By Cheryl Hyatt

As a manager and a supervisor, you might not be privy to some of the workplace chatter that could best clue you in to office morale. So how can you take the pulse of how your employees are doing and if you need to address problems? Here is a breakdown on what to watch for and what to do.

Three signs:

  1. Frequent turnover. Has employee tenure shrunk? Are long-time employees leaving and new hires not sticking around? While some staff attrition is normal, a spike is a key indicator to notice.
  2. Burnout. Are the employees who are sticking around stressed? Are tempers quick and employees exhausted, physically or emotionally?
  3. Decreased productivity. Are your employees becoming apathetic when they used to be engaged? If you’ve seen a downturn in output or get a sense that employees are phoning it in, it’s important to find out why.

Three solutions:

  1. Conduct regular performance reviews. Performance reviews should not be neglected or become rote rituals. Properly done, performance reviews are opportunities for both parties to express what they see and their desires for the future. Provide your employees with specific and open-ended questions on how they feel about a specific department, your management style, any concerns they have, and any areas in which they’d like to grow.
  2. Conduct exit interviews. Once an employee decides to leave, he or she is a valuable source of information and is often willing to share. Ask questions about what worked well, what needed improvement, and why the person is leaving. Encourage them to be honest, and phrase your questions in a way that will allow them to be open.
  3. Say “thank you.” We all appreciate being noticed for the work we do. Make a point to thank one employee a day either in person, by email, or in a note. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or involved. A simple message saying, “Your dependability with [fill in the appropriate blank here; for example, the quarterly report] strengthens our department.” This type of statement helps an employee know that his or her ongoing contributions are noticed and valued.

Cheryl Hyatt is a partner, Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search, Conway, Pennsylvania (;

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