(Inc.) — Monitor the Mood: Positive morale will help your company through tough times. Negative morale on top of a tough economy may cause the entire company to crash, says Sharon Armstrong, who wrote The Essential HR Handbook. “And I’m not so sure that people won’t bail out on a sinking ship,” she says. To gauge morale, you might try surveys and questionnaires, but these can seem tedious and impersonal. The best option is a conversation. Try for one-on-one chats with as many employees as you can, and ask detailed questions. “Build a relationship where there’s trust on either side, and you’re really going to learn the truth,” Armstrong says.