Low Staff Morale?
The publishing industry is feeling the effects of the economic recession, and keeping your employees motivated amid significant budget cuts and layoffs can be a tall order. Still, with the right attitude and a few important actions, you can help your workers engage and even thrive in their jobs. The first key action is to set the proper emotional tone.
“You have to show leadership,” says Helen Berman, president of The Helen Berman Corp. “You may be scared to death, but once you walk into the office, everyone is taking your emotional temperature. Word goes out instantly on how the publisher is doing, and people take their cue from that.”
Louise Kiernan, client services director for corporate-talent development company Sherwood Learning Solutions in Fairfield, N.J., agrees that a confident and welcoming attitude from management is critical. “It’s the manager [who] makes [people] feel like they want to come to work every day,” she says. “And how they motivate people is to make [the employees’] day-to-day work as satisfying and rewarding as possible.”
Acknowledge the Challenges
As gloom and doom saturates the daily news, publishers need to be honest with their staff about the state of the company both fiscally and organizationally. “Acknowledge the elephant in the room, because employees are not stupid,” says Kiernan. “They know that times are difficult, and if you don’t acknowledge that, anything you say after that will
Not surprisingly, employees are worried about their jobs and want reassurance, says Bob Olree, publisher of MAN-Modern Applications News. “If employees see a downward trend of things happening, they definitely become concerned and worried about their own jobs,” he says. “Be sincere and open. Be a real person to them.”
However, revealing less-than-stellar news to employees needs a balanced approached, says Berman. “You don’t want to be Pollyanna and tell everyone that everything is OK, because they know it’s not,” she says. “And you don’t want to be Chicken Little either. You have to take a realistic assessment of what’s going on.”