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Reading into writing:

You recently attended a talk by a motivational speaker on how to improve staff morale. Write a
review of the talk for your human resources manager:

i) summarising the key points of the talk

ii) evaluating how far you agree with them and

iii) proposing what steps could be taken by your company to maintain staff morale

Employees down in the dumps? Here are a few ideas for turning things around
Hows worker morale these days? Depends on who you ask.

A recent Gallup poll found a startling 70% of workers either hate their jobs or are completely
disengaged. Most observers blame the economy: Businesses are short staffed, everyone is
overworked, and no one can remember their last raise.

But others see it differently. The 2012 Workforce Retention Survey by the American Psychological
Association says that 67% of employees stay in their current jobs because they enjoy the work.

While the surveys may diverge, business owners typically know for themselves whether their
employees are loving or hating their work. Either way, a big percent say morale is a top priority. In a
recent Robert Half poll, one in five business owners said maintaining morale and productivity was
their top priority.

Gift cards and plaques help, as do spontaneous thank-you awards. (And you can even give tax
free.) But here are some other ways you may not have thought of to boost morale today.

1. Give them the power

At HourlyNerd in Boston, "weve found that employees are motivated by ownership of their work,
says co-CEO Robert Biederman. Rather than tell our employees what to do on a given series of
tasks, we begin by asking them what they think is ideal. We allow our sales force to craft their own
outbound emails, select their sales targets, and report in on their own performance. Our basic
philosophy is that self-directed employees -- subject to proper monitoring and oversight -- are far
happier employees.

2. Send them home

At SaaS startup BambooHR in Provo, Utah, all employees work a 40-hour week, period. The
founders have a firm policy of no more than 40 hours per week for all employees because [we]
believe in trading a manageable workweek for greater loyalty, focus, and productivity, says co-
founder Ryan Sanders. Employees report being happier, more focused, and more willing to be
productive during work hours because they know theyll never be asked to work more than 40 hours
in a week. They respect the companys acknowledgement that they arent drones fit to be worked to

3. Introduce them to guests

A little acknowledgement goes a long way. Sometimes recognition can be as simple as an
introduction, says Mike Topa, a corporate advisor in South Bend, Indiana. When taking guests on a
company tour, for instance, stop by employees stations for a quick greeting. Describe the persons
career, maybe share an anecdote. This can go a long way toward validating workers, helping them
to feel more like part of the team.
4. Give together
Lots of businesses make donations to non-profit groups, partly as a feel-good measure to boost
morale. To help people feel even better, engage them in the giving, says Patty DeDominic, COO and
chief catalyst of business-coaching firm Maui Mastermind in Santa Barbara, California. Ask them
which charity you should give a special gift to and when to place that donation. Team members who
volunteer for groups usually love to hand-carry checks to their favorite causes. It is good business
and reinforces the prestige of your employee in the community, too.

5. Go away
Among small business owners, one of the most widely touted morale-boosters is the off-site lunch.
While the measures named above are generally free, this one can cost a few dollars, but supporters
say it is worth it. By getting off site, employees get a break from the work routine. They engage each
other as individuals, talking through problems and laying out a vision for what is to come. It doesnt
have to be a lavish corporate retreat. Sometimes the best way to make work fulfilling and productive
is to walk away from it for a while.

The high cost of low morale

The Gallup Organization estimates that there are 22 million actively disengaged employees
costing the American economy as much as $350 billion dollars per year in lost productivity
including absenteeism, illness, and other problems that result when employees are unhappy
at work.
According to a 2009 Gallup poll, only 50 percent of employees surveyed said they were
"completely satisfied" with the level of recognition they received at work.
About 40 percent of employees in the U.S. let personal finances and other issues affect their
performance in the workplace.
77% of employees agree that health and wellness programs positively impact the culture at
In this years SHRM survey, employees were only moderately engaged (3.6) on a scale of 1
to 5, where 5 is highly engaged.

Employees identified these factors as their top 10 most important contributors to their job

Job security: 63%, for the fourth consecutive year, as the top most important determinant of
job satisfaction. (67% of employees are very satisfied or satisfied with their job security.)
Opportunities to Use Skills and Abilities: 62%. (74% are satisfied or very satisfied in their
Organizations Financial Stability: 55%. (63% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
Relationship with Immediate Supervisor: 55%. (73% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
Compensation: 54%. (61% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
Benefits: 53%. (65% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
Communication between Employees and Senior Management: 53% (54% are satisfied or
very satisfied.)
The Work Itself: 53%. (76% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
Autonomy and independence: 52%. (69% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
Managements Recognition of Employee Performance: 49%. (57% are satisfied or very
Feeling Safe at Work: 48%. (78% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
Overall Corporate Culture: 46%. (60% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
Flexibility for Work-Life Balance: 38%. (65% are satisfied or very satisfied.)
Relationships with Coworkers: 38%. (76% are satisfied or very satisfied.)