Promising Practices

Stewart Liff | May 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

So, What Will It Take to Improve Morale?

Robert Kneschke/

It seems everywhere managers are trying to find ways to improve morale within their organizations, and the federal government is no exception. While the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey indicates there are plenty of opportunities for improvement, it’s troubling that morale appears to be waning.               

So, what can be done to improve morale? Essentially, there are two options: Better manage within the existing work design, or change the design.

Managers should focus on two key areas: Connecting employees to the organization’s mission and examining the way managers treat employees.

Connecting Employees to the Mission

The best incentive the government has is its noble mission. Responses to the FEVS make it clear that employees take great pride in their respective missions because they want to be part of something special. Unfortunately, workload pressures, poor management systems and politics cause feds to feel that they are only there to “produce numbers.” Subsequently, they become disconnected from the mission. From their perspective, merely “producing numbers” is not what they signed up for.

Some effective ways to connect employees to the mission include:

Improving the Way You Manage

Perhaps the biggest complaint among government employees involves the way leaders run their organizations. Many employees feel managers are not serious about delivering outstanding performance, do not treat them as professionals and are unwilling to proactively address the tough stuff. Some key ideas for managers tackling employee morale issues include:

Stewart Liff is a fellow with The Performance Institute, specializing in human resources management, visual performance management and team development. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including Managing Government Employees and A Team of Leaders. He can be reached at

(Image via Robert Kneschke/