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The crisis of low morale can hit its boiling point if staff is not given enough incentives to induce job satisfaction (OECD, 1999). Furthermore, if the proper incentives are not given at the beginning of a person’s employment at a company, the result could be a corporate environment in which it is difficult to regain morale. A trigger for this low morale is poor relationships between management and employees, because the workers blame the management for the poor incentive strategy (OECD, 1999). Staff can also be concerned with a lack of ability for them to grow with the company. Incentives need to be given to employees when they are hired so they will perform well for the duration of their employment.
When the company has failed to provide adequate incentives, and management realizes a lack of productivity or other issues with the employees, the HR team and upper management need to meet and hear the concerns from staff (OECD, 1999). After this point, it is time to implement a strategy to address the problems. Note that an incentives strategy cannot be implemented overnight, as it needs prolonged application to change the culture within the company, but added incentives are typically successful at fixing most problems within the corporate culture (OECD, 1999).

Small incentives can make a major difference, such as making coffee and tea to get employees raring to go in the morning. This strategy not only wakes the employees up, it also says to them that management cares about their well-being. When there is no interaction, or only negative interaction between management and the regular staff, morale can suffer significantly. Other incentives, such as recognition of birthdays, generally treating employees with respect, treating employees to lunch, checking in to see how members of staff are doing, and standing up for employees. Another effective way to improve the morale of the staff through incentives is to improve the working environment. “Being uncomfortable and isolated from the world is bad and it makes employees feel like they’re lost in the machine of business. Adding comfortable office chairs or desks is a great way to make them feel a bit better, and doing away with harsh lighting helps brighten their day,” (OECD, 1999). While these might be considered small incentives, they do not cost a lot, and they can provide employees with enough motivation to continue to do their job well, thus avoiding a lack of job satisfaction.

However, before implementing the incentives, a critical assessment of the situation is necessary. Without taking this action, there will be no concreteness as to what is going on. This is why customized surveys that target the issues that have already been identified need to be undertaken. The questions included in the survey should be about the amount of satisfaction employees feel at their jobs, improvements they would like, any changes they have seen over the years of employment and the enthusiasm they feel for their jobs, for example. From here, a plan of action can be formulated based on the fact that all issues have culminated into low morale, which will be the focus of attention.

In developing a plan to create enough benefits to induce job satisfaction there is the need to have proper leadership, and this will be at the center of the company’s focus. The HR staff will work closely with the rest of the company’s leadership team to address addressing any issues by creating an incentives strategy to facilitate employee satisfaction. A one-day workshop that will focus on bringing the leaders to the same page should be executed. This will allow all stakeholders in building the company’s morale to be on the same page. This is an important step in moving forward with the implementation of the incentives plan. Incentives is a concern that many members of the leadership team at organizations not take seriously enough after the surveys that are completed about job satisfaction.

It is important that leaders take the concerns of the staff seriously, in order to address any concerns before they escalate into overall low morale. This survey provides a starting point for the process of determining the main concerns of the employees, but a more far-reaching survey that focuses on the specifics is needed in order to develop the best course of action possible. Management needs to execute a reward system for employees. This should include recognition for time spent with the company as an employee. The recognition should also be initiated if someone has made another special achievement related to their work. These rewards could be in the form of a cash bonus, a raise, promotion or time off could be forms of recognition that will have employees striving to do their jobs in the best ways that they can. When they make a special accomplishment, they will feel appreciated, and this could help retain quality employees for the long term. The employees would also feel that what they are doing is being closely observed by management, whether it is for better or worse. This means that management will take note of people who show up late for work or who do not show up at all. Furthermore, when employees see how hard their co-workers are working, they will feel like they should be keeping pace with them. Once this type of activity begins, it can catch on quickly throughout the company. It should also be noted that reward systems are in place at other companies, and executing such a strategy improves overall employee satisfaction.

But this rewards strategy does not recognize employees who are going through internal conflict. Conflict coaching needs to be used for employees who are having a hard time getting along with leaders. This relationship is often a main problem with the way operations are carried out at many companies. Executive coaching is an incentive that proves to be an effective tool to get employees and management working together. It can also be applied to employees who are having issues with each other. The company should hire an outside consultant who is a professional conflict coach, in order to ensure relations in the company are smoothed over. If an agreement cannot be made with the parties, then it is possible that rescheduling can occur and that ensures two people who are at odds are not working together.

Case Study 1
One of the main concerns about low job satisfaction is the high amount of work that each employee needs to perform. Often, no matter the incentives, job satisfaction cannot be accomplished without addressing low morale. O’Donnell (2012) conducted a study at the York Care Centre, Centre of Excellence in Aging Care at New Brunswick on “Staffing for Excellence in Long Term Care.” In her study she pointed out that it is the responsibility of the leadership team to increase the staffing levels for safety reasons and to improve employee morale. O’Donnell (2012) highlighted some factors that impacted staffing levels and staff mix. These were the care that required continuous monitoring and increased workload such as the use of least restraints, medication administration, and an in-depth knowledge on case mix-diagnosis, and equipment (O’Donnell, 2012). Staffing levels are to be increased to better manage the care of residents with complex problems which includes managing challenging and aggressive behaviours of residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (O’Donnell, 2012). At the same time, it was determined that low job satisfaction was leading to unsafe care, and increasing staffing levels was necessary to address the low job satisfaction. In such situations, the leadership team implemented strategies to support and assist staff with managing aggressive residents such as non-violent crisis intervention training, and a code white system (O’Donnell, 2012).The team ensured adequate education/training resources for staff to work to their full capacity and scope of practice as well as played critical role in planning, implementation and evaluating staff mix decisions (O’Donnell, 2012). This addressed the issues related to low job satisfaction.

Case Study 2
The employees at Home Depot are often hired because they have an understanding of what it takes to maintain the home or make additions, and the box store has been noted for its high job satisfaction. This might not be a coincidence. When a customer visits Home Depot, they often have many questions for the customer service representatives (Ghigliotty, 2012). The employees are marketed by the company as caring about the customers’ needs, and often the employees feel valuable because they are given the freedom to use their passion to advise customers about their renovation and construction projects. The staff usually knows how to help the customer become more informed about their project. The Home Depot is the biggest leader in its field and that is likely because of the positive attitude portrayed by the staff (Renni, n.d.).

The staff is trained rigorously in providing determined customer support. The staff are trained in a large facility that is meant to drum up the attitude towards customer support. The person training the staff says that the staff should be able to detect any kind of doubt that the customer may be having about their purchase, and this free reign they are given, provides a level of respect, and an incentive to become an active member in the outcome of the company (Ghigliotty , 2012). The customer service representatives are told by what looks to be a motivational speaker that they are working for the best company in the world. They are told that their positions are a great career opportunity, and they have the potential to grow with the firm as it continues to rapidly expand. That provides a major incentive for the staff to perform their jobs well, (Ghigliotty, 2012).

Works Cited
Ghigliotty, D. (2012). The Home Depot Road to the Top. HR Insider. 

Hartog, L. (2008, April 28). “15 Ways to Boost Employee Morale.” HR World.

O’Donnell, R. (2012). Staffing for excellence in long-term care. Centre of Excellence in    Aging Care. York Care Centre.

OECD (1999), Benefit Systems and Work Incentives 1999, OECD Publishing.
doi: 10.1787/benwork_incent-1999-en

Renni. (n.d.). The Home DepotSlideshare.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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