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Getting all involved a morale booster

Democrat & Chronicle Newspaper, August 28, 2012
While the famed refrain in Woody Guthrie’s song, “This Land is Your Land,” has inspired many feelings of national pride, when the same sentiment is applied to the workplace — this work is your work, this work is my work — a less desirable outcome may result.

Combined effort is the operational model for most business endeavors. Yet an undercurrent of morale-eroding discontent may be festering beneath the surface when employees subordinate their individual talents for the sake of company objectives or when there is perceived inequity regarding time and effort invested in completing a project.

Yes, teamwork goes a long way toward building a cohesive work entity, but is it always imperative to sacrifice individual recognition for the sake of the greater good? A cursory glance at political systems that have insisted on this ethos more than hint at the soul-numbing effect this modus operandi can have.

Perhaps a combined approach is best. Offering employees opportunities for individual recognition can help to balance the less desirable consequences of a committee-think business routine. Or, in the words of Bob Dylan in “Mr. Tambourine Man,” it affords them the opportunity to “dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free.”

Certainly, rotating managerial responsibilities may not always be the best way to fulfill company obligations and not every employee is ready to oversee a critical project. However, providing employees the opportunity to showcase their unique talents can be a significant morale booster.

Tapping into “soft” activities such as a company-sponsored talent show or a farewell roast for a departing employee are two suggested ways employees can display seldom-used talents. And it’s a quick and easy recipe for increased employee satisfaction.

Hisiger is a freelance writer whose passion is writing about people and the arts. To contact her:  arlene@wordtailor.net