If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, then it could be said that a team is only as good as its poorest player. Competition between businesses is what makes free enterprise work, but competition within the workplace can be demoralising and debilitating. When everyone pulls together, productivity improves and motivation increases. And when motivation increases, productivity improves further.
Bad management can take on a whole variety of guises, but it is almost always unintentional. No sensible employer would deliberately create a bad atmosphere on the shop floor, yet often it is allowed to develop either due to poor management skills or just through a lack of communication. Sometimes unfortunately this goes unnoticed in the high-pressure atmosphere of the workplace, but when it does it can rapidly spread and it then becomes progressively more difficult to rectify.
Build a Sense of Belonging
It may be your company, but employees work harder if they feel they have a stake in it. Try to instil a sense of pride in your workers by making them feel valued, and where possible by rewarding good performance.
Encourage Participation in Decision-Making
Sometimes the worker at the pointed end does know best. Providing for some level of employee participation helps to generate a feeling of belonging, and of common purpose. Listen to constructive criticism, and be prepared to act on it. Remember it’s in everyone’s interests for the company to prosper.
Keep Employees in the Picture
There is nothing more demoralising for workers on the shop floor than to think they are being kept in the dark. Rumours quickly develop, and magnify. It is always a good idea to share information with the workforce if there is no good reason not to.
Low Turnover Means More Efficiency
Not only more efficiency, but also less time and money wasted on training new staff. There is a great deal of evidence which shows that companies which retain their workforce are more efficient and effective in the market. Maintaining a happy workforce leads to low turnover and thus greater productivity.
Workers who are unhappy or stressed are more likely to fall sick – or even, at the most extreme, to engage in industrial action. Either way this presents a cost to the company. It is in everybody’s interests that people turn up on time eager to work and to put in a full shift.
Be Prepared to Use Some Help
There are internal communications experts who specialise in helping businesses to improve relations with employees when they have gone off the rails. Sometimes it can be worth investing in some help, to improve the performance of your company longer term.
Some of the most fundamental problems occur when diversity within the workforce is not properly managed. Quite apart from the legal requirements, by making your company an attractive place for everybody to work you broaden your options when you need to recruit or to expand. For growth, show vision.