Under conditions of heightened competition and pressing needs for innovation, organizations need to routinely collect performance metrics. Organizations may need to track different data; such as a mining company would prefer to measure how much iron or coal they are digging up, while a hospital needs to measure items such as average length of stay for patients. Obviously, metrics are important to know and are extremely useful in planning and forecasting in the business world. It may be a change for organizations that train management to focus their attention on performance metrics, but in the long term, focus on employee morale, employee perceptions of the organizational culture, and their perceptions of the organization leaders are also very important.
Morale is a powerful force and is something that cannot be simply through meetings, retreats, or mandated in an employee manual. A lack of pride and motivation will be an undermining force that can actually work against the organization’s goals. Giving the employees a voice and allowing their input for all levels of the manufacturing of a product of service can work wonders for morale improvement. Employees should be involved in the creation of a service or products at multiple levels, and usually have good ideas how to do things better or more efficiently. Allowing them to earn fair wages is also helpful. Providing employee some benefits such as flexible working hours & schedules, and simply working around their lives can also carry a lot of weight. An employee base that is currently experiencing low morale problems will not likely come up with many new innovations and ideas and may miss future opportunities as a result.
Leaders and managers should also focus on building a positive culture within the company. What do the employees think and feel about the company is one question that must be asked on all levels. Does the culture foster employee development and collaboration? Does it encourage racial and gender diversity? If the culture is outdated or encourages self-serving behavior, employees will most likely adapt their behavior to what the culture of the company embraces. Is the company operating within proper ethical practices and provide environmentally responsible sustainability? Employees all have feelings and attitudes about what they consider right and wrong. With emphasis and focus on operating within proper ethical guidelines, and through fostering employee collaboration and development, a company can develop a culture that employees can really adopt as their own.
Perhaps one of the most common gripes among employees is related to criticism of company leaders and management. Management executives need to focus on their own behavior and set a model for the rest to follow. Sometimes these individuals may think they are separate from the company and take advantage of managerial perks and privileges (i.e., working less than 40 hours, golf outings when they should be working, or taking the best parking places). For an organization to develop healthy respect for its leaders, these same individuals need to set the model for everyone to follow. It is far too easy for these individuals to adopt a mindset that they earned those perks by simply being a manager or executive. These individuals, more than anyone else, need to model the way for the employees. They are role-models and their actions, whether ethical or not, will, to a certain extent, filter through the organization.
Overall, all organizations should regularly keep track of performance metrics in order to increase efficiencies and quality in the production of products or services rendered. This will allow it to determine trends and patterns and make corrections and modifications before a problem grows. However, simply focusing on performance and output is only part of the story. By also spending time and resources focusing on morale and culture, an organization will be laying down a foundation to make sure that it will not only exist in the long-term, but could potentially be an industry leader and model company for others to emulate. Obviously this topic can get in more depth, but the first step for any mission, goal, or change is to take the first step. By doing so, organizations can begin to evolve and change when necessary. Being stagnant is a recipe for failure and obscurity in the modern business world.