Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen
Marketplace Scratch Pad

Work’s a bummer

Scott Jagow Nov 18, 2009

This may come as no surprise, but workplace morale is low. While grateful to have a job, many employees are dispirited by their bigger workloads, longer hours and smaller paychecks.

Reuters has the results of a new survey:

Among workers, two out of five had trouble staying motivated at work in the last year and a quarter do not feel loyal to their employer, according to the survey of employers and workers for CareerBuilder.com, an online jobs site.

Asked what could be contributing to low morale, two in five workers said stress levels were high, and about half said their workload has increased in the last six months.

“Low morale levels are an unfortunate side effect of this recession,” said Jason Ferrara, vice president of corporate marketing for CareerBuilder, in a statement.

And the result may be, that at a time when the economy needs a kick, productivity is suffering. So what should companies do? Okay, aside from hiring again. Obviously that would help, but let’s go beyond that.

Computerworld addresses this subject for its IT audience:

IT leaders should focus their teams on the future, not on layoffs and other past cost-cutting measures, says management consultant Jon Gordon, author of The Shark and the Goldfish: Positive Ways to Thrive During Waves of Change.

“Talk about where you’re going,” Gordon says. “Start with your North Star. Rally everyone to that vision: Here’s our goal, and here’s where we’re going as a team and a company. And then invite everyone to partake in that. Meet individually with people to ask how they can contribute to that vision and how, as a manager, you can help them contribute to that vision.”

Is this really the time to bring out the “vision” thing? Or is that just noise?

Other suggestions: promoting fun, doling out small incentives, creating more learning opportunities, offering flex time, helping workers prioritize.

Do those things work? If you have recent experience with morale issues, please share…

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.