Boosting Staff Morale

  1. Hi!

    Anyone out there have any suggestions on how to boost staff morale at work? I am trying at my LTC facility but it seems like everyone has a miserable attitude. I really dislike working with people who constantly belly-ache about everything and anything that is happening in their workplace yet they won't support their fellow co-workers or even themselves and let the manager know. Heck, they won't even come to the scheduled staff meetings. Out of 50ish employees, maybe 4 show up for the meetings.

    I was asking staff last night about things they wanted to see dealt with and I wrote a letter in regards to it so they would be addressed on the meeting agenda and then I encouraged these staff members to come to the meeting. I got responses like:

    "Why should I bother?...I'm not getting paid for it
    "I'm not driving 1/2 hr for a stupid meeting"
    "Nothing gets accomplished at these meetings"
    Nah, I have better things to do with my time"

    It was sad and frustrating at the same time. They sure were willing to tell ME about what they wanted to see addressed but weren't prepared to come to the meeting and address it themselves.

    Does anyone have any advice? People like this can really knock staff spirits down a few notches...I don't want to lose my spirit! Please help~
  2. Visit gizzy76 profile page

    About gizzy76

    Joined: Apr '02; Posts: 131; Likes: 1
    Registered Nurse


  3. by   itsme
    For our staff meetings, we get 2 hours of pay, whether it is a 30 minute meeting or 2 hour one, of course if it is longer than 2 hours, we get the full amount of pay. This of course is negotiated in our union contract. Staff morale is way down at the LTC where I work too. I find that if management would say "thank you" once in a while, or at some minute point in time, find something positive to tell the staff it would work miracles! We of course dont ever hear the positive, just the negative. Try a positive approach and maybe that will help!
  4. by   BBFRN
    1.) If I wasn't getting paid for it, I probably wouldn't attend, either. How much time are these people already spending at work? Never mind coming in on their own time without getting paid for it.

    2.)Why not schedule the meetings around shift change time? Our boss does this, and at least she's showing good faith by coming in early or staying late to work the meetings in around the schedules of people who are already there. This way a smaller number of people have to come in on their own time. Or she will type up a memo, put it in our mailboxes, and have us sign that we have read it.

    3.) Sadly, nothing much does ever get accomplished at these meetings, at least in the places I have worked. Usually, they are gripe sessions for petty subjects, brought up by the same people who won't take matters into their own hands, or help to facilitate change, anyway.

    4.) That being said, I can see why a lot of people feel they have better ways to spend their own time. What is wrong with people telling you individually what problems they are having? Maybe when they come to you with these problems, you can ask them if they think a meeting on the subject would help? Not saying you don't already do this.

    If nothing is being accomplished in the staff meetings, people do catch on to this, and they do begin to feel the things you have mentioned above. If the meetings only serve to give you a feel of what's going on on the floors, maybe spend some time there to see for yourself (if you're not already doing that).
  5. by   renerian
    Your staff are not getting paid? That is odd. Are they mandatory? In Ohio if you make something mandatory you have to pay them. That would lead to better moral.

  6. by   live4today
    Pay them and they will come!
  7. by   nimbex
    goto the library and borrow "how to make meetings work" if you wish to head a group, who works in the meeting style, it is a must!!!!

    it teaches how to deal with EVERY type of person, and end up with a productive meeting along with teaching many styles of meetings to taylor them to your personalities.

    If you are proficient at keeping meetings moving along, allowing everyone to voice opinions without being attacked and draw out the quiet person, the 4 that attend will spread the word.... than a few more, few more will come.....

    you can do it, it takes some learning and prep first.

    wish you the best, we need people like you who want to resolve, fix and take part in nursing, even better is the manager that allows this to foster.
  8. by   gizzy76
    Thanks for the input! I am not heading the meeting, just planning on attending one to see what happens at them. I have no problem voicing concerns for other staff members. I also wish we would get paid for it too, but they are not mandatory meetings. Just ones that are held every month. I guess I'll see what happens next week and maybe I too, will change my mind on them.
    Thanks again.
  9. by   ainz
    I blieve "itsme's" reply demonstrates that simply paying people will not motivate them to attend a meeting nor will it motivate them to make real change. If you review some literature on the things that contribute to job satisfaction you will find that pay is not number 1, or even #2, but it is in the top 5. The number one is feeling like they have some control over what goes on in the workplace and how things are done. Also being recognized and rewarded (and not necessarily money) for their contribution to the organization. Things don't "get done" in a meeting. Things get done after the meeting, during the grind of the day-to-day routine. I sense that you are not in a managerial position but definitely a respected, trusted informal leader. I would suggest reviewing some material in the Quint Studer program. You can find some useful things to do to help improve morale. We started incorporating some of those principles in our hospital 2 years ago and now we have a waiting list for nursing, lab, and radiology of people wanting to come to work at our hospital because they have "heard" what a great place to work it has become. We started a service excellence program lead by the, of course, service excellence team. The CEO gave the team the responsibility and authority to do whatever was needed to have, as he put it, "happy patients, happy nurses, happy doctors." There are many many many things that can be done to improve morale if your leadership will allow it. If you came up with a plan and a program and approached them with it, I bet they would let you implement it as well.
  10. by   pickledpepperRN
    I attend those meetings, called open forums.
    A previous CEO when answering NICU nurses who told of unsafe staffing for the "growers & feeders" who often take a long time to feed suggested a competent LVN to assist with bottle feeding. His answer? "I hope you are not implying that I want the nurses to breast feed the babies."
    I let the MCH staff give him what for.
    Turns out the staffing was also outside regulations and ACOG guidelines which the union committee solved with the DON.
  11. by   renerian
    Decent pay is the base of a good place to start at........JMHO

  12. by   angelbear
    You know how they have pt reps or custumer service reps. Well why not have employee reps. I know I know that is called a union. But alot of places are nonunion and very antiunion but they may accept employee reps. that could work directly with employees on their complaints and suggestions and then work with management to problem solve. Just a thought
  13. by   jadednurse
    Originally posted by angelbear
    But alot of places are nonunion and very antiunion but they may accept employee reps. that could work directly with employees on their complaints and suggestions and then work with management to problem solve. Just a thought
    Not meaning to sound too bitter here, but isn't that what managers and assistant managers are for, to bridge the gap btwn employees and administration?
  14. by   NICU_Nurse
    In our unit, I'd give my curling iron up if our manager would come by ONE SINGLE TIME and say something positive to someone. She breezes through, doesn't stop unless she's got something to ***** about or criticize you for. When I say breezes, I mean she walks so fast by us in the morning that she'd lift my skirt if I was wearing one. Superspeedy, zipping from one side to the other, fussing at one person, then the next, and so on. It doesn't matter how clean we keep the unit, or what we do to go out of our way for, or how nice we are, or anything. The only words that come out of her mouth are negative. No "How are you all this morning?" or "Wow, the unit is spotless!" or "Everything go alright last night?". NOTHING. It's all "You forgot to do this..." or "Why didn't you do this?" or "You did this wrong and you have to stop doing it" or whatever.

    It would improve morale on OUR unit if she'd shut the hell up and treat us like hardworking adults, or, at the very least, like valuable team members (which we certainly are).

    When we approach her with ideas, suggestions, etc., she turns her hand to every single one. It's always, "No, we can't do that..." or "No, that's not going to work...". You ask why, she's got an excuse. Then, in our meetings, they actually encourage us to speak up! LOL! For what purpose? So you can tell us no again?

    As for our meetings, they're held once a month and we have to actually attend 6 in person, for which we remain on the clock until the meeting is over. The other six we read the minutes of in a large binder and have to sign off on. They're held in the mornings, at shift change, and they're alternated (days) each month so all of us can attend at least half of them.

    I'd also suggest having two meetings- one for days and one for night shifters. It's not fair to always make the night shifters stay late and the day people never have to do that. You could ask for suggestions and then actually IMPLEMENT some of them, no matter how small.

    We've got a reward system where if another nurse or staff member does something good, anyone can write up a little card-thing and give it to them saying what a good job they did. When you've gotten three cards you get a little pin and become a member of the Service Excellence Team. At the end of the year, all those who got three or more cards get a little treat of some kind, and get entered into a raffle for a gift basket.

    Another thing we wanted to do (but of course it was vetoed) was "How well do you know your co-workers?". We were going togive everyone a questionnaire about curious aspects of their lives, or things that most people wouldn't know about (like bizarre hobbies or collections, favorite candy or ice cream, how they met their spouse, secret desire, etc.) and then type it up and post one each month on the bulletin board. People could submit votes, and if no one could guess who it was, that person would get a prize of some sort.

    I think ultimately, though, we'd be much happier if we felt our opinions were valued and we were getting positive feedback of any sort from SOMEONE in charge. When you are treated as if you don't count, you aren't going to be very wiling to come up with new ideas or be interested in making changes.

    On the money issue, I wouldn't want more money if I was happy where I work. However, I'm not, so therefore, I do.