Instantly Improve Employee Morale: Seven Quick Tips
Employee morale can be a tricky aspect of leadership — and if you want to raise morale, it may seem impossible. At first glance, it seems like it’s a “fluffy” kind of business measurement, but it can become very concrete very quickly when it’s low. Low morale can cause higher absenteeism, lower productivity, even employees turning to a third party to solve problems, like a union or an attorney. So, perceptions of the value of morale aside, it’s a vital component of a company’s success or failure.
And if low morale suddenly seems to be a rallying point for employees – where they’re all commiserating and sharing horror stories, then look out! It’s definitely time to take action.
These seven steps are powerful ways to show employees quickly that they – and their contributions to the organization – are highly valued. Try and implement just one a week and watch how quickly things can turn around.
Raising Morale Step 1:
Start with yourself. Recognize the ways in which good leaders project their happiness and satisfaction, and model that behavior. This may mean simply calling team members by name, smiling more, and reminding employees of the great things about the company. Remember that each employee has value and is not easily replaced. Basically, exhibiting the traits of a servant leader is one surefire way to raise morale. Recognize and acknowledge strengths, among individuals, across teams, and within the company as a whole.
Raising Morale Step 2:
Reward your employees’ loyalty with perks – some can cost the company nothing, such as casual Friday, Team Jersey Tuesday, or a pot luck luncheon. Others, such as a company-sponsored softball team, family barbeque, or gift certificates for performance or ideas can be used sparingly but as publically as possible!
Raising Morale Step 3:
Start asking for feedback – and be sure to respond! Raising employee morale isn’t just about knowing what needs to be addressed. It’s also about letting employees know you’re not ignoring the issues. Encourage an atmosphere where feedback and improvement are valued by providing mechanism for ongoing suggestions, and be sure that employees know you care enough to take those well-thought-out suggestions to heart. Every company leader must be prepared to listen to employees, so that every member of the team feels valued.
Raising Morale Step 4:
Take a look around – is the environment pleasant? If people don’t enjoy coming to work, improvements may need to be made in lighting, paint, maybe even new furniture. There’s nothing like a broken chair to dampen someone’s spirits on a daily basis! Add inexpensive artwork if possible, and be sure to provide common areas for break times that reflect your company’s new culture of inclusion and recognition. This could be as simple as a few newspaper or magazine subscriptions, or gathering in a break room to celebrate milestone birthdays or company anniversaries.
Raising Morale Step 5:
Care about things employees care about. This can mean giving employees a chance to raise awareness for a charity by charging $1 to wear your favorite ball cap to work and all proceeds benefit the charity. Sponsor local races that benefit good causes and encourage employees to get out and run, too. Allow employees to start a recycling program in the break room, or give a presentation on healthier eating. Be sure to promote all these great works internally so employees really have something to feel great about.
Along with this, you may also be able to offer flexible schedules, discounts from local merchants, the ability to work from home, gym memberships, or other ways that show employees that their concerns, and their life/work balance are important to the company.
Raising Morale Step 6:
Make it Official – update your vision and mission statement, be sure everyone and every group is included, then unveil this company-wide, with great fanfare. Team members will feel good about working for a company that clearly reflects the values they think are important. Be sure every leader exemplifies those values and understands the company’s vision and mission.
Raising Morale Step 7:
Dangle an appetizing carrot. Offer bonuses, perks, or prizes to reward excellent work. This gives employees goals to work toward and can create an environment of contagious enthusiasm. Talk with employees to find out what kind of incentives will work best. Involving team members in creating their rewards will help them feel like they are an important, contributing factor in the overall success of the company.
If some of these ideas don’t fit with your corporate culture, or if they led you to ideas of your own, don’t hesitate to work to improve morale in any way it makes sense for you. The important thing is to get started – implement your ideas as soon as possible, before lagging morale has a detrimental effect on the company’s productivity and success. After all, engaged employees are happier, more productive, and less likely to leave.Of course, creating Better Leaders will have an instantly positive effect on employee morale, and A Better Leader can help with that effort.