Marick Masters: Employee morale affected by Flint water crisis charges
As criminal charges continue to roll in against state employees for their involvement in the Flint water crisis, officials worry it will create employee morale issues as state workers increasingly hesitate to make important decisions. According to Wayne State University Business Professor Marick Masters, morale impacts are a predictable result of something like criminal charges hitting any organization. "Yes, it is very debilitating. It's very frightening for people, particularly when it's unclear what role the individuals might have played in the serious problems that struck, unfortunately, Flint," Masters said. Masters said there are concrete steps the state could take to move forward. The state should explain clearly what the situation was that got people into trouble; be clear about what the expectations are in situations like what led to the Flint water crisis; and, lastly, leadership "needs to reinforce the fact that employees overwhelmingly are doing their work, doing it ethically, and that they need to continue to do so and that their organization stands behind them," he said. Masters said leaders can move to support and empower employees even before charges go through. "I think the organization needs to take steps to say, to prevent any future Flints from happening this is what we need to do, and make clear what the expectations are," Masters said.