Purpose – The paper focuses on ways of tackling low staff morale in a large public‐sector organization. Design/methodology/approach – The author argues that the quality of leadership and the people‐management skills of line managers affect employee morale, yet people can feel positive about the work of their team or service but negative about the organization they work for. The paper reveals that, in addition to factors outside the organization's control, effective communications, a skilled workforce, clarity of roles and responsibilities, and a performance‐orientated culture where success is measured against targets and progress is informed by best practice, can all help to improve staff morale. Findings – Lancashire County Council, where the author is Director of Community Services, put its efforts into process reengineering – reducing paperwork, streamlining processes and delegating decisions closer to the front line, developing managers' people‐management skills and establishing a safe environment where staff had the opportunity and confidence to say what they were really thinking. Practical implications – The author advances the view that organizations introducing major change should spend more time and effort explaining why change is necessary and create more opportunities for staff to influence how changes are implemented. Originality/value – The paper provides an insider's perspective on ways of improving employee morale in a large public‐sector organization.
Human Resource Management International Digest – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 29, 2008
Keywords: Morale; Employee attitudes; Leadership; Process management; Local authorities
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