Companies are taking steps to boost employee morale

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To offset the effects of a sagging economy, companies are taking steps to boost employee morale, a new survey finds. Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said they are implementing strategies to buoy the mood of their teams. However, not all employers have jumped on the bandwagon - more than one in four (26 percent) executives said their firms aren't doing anything to improve morale.

The most common way businesses are attempting to raise workplace morale is through increased and improved communication, cited by 37 percent of respondents. Also of note, nearly one in five (18 percent) CFOs said their companies have offered their employees additional financial awards.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance, and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States.

CFOs were asked, "In the past 12 months, what steps, if any, has your company taken to improve employee morale?" Their responses*:

Increased frequency, quality of communication 37%
Offered additional financial rewards 18%
Provided additional professional development opportunities 18%
Conducted additional team-building activities 18%
Enhanced employee recognition programs 15%
No steps taken 26%

* Multiple responses allowed; 68 percent of CFOs said their companies have taken steps to improve employee morale

"Employee motivation should be a continual priority for businesses, but in a period of economic uncertainty, managers need to invest even more time and effort into maintaining team morale," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Motivating Employees For Dummies. "Companies that work diligently to keep their top performers engaged improve their chances to retain these key contributors."

Messmer noted, "Professionals crave information about the company's performance and their own job stability. When there is little or sporadic communication from the company, employees are more likely to fill in the blanks themselves, perhaps by jumping to negative conclusions."

He added that although financial rewards are a powerful motivational tool, not all incentives have to involve an expense. "There are many cost-free ways to improve the mood in the office, including offering public praise, adopting flexible schedules when appropriate, and even soliciting employees for their business development and cost-savings ideas."

For more ideas about how to improve morale and avoid common management pitfalls, request a free copy of The 30 Most Common Mistakes Managers Make in an Uncertain Economy.

About the Survey
The national study was developed by Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies from all segments are represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of the number of employees within each region.

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