Morale, Psychology and Small Business; How to Make It Work
How many small business owners actually think strategically about employee morale? Who actually sits around and thinks about the affects of outside influence to the efficiency and productivity of a company?
Psychology in business is an important and often ignored aspect of the overall health of a business. A business owner or manager cannot open the yellow pages and look up a Business Psychologist and, if you could, what kind of couch would he have for a company?
Business Psychology, while similar to generally accepted Psychology, is actually quite a bit different. Imagine working with one, two, ten, or fifty individuals in a business environment to resolve the myriad of issues including, but not limited to, different personalities, egos, and talent. How does a person begin to address Morale or the Psychology of an office or business?
Through many efficiency projects, we have learned that people can address similar issues in different ways. In fact, we found that people can have as many as six different approaches to resolving a single problem, each approach is affected by outside influences such as other employees, customers or vendors, family issues, personal physical feelings, personal emotional issues, or mandated policy and procedure.
The best way to address Morale and maintain a healthy Business Psychology is through structure. Unfortunately many small businesses do not have a lot of structure, so there becomes a need to manage the Change Process that can alone have a dramatic affect on Morale and the psychological health of the business.
Businesses that have little to no structure (Policy and Procedure) open themselves up to a wide range of issues across the board, all of which can cause low employee morale and deep business psychological scars. For example, if an employee does not have a structured way to deal with a customer complaint or vendor issue, his current emotional state will likely dictate his or her approach to dealing with the issue. Instead of being centered emotionally by standardization, the emotions will be conveyed to the third party, potentially affecting future business. If the issue is internal, employees can become at odds with one another and resentment or hurt can interfere with future business efficiency or operations.
While structure will not take away a person’s individualism or solve the personal issues we all carry on a day to day basis, structure provides a baseline to complete our daily work tasks and address surprise issues in a manner that help to even out our current state of mind when it is influenced by something external or through a third party.
If you already have Morale issues in your company, structure can help to resolve much of the problems being faced. Time and time again we have seen an office environment where structure is lacking, more than one personality conflict between employees or worse, between employees and customers or vendors. Structure creates a set of rules or procedures that allows people to check their emotions when dealing with business issues. The most amazing residual aspect of the implementation of Structure, is the leveling out of Morale issues within the organization as the employees begin to fall back on the Policy and Procedures to resolve the day to day business issues, subverting the knee jerk reactions caused by emotions dictated by the personal day to day issues faced by the employees.
What is even more apparent during an introduction of Structure into an organization facing Morale issues within its ranks or with third parties, is that over a period of three to six weeks following the implementation of the Structure, overall Morale is improved markedly and in many cases the efficiency of the company is increased, costs are lowered, and revenues are many times increased.
Structure does not eliminate all the issues in a company nor does it resolve all Morale or Psychological issues within the organization. However, it sets a foundation for management to begin to control how business is conducted and helps the employees to understand what is expected. It also sets the stage for continued process improvement and an ability to introduce additional Structure into the organization, minimizing the overall affects of change in the future.