MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 19, 2012 -- The mood around the office water cooler is generally positive, new research suggests. In an Accountemps survey, nearly four in 10 (39 percent) workers described the morale at their companies as very good. Forty-two percent of people interviewed said workplace morale is somewhat good.
The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals, and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from 443 working adults 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.
Workers were asked, "How would you describe the general morale of employees at your company?" Their responses:
Don't know/no answer
"People ultimately want work they are proud of, colleagues they respect and an environment where their contributions are valued," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources KitFor Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "Employers who foster this type of culture are rewarded with higher employee morale and productivity."
Messmer advises managers to avoid taking employee job satisfaction for granted. "Workplace dynamics change constantly," he noted. "Companies should keep a pulse on staff engagement, particularly as business conditions change or new managers are appointed."
Accountemps highlights four methods to help managers gauge the morale of their teams:
Talk to staff: Checking in with employees on a regular basis, from a quick chat at the water cooler to stopping by someone's desk, is perhaps the most effective way to gauge the morale of your staff. During these conversations, ask about any challenges the team faces and how employees feel about work.
Observe behavior and performance changes: When employees who were once highly engaged don't speak up in meetings or fail to participate in group activities, it could be a sign they no longer feel connected to the company's mission or to fellow team members.
Survey employees: Periodically collect feedback from staff members on subjects ranging from whether employees feel they have the necessary tools to do their jobs well and adequate management support to how the company can improve the work environment. The survey process alone is a morale booster because it shows people you value their opinions. Just be sure to act on the feedback you receive.
Conduct exit interviews: Ask departing employees how they'd improve morale and the work environment. Consider working with human resources or another contact outside of your department to conduct the meeting and serve as a more neutral facilitator.
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