What We Hear on the Street: Confirmed! – Recent economic turmoil is having a significant negative impact on company morale

A recent survey (McKinsey Quarterly June 2009) of over 1,400 global executives from a broad mix of businesses revealed that 96% of all respondents felt that there has been a reduction of employee morale as the result of (global) economic turmoil. Further, nearly 40% of all respondents believe that the reduction in morale has been significant. What do you think? Answer our anonymous survey.


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We would have been surprised to see a different result from the McKinsey survey, but we are somewhat surprised by the extreme negative impact on overall morale seen by these executives. It is highly likely that your company is also suffering from some reduction in morale over the last year.

How to address morale problems? We think this two-step approach is always a good prescription for a CEO or senior executive:

  • Communicate—Tell your staff and employees what is going on in the business and what is being done to fight this recession thing. Do not be afraid to tell them bad news. If they believe they are in the same boat with you, they will fight harder for you and pick their heads up to look around for a better route, even in bad weather.
  • Touch—Get out of your office and go out in the work space, plants and shops and talk with employees. Show them you take an interest in their welfare and you personally care enough to spend 5 minutes talking about their machine, project, what bothers them or yesterday’s baseball game. In my experience, talking with or greeting folks where they work will put a smile on their face long after you have stepped away. Do you know how few executives do this?
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