale is a challenge for any organization, but it’s especially challenging for the federal government. With political polarization, budget battles and increasing pressures on public servants, improving morale among federal workers is difficult. But it’s not impossible.
Fun and creative ideas will naturally surface if morale is improving. These four actions are based on the idea that morale is strongly affected by the immediate relationships around you. If those relationships are positive and supportive then even on the darkest of days your office and your team can be a bright spot that rises above the gloom.
Duce a mente
(May you lead by thinking)
January 17, 2014