- Look out for warning signs that staff are unhappy.
- Provide a forum for employees to voice their concerns.
- Take insight into what can be improved in the future.
Recognising low staff morale
Recruitment procedures can often be costly in both time and money, so it may be better to retain staff rather than recruit new ones.
The first step in dealing with low staff morale is to recognise the employees who may be vulnerable. Look out for warning signs that suggest staff are dissatisfied and want to see improvement.
- 'I feel like I have no voice.'
- 'Although I am vocal, I don't feel like I am being listened to.'
- 'I feel under appreciated.'
- 'I feel unstable as there have been many changes in the workplace.'
Be alert to drops in staff morale at particular times - for example, after a management restructure or during processes of changing terms and conditions.
Addressing low staff morale
Provide employees opportunities to air their views. You could try the following:
- Run a staff survey so that you can rate and review different aspects of the workplace.
- Ask employees what they believe to be the most difficult parts of their job - this may give you interesting insights into what can be improved.
- Consider holding an 'ideas or improvement session' in regular team meetings. This will give staff a regular forum for voicing their concerns, make them feel engaged and integral to the practice and encourage teamwork and staff cohesion.
It's also a good idea to have a structured appraisal system in place. This usually takes the form of an annual review, during which the employee and manager discuss past performance and future targets. Take the time to identify where the employee is performing well.
Staff appraisals should include the following points.
- How the employee feels they are performing, and where their strengths lie.
- A review of any key projects they were involved in, and the results.
- A review of previous development objectives and whether they have been reached.
- Areas where the employee could improve, and ways to demonstrate improvement.
- Objectives for the following year - this is especially important if the employee is working towards a particular position.
- Identifying any training or support needed.
Encourage staff to participate in new projects and operations the practice is involved in. Match the skills and interests of your employees with new roles that might be needed within the practice - such as infection control, or complaints manager.
Think about whose personal development will benefit from being given extra responsibility, and who you think will excel at the job.
If you receive a resignation letter from an employee, it's a good idea to speak to them to identify the reasons for the resignation and help assess improvements that could be made in the workplace.
You can do this informally, or through a formal exit interview. A formal interview should be held by someone other than the employee's immediate supervisor.
The exit interview should discuss the following issues:
- reasons for leaving
- feedback on the job duties and job description, and whether they are accurate
- assessment of the work environment
- whether the pay and benefits are suitable for the role
- management style and culture.
Any specific complaints raised by outgoing employees should be given serious consideration, for the future benefit of the practice, as the underlying problem could still be present.
GROUPCARE members receive access to a free 24-hour employment law advice line. For more information on how to set up a GROUPCARE scheme, visit themdu.com/groupcare.
This page was correct at publication on 21/12/2021. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.