to a new study from
Meta Group, morale among IT workers has dipped to an all-time low, despite the
rising demand for certain skills. In a discussion,
most TechRepublic members said they’re experiencing low morale in their
companies. While some said it was due to a lack of respect for their work,
others blamed shrinking budgets and a lack of opportunity for career growth
either within or outside their companies.

We’d like
to showcase the best ways managers can reverse morale’s downward spiral. We’d
also like to illustrate the wrong ways to influence staff attitudes. If you’ve
got an entry for our Morale
Boosters Hall of Fame
or our Morale
Busters Hall of Shame
, send it to us via e-mail.

Is low morale due to internal or external factors?

Member James Schroer said morale in his
company has basically “bottomed out” due to a combination of internal
and external factors.

“Is it
internal factors? Sure we have people here that don’t do jack and management
won’t do anything about it so the rest of us have to carry their weight,”
he wrote. “And we are a small firm so basically one of the techs can pull
the plug and shut down the whole company and yet they don’t treat the techs
with any respect or praise.”

As for
external factors, Schroer said the job market offered no hope since the only
positions available meant taking a pay cut or getting out of the IT field.
“I’ve been in the IT field for a short six years and I’m burnt out
already,” he said.

Small ways to improve morale

Still, the
smallest gestures can make a huge impact on the way IT workers feel about their
work. Member David Planchon said
that he believed morale could be lifted if “management teams not only
recognized the difficulty of the times but actually allowed people to relieve
stress in the office.” He cited such perks as more “jean and t-shirt
days,” free lunches, and after-work parties as a few ways management could
perk up workers’ attitudes. He also said better communication and fewer
“secrets,” would improve the situation.

worked at Ford Motor Company for a while between the Jack Nasser and Bill Ford
transition,” he wrote. “One thing the execs started doing to re-create
a bond between the workers and the VIPs was to have execs write a little story
every week about how they got there, who they were, what they liked. Amazingly
enough when those letters hit our Inboxes things in the office seemed to cool
down a bit for a while. It would distract us from the insanity surrounding us.”

Send us your best and worst examples

Help us create
our Morale
Boosters Hall of Fame
and Morale
Busters Hall of Shame
to showcase the best and worst ways managers have affected
staff spirits. If you or your manager has significantly boosted morale through
a simple upgrade, relaxation of rules, or addition of a perk, tell
us about it
. Likewise, if you or your manager has goofed and lowered the
morale of your staff, tell
us via e-mail
. Feel free to use pseudonyms to protect the guilty or
innocent. We’ll publish the best and worst for all to see.