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3 ways you can boost office morale fast

Which would you rather have: an upbeat, engaged staff that contributes to a successful practice or a staff that grudgingly shows up for work each day and plods through required tasks?

Obviously, the first choice is preferable. In reality, however, your staff probably includes at least several employees who fit the latter category.

Still, if most employees are happy, you may be inclined to ignore the situation.

Funny thing about morale, though. Remember the saying, “One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel”? It’s certainly true about employee morale and the workplace. Negativity and counterproductive behavior affect everyone’s day, and therefore, on some level, everyone’s job performance. What’s more, patient care can be compromised by poor employee morale.

Because productivity is important, and because you want to retain your top employees and provide patients with the best possible service and care, you must manage employee morale at your practice. This first requires recognizing the stresses and challenges of your practice’s environment.

Health care industry especially susceptible

Indeed, the health care field lends itself to employee morale issues.

“Think about the environment that most workers deal with daily,” says Lindel James, CEO and founder of The Center for Leadership Skills, a management coaching and consulting firm.

She cites sick people and the families of sick people, ever-tightening budgets, and being asked by management to do more work for the same or less pay as among the top stressors. In addition, employees must deal with frustrated management, who are also trying to do more with less, along with frustrated consumers of service, who believe they are paying too much for health care insurance.

Is it any wonder morale is low?

And these are only the industry-specific challenges. Add to this list the typical workplace and people issues, along with everyone’s personal struggles, and a medical office manager has quite the uphill battle when it comes to creating a harmonious work environment.

Cures for what ails

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve employee morale.

1. Learn to coach

James recommends learning coaching techniques that will let employees know you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. “Learning and applying good listening skills can and will turn employees around,” she says.

2. Co-create with employees

Learning to co-create with employees, instead of managing from the top down, can also have an impact, according to James. This requires sharing your vision with employees and asking for suggestions.

As James points out, no one knows a job better than the actual person who does it, noting you may be amazed with the responses when you ask for suggestions. “And the most incredible byproduct of this process can be the lift the employee gets through being asked for their opinion,” she says.

3. Recognize personal issues

Showing employees you appreciate that they are real people with real lives can also go a long way. By recognizing that personal issues can’t always be left at the door, and exhibiting compassion and understanding, you show support for employees and help build better morale.

The bottom line

Remember, in order to create a happy, productive workplace, you have to first be interested in your staff. Then, in order to inspire employees to contribute, you should solicit and respect their ideas. At the same time, you have to understand their professional and personal struggles.

The approach James advocates is applicable to your entire staff. But why not devote a little extra attention to those employees most in need of a boost? If their morale improves, everyone will benefit. Meanwhile, from the business side, don’t be surprised if the practice also gets a boost—in profits.

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