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10 Ways to Kill Employee Morale

written by: Vikas Vij•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 11/20/2010

No management wants to hurt its own interests, but many times it can happen unintentionally. Here are 10 sure ways to kill employee morale that every management must beware of.

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    Killing Employee Motivation One of the most important responsibilities of management is to maintain high employee morale even through challenging times. However, in absence of a fair understanding of employee psychology and motivation techniques, managements may tend to act unintentionally in certain ways which can hurt employee morale instead of boosting it. The following is a list of 10 sure ways to kill employee morale.

    1. Promise Too Much, Deliver Too Little

    Transparency and honesty is critical to maintaining employee loyalty and commitment. At the time of hiring and also at later stages during transfers, promotions or changes in job description, the management should make only realistic promises of career growth, pay raise and perquisites that it can fulfill. Otherwise, frustration and discord can set in the employee’s mind about the management’s lack of integrity.

    2. Hire Outsiders instead of Internal Promotions

    When there are fit candidates for promotion within the organization, it can be a serious mistake to hire outsiders for that position. At the very least, the existing employees should be given a fair and equal opportunity to compete with the outsiders for the position, purely on the basis of merit.

    3. Promote Favoritism and Personal Prejudices

    All employees must be treated as an equal part of the family. If the managers or departmental heads begin to play favorites or allow their judgment to be clouded by personal biases or prejudices, it is another one of the ways to kill employee morale throughout the organization over a period of time.

    4. Impose Illogical Rules

    The business organization of today is expected to be rational, liberal and democratic if it must succeed in a competitive environment. If the management imposes rules and regulations that are not logically justifiable, it can destroy the morale of the employees.

    5. Be Greedy and Unfair with Sharing Profits

    If the company is doing well in terms of growth and profitability, it is imperative to share the success with the key employees who are responsible for it. But a management with a myopic vision may decide to act greedy or unfair with employee incentives, which can boomerang on the company’s success over a period of time.

    6. Be Insensitive to Employee Needs

    A business organization that lacks the human touch can never expect to have highly motivated employees even if it is the best paymaster in the industry. Human beings have other needs apart from money, and the organization must be sensitive to such needs of basic human respect, care and concern for the employees’ welfare and job satisfaction.

    7. Stifle Creativity and Innovativeness

    One of the sure ways to kill employee morale is to create a stifling environment where the employees are forced to do as directed all the time. Inflexibility and lack of creative freedom will ensure that the best and most creative employees of the company will leave at the first opportunity.

    8. Use Distrust as the Basic Premise instead of Trust

    Great organizations are built on a foundation of intrinsic human trust. But if the management has created a culture of distrust where every act of the employees is looked at with suspicion, it can create widespread discontentment within the organization.

    9. Ignore Employee Conflict

    In a multi-cultural, competitive and highly stressful business environment it is natural to have incidence of conflict between individuals as well as teams or departments. The management must have a mechanism to deal effectively with conflict otherwise the overall result can be negative for the morale of the organization.

    10. Poor Communication with Employees

    If there is a lack of communication between the employees and the management, it will be perceived as the arrogance of the management. Instead of enhancing employee morale, it can foster an atmosphere of fear instead of a healthy and democratic relationship between the employees and management. It is another certain way to kill employee morale where the accessibility to the management is so arduous.

    Photo Credit: www.sxc.hu Ambrozio