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How to Improve Employee Morale

How to Improve Employee Morale

These days, there is nothing more important than employee morale in the workplace. Burnout, the pandemic, and our changing lifestyles have forced morale to dip (or crash, in some cases) and we are all looking for new ways to add a little boost.

What is Employee Morale?

The perception, satisfaction, attitude, outlook, values and confidence of your team members coalesce together to create employee morale. Morale is a reflection of your company and its business culture, showcasing how your employees are supported, and lets you feel the pulse of the workplace.

When your staff feels supported, they work harder. When your employees feel valued, they invest themselves in the company.

Why is Positive Employee Morale Crucial in the Workplace?

Morale holds your team together. It is the signifier of accomplishment, the foundation that keeps your staff happy, moving, and focused. Employee morale governs retention, work performance, motivations, productivity, and communication. High morale encourages your employees to collaborate on projects and work together, it increases honesty and transparency, and it makes your staff empowered.

20 Ways to Improve Employee Morale

  • Be Transparent
  • Communicate Often
  • Use the Right Tools 
  • Give Employee Recognition
  • Get Employee Feedback
  • Help Your People Develop–Both Personally and Professionally
  • Run A Calm, Healthy & Organized Company
  • Establish a Meeting-Free Day Each Week
  • Train Your Managers to Become Better Coaches
  • Organize Team-Building Activities
  • Provide Amazing Employee Incentives
  • Encourage Genuine Breaks
  • Promote Workplace Diversity
  • Promote Work-Life Balance Among Employees
  • Let Go Of Workplace Bullies
  • Go Green With Plants in the Workspace
  • Make A Designated Decompression Room For Breaks
  • Bring Pets Into Work
  • Host in-Office Fitness Classes
  • Have Fun!

1. Be Transparent

If you notice a dip in morale in the workplace, avoiding it is not the band-aid solution you think it is. Despite any observable problems, attempting to hide these problems will only compound the issues. You need to be transparent with your staff, retaining honesty when it comes to addressing and fixing issues, providing company updates, and seeking improvements.

2. Communicate Often

Communication is the backbone of any successful business, and it follows transparency. Share with your employees the positive company turns, give them insights into emerging products, show them positive and impactful customer reviews. When you treat your employees like real human beings they will respond in kind.

Ask them:

  • How are they feeling about their job?
  • How are they feeling about their coworkers?
  • How are they feeling about their managers?
  • What challenges are they currently facing?
  • Are they happy?
  • How can you help?

Communication team building activities are a great way to get your team back on track and improve employee morale.

3. Use the Right Tools

Using the right tools doesn’t have to be complicated or come with excess training; oftentimes the right tools are already at your fingertips.

There are several ways to use the right tools to improve employee morale:

  • Recognize Your Star Staff: celebrate who you have! Showcase new hires, celebrate new milestones, create anniversary celebrations and employee spotlight moments. Let peers say what they like about one another.
  • Showcase Success: offer personal updates that bring in customers or succeed sales goals. Show your employees what the customers enjoy about the company. 
  • Celebrate Wellness: give your employees full access to physical and mental benefits, and show them that it’s okay to take a moment for themselves. Use a suggestion box, respond to feedback, and treat your employees like real people.
  • Increase Friendliness: let people feel like they’re part of a community by upping casual communication. 

4. Give Employee Recognition

We need to make a full communicative effort to focus on the good. Employees respond to positive recognition, which increases productivity, succeeds engagement, builds loyalty, boosts morale, and enhances customer satisfaction. Employee recognition is one of the easiest ways to boost morale, and workplace recognition gives a fuller sense of accomplishment and makes everyone feel valued.

5. Get Employee Feedback

If you really want to know how your employees are feeling, ask for feedback. Show them that you are an active listener and that their feedback is important to you. You have to do more than just listen, however, you actually have to act on what they say and implement these new ideas. 

On average, an overwhelming amount of employees seek job development but only a fraction of those get the feedback they need for real success. Ignoring employee feedback has an actual monetary value, and there are estimates that the national loss is billions as suggestions go ignored. Your employees are valuable, so show that you value them by taking them seriously. They will feel more motivated to do their jobs if they feel like they are valuable contributors to the company.

6. Help Your People Develop–Both Personally and Professionally

Your employees require the tools necessary to develop themselves both in and out of the workplace, and they need all the resources they can to perform their jobs to their best abilities. When you bring on new hires, make sure that their professional training practices a working knowledge base of all the information they need to grow as a part of your team. This might be more of a struggle with remote employees, but if you make yourself transparent and accessible from the get-go, they will feel less anxious when it comes to asking the tough questions about the job.

All the training in the world can’t change the fact that your employees are people first. They aren’t professionals in a vacuum, turning themselves off and on for your business. They grow and evolve in both personal and professional ways, and their development and care needs to take this into account.

7. Run A Calm, Healthy & Organized Company

While many of us might be devoted to the grind, pushing people up to and past their limits is just a way to foster burnout and lower employee retention. Your daily goal should be to reduce stress, foster empathy, promote good mental health and run a calm, healthy, and organized company.

There are several employee programs that can help people work through stress and anxiety, and right now you should be looking for remote and virtual programs that can be practiced at home. Consider programs that promote health and wellness, and you will see this reflected in the work performance of your staff.

8. Establish a Meeting-Free Day Each Week

If you’ve noticed yourself dreading the deluge of weekly meetings, you may have to admit that you’re facing a bit of burnout. While meetings can often be successful and productive, they’re also a way to quickly put people on track for frustration. “This could have been an email” is often true about meetings, and you have to ask yourself how much of your time is being handed to unnecessary Zoom calls.

Choose a day each week where there are zero meetings, and try to make a day that isn’t Friday (we suggest Tuesday or Wednesday to break up the week). You will find that your company and team are much more motivated when they can have an entire day to just focus on the tasks at hand without these interruptions. 

9. Train Your Managers to Become Better Coaches

You might be thinking about all the ways of how to improve employee morale, but your managers should be right there with you. If your managers know how to foster the unique talents of your staff, you will strengthen your team during these tough times. Your managers should be leaders, people who are constantly striving to improve the company and delegate work that they themselves are willing to do. Your managers should be curating an environment of positivity and hard work.

Good managers are more than taskmasters—they will look beyond “performance” and seek out the hidden natural talents of all those around them. People are individuals and come with individual strengths, and good managers will be able to notice, showcase, and improve those strengths in the workplace.

10. Organize Team-Building Activities

Team building activities can serve as the backbone of morale. Effective team building games are collaborative, communicative, and fun! They promote problem-solving and team member cohesion, plus they foster relationships and show hidden employee strengths. 

Team building activities should be a regular part of office culture, especially during this time of uncertainty and disconnection. There’s no better way to boost employee morale than by having fun together, whether it’s a scavenger hunt, trivia, or game night. There are so many different ways to have fun together.

11. Provide Amazing Employee Incentives

When morale is really low, consider incentivizing your employees with fun, appreciable things. Give employees a day off, bring in some food, give bonus sick days/PTO…there are many incentive possibilities and they are all at your discretion.

Incentives can be more than temporary gifts and bonuses. You can give your employees professional courses or sign them up for advanced training using programs that are outside their wheelhouse. You can create a period every day where your staff goes outside and shakes off the dust of the office. You can implement a weekly get-together where all your employees share what’s on their minds. The dreary, drab workplace culture can be spiced up with just a little bit of imagination, and oftentimes your employees will have suggestions for further incentives.

12. Encourage Genuine Breaks

We all have a tough time slowing down. How often do you notice people eating lunch at their desks or working through their breaks? How often have you continued working in lieu of a 15-minute break? How often do your employees stretch their legs and get some fresh air?

Frustration, resentment, and burnout happen when we focus too hard on our work. When we switch environments, move around, and take our breaks we foster creative thinking and give our minds time for a proper rest. You should be encouraging your staff to get away from their desks and workstations for a few minutes every hour. Tell them to take walks, stretch, step outside, refresh. The more time you spend at work, the more time you need to spend on break.

13. Promote Workplace Diversity

Workplace diversity is incredibly important, and by promoting this diversity you will make your employees feel important. Diversity is a celebration, and the diversity within your company should be viewed as an important asset. When you take on a variety of ideas and perspectives you create new learning opportunities that can be felt throughout your company. Diversity goes beyond hiring people of various religious and racial backgrounds, but extends into skill sets, creativity, and talents. The more you bring your employees together, the stronger your company will be.

14. Promote Work-Life Balance Among Employees

Work-life balance extends beyond the observable workday, especially right now. How often are emails being sent after closing hours? Are people still messaging each other after work about work-related issues? How much digital traffic is occurring outside of the pay period? While we can all appreciate the work ethic at hand, eventually this will cause burnout and you will see employees starting to leave your company.

We all appreciate hard work, but turnover is costly and impacts morale. If you strike a better work-life balance, your employees will be more energized and their contributions more impactful. While the work-life balance line may be a touch blurry right now, there are definitely steps that can be taken to enforce it.

15. Let Go Of Workplace Bullies

While it may be tempting to write off bullying as an HR problem, it is something you and your senior staff should be paying attention to every day. Workplace bullying is real, and its impacts are harsh and widespread. Bullying injures the health, values, productivity, morale, and confidence of the victim. Workplace bullying will quickly erode morale, causing an increase in gossip and frustration. If you believe in your company you should have all eyes on workplace harassment, and stand by your words to immediately end any bullying you see so that no one feels uncomfortable at their place of work.

16. Go Green With Plants in the Workspace

Going green is more about ecological impact or saving the planet—there are real, measurable benefits of surrounding ourselves with plants. Increasing the amount of foliage in your office improves air quality and brightens the room, increasing morale and productivity. Plants lift spirits, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t turn your interior office space into a garden. You can even surprise your employees by personalizing each of their workstations with a brand new plant of their choice!

17. Make A Designated Decompression Room For Breaks

This might be surprising, but did you know that too many businesses go without dedicated break rooms? We don’t just mean the office lounge or lunch space, but a true and quiet place in the office that is dedicated to relaxation and decompression. “Recharge rooms” are more than just a couple of tables and a couch, they’re places for stretching, relaxing, meditation, even power naps. These comfortable spaces can be quiet zones for an exchange of ideas or a place for dedicated reading. Think of these rooms as miniature libraries for the mind and body. They’re sure to increase morale!

18. Bring Pets Into Work

Striking a proper work-life balance means acknowledging the lives that your employees have outside of the workplace. Consider having pet days, or just encouraging your employees to bring their pets in for the occasional visit. You could even have a pet day crossover with the “no meetings” day, which will further boost morale and add some needed R&R. Pets are such a big part of our lives, and when we feel comfortable with them in the workplace we feel more comfortable at work.

19. Host in-Office Fitness Classes

Frequent, regular exercise offsets healthcare costs, boosts morale, brings people together, and makes everyone feel more energized and celebrated. Regular exercise de-stresses everyone, which increases kindness and empathy. Exercise does more than provide simple morale boosts, it also makes us feel more alive. In our extended workdays we deserve to take time for ourselves, and everything from yoga to jogging to meditative stretching will clear our minds and help us focus.

20. Have Fun!

We spend so much time being serious, so much time dedicating ourselves to our work or our families. While this list is filled with ways to relax and de-stress, sometimes we need to take it a step further. Sometimes we need to have fun!

Connect with your team. Play games. Schedule a cityHunt scavenger hunt. Look for ways to get to know your team on a more personal level and reveal your authentic self. We are all human beings, and we want to feel encouraged, safe, and respected. We also want to let loose and not take life so seriously. Whether it’s today or every day, consider making your office a place where you can bring a sense of fun back to the workplace. 

Boosting Morale Is An Everyday Activity

The biggest takeaway is to look for new ways every day to improve morale and help your employees feel like they belong. From taking breaks to playing team games to promoting diversity to hosting office fun, your employees should feel like they are respected and valued at their place of work.

Improving morale doesn’t necessarily mean you have to retrain your entire team or spend a lot of money. Sometimes improving morale means listening to your team, respecting them for who they are, and showing your staff how much they mean to you!

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