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Increasing employee morale is more achievable than some companies realize

Written on Mar 7, 2024

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

While increasing retention and employee morale might seem like a moving target to employers, it’s about recognizing individuality and a willingness to adapt, said two talent experts.  

“Employers need to adjust and adapt to meet the needs of their employees,” said Andrea Applegate, principal at Applegate Talent Strategies. “There is also an importance of that individual relationship between the direct supervisor of the employee, and for companies to support those supervisors so those individuals can support their staff.”  


Applegate and Lora Fish, principal at Applegate Talent, will present at the April 18th Strategic Finance and Accounting Conference on increasing morale and workforce longevity. They’ll cover the available workforce, its needs, how those needs have evolved over the years, and how supervisors can support and cultivate strong relationships with those people. Those strong relationships correlate into engagement and retention, Applegate said.  

There have been attitudinal changes in the workforce that vary among different generations, Fish said. Those differences are important to understand as employers consider what solutions to try to increase retention. 

Autonomy and flexibility are essential to today’s workers, Applegate said, and it doesn’t necessarily mean hybrid work. It could be more about responsibility and accountability for work outcomes, rather than face time in the office.  

One of the disconnects Fish regularly sees is when managers don’t consider the full range of options that are available to make their staff happy. This is especially true at larger companies, where there is often an overarching set of rules the managers are working within. But it’s worth exploring alternative choices to see how they can be flexible to make individual employees happier before they look for another job.    

Policies and practices have to be scrutinized, Fish said, to prevent the organization from creating unintentional barriers. 

“There are policies that can get in the way,” she said. “But the actual implementation of changes really comes through those individual leaders and those individual relationships.”  

Fish stressed the importance of these relationships and listening to the individual. One person might want to leave because of salary, but another person could be staying because of salary. 

Register today for the Strategic Finance and Accounting Conference!

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