Tackling tough problems – improving staff morale

The executive manager shook his head. “I don’t know what to do. The annual staff survey results aren’t good. Staff morale is falling.”

It wasn’t the first year. Morale had fallen in previous surveys.

What should they do? At that point nobody knew. The answer lay in the process, rather than the solution.

The engagement process included:

  • Exploring the issues raised – by asking more deeply about what had caused the results
  • Understanding the impact of the results on staff – what did it mean to them, in their working days
  • Having staff develop ideas that would bring about change
  • An EOI was called for staff representatives to working groups 
  • Staff representatives were provided with a budget and the support to drive the changes they thought were important
  • Staff representatives reported to management on progress

The result? Within 9 months, staff morale improved by 40 percentage points. The program was so successful it was rolled out more widely and created a wealth of innovations that were trialled. 

The changes were exciting:

  • Improved staff morale
  • New ways of thinking about how the organisation could run
  • New ways of managing and leading

Improving staff morale doesn’t need a big budget or unlimited resources, it needs willingness and a commitment on all levels to drive change where it matters most.

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