A number of factors can influence your employees’ performance in the workplace. Your employees may feel negatively influenced because of micromanaging by their supervisors or miserly budget restrictions. Conversely, your employees will most likely feel inspired and otherwise positively influenced by top quality equipment and a supervisor’s approachable management style. Regardless of the field or industry in which you work, the factors influencing employee performance and morale are very much the same.
Equipment & Supplies
The quality and quantity of your workplace equipment and supplies can have a direct influence on employee performance. Not all companies can afford top-of-the-line computers, copiers, printers and expensive Internet-ready phones, but keeping equipment and software up-to-date goes a long way in positive employee influence. And making sure employees have all the office supplies they need to do their jobs efficiently is a necessity.
Your office space must have quality lighting, good temperature controls and proper ventilation not only for employee morale but also for their health. Broken or malfunctioning light fixtures are not only annoying, but poor lighting can also damage employee eye health. Poor climate controls can also cause employees to become too chilled or deal with a heat-related illness. And proper ventilation is perhaps the most critical piece of the office environment as poor ventilation not only can make employees ill, it could also break local ordinances, as most municipalities have some sort of environmental laws regarding proper ventilation.
Every employee wants to know his work matters. Always pawning off the tedious or menial jobs on the same person day in and day out will certainly not help the person’s performance or morale. Allow everyone in your office to work on a project involving teamwork with interesting research and hands-on display or materials assembly. Assigning special projects gives your employees a nice change of pace, a great sense of accomplishment, and a renewed sense of purpose in the knowledge that you trust them with critical work.
While few bosses could live up to the image of the perfect boss, a boss who is supportive and gives positive feedback helps influence employee morale in positive ways. "Entrepreneur" magazine reports that in a poll of 30 administrative professionals, the top characteristics they want in a boss are “supportive” at the #1 spot, followed by (in descending order) understanding, flexible, honest/ethical, motivating and fair. These professionals defined a supportive boss as one who looks for solutions rather than scapegoats when the team encounters a problem. And when things go well, the supportive boss is quick to recognize a job well done. An understanding boss recognizes when his staff is overworked and makes himself available, occasionally even socializing with the staff outside work hours.
Perhaps the most positively influenced employees are those who know their bosses wouldn’t ask them to do anything the boss wouldn’t be willing to do himself.
The economy has made it tough for employers to give bonuses and raises to top employees, but according to a report from Employee Benefit News, employers are starting to re-institute pay raises and bonus plans in order to retain the best employees. Until employers are able to reward employees with salary increases and bonuses, however, incentives like restaurant gift cards, comp time or other inexpensive rewards, when given with praise, are good alternatives for boosting employee morale.
Beth Shumate is a freelance writer and full-time tourism communications manager whose over 25 years of writing experience includes news reporter, magazine contributor and software documentation writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Henderson State University in Arkansas, and proudly became a Texan in 1987.