Typically, employee morale is dictated by a variety of factors, including: compensation, workplace culture, direct management, the type of work they perform, and recognition. Each of these attributes, as well as some smaller ones, plays a significant role in how employees feel about their jobs and work.
In general, it is desirable to have a good balance between all of the above factors, although employees place different values on each. Some may tolerate a boring job that pays a high salary (maybe a finance executive), while others will accept a low salary to do something they are passionate about (perhaps an artist). Even recognizing that employees have different value systems, when one element is missing or out of line, it could spell trouble. A company may get away with no salary increase for a year or two, but beyond that, even the wealthiest of employees will feel as though they are being treated unfairly. Similarly, a manager who forgets to say thank you once or twice may go unnoticed, but those who never recognize their employees are likely to be the subject of water cooler conversation.
It is a managers responsibility to keep a pulse on employee morale and to take compensating actions when environmental factors require doing so. For example, with the US economy currently in a recession, many companies are unable to pay bonuses or salary increases, it is even more essential that managers recognize and thank employees who are going the extra mile. Managers and leaders should consider a certificate, trophy or an award plaque when monetary compensation is limited or in addition to monetary recognition. To make the recognition more meaningful, the employee should be presented their award in the presence of their peers.
SOURCE: Neil Rader, Founder & President, TrophyCentral, Inc.
May not be reproduced without prior permission.