Professional Education and Career Blog

Strategies to Improve Employee Morale

prisoncubeEmployee morale can make or break a company. The best leaders pay attention to employee morale, because happy, engaged employees tend to want to work harder than ones that drag themselves into the office, feeling like they’re just “doing their time” until they’re set free from the prison of their work. Not only can poor morale lead to poor productivity, but it can cause employees to want to seek better opportunities, increasing your turnover rate and training costs. But with the right strategies, you can boost employee morale without breaking the budget.

Demonstrate Personal Caring

Employees want to believe that the company recognized they are human beings, and not just replaceable cogs in the machine. Make sure you acknowledge birthdays, and send gifts for weddings or new births. Find reasons to give gifts for various life events they might have. Make their happiness a top priority, and you will find they will reciprocate more often than not.

Add Some Spontaneity

When people feel like they’re in a rut, morale and productivity can suffer. To avoid the “same old same old”, do employee-friendly things once in a while. A company-sponsored lunch is always popular, but go beyond. Let them come in late on a Monday. Plan a company outing to a new movie that seems to have a lot of interest. Have a company laser-tag night. Simple things to break up the routine can have a profound effect on keeping everyone engaged.

Empower Your Employees

Nothing kills morale like feeling that one is helpless to make any change or improve things. Give your employees the power to fix things when they see something that is inefficient or difficult. Too many managers get caught up in “this is the way it’s always been done” and are resistant to change. Not only is this morale-busting behavior, but it can cost the company real money in the long run. When employees are inspired to feel creative and they know their ideas matter, they are much more likely to help the company be more efficient.

Offer Training and Education

Most employees want to advance their careers, and one of the best ways to do that is through education. Unfortunately, when budgets get tight, one of the first areas that companies look to cut is employee education funding. This is a very short-sighted view that can cost the company significantly over the long-term. The best employees want to keep improving themselves. Smart companies recognize this and want to help them to be better. If you don’t help them, someone else will. Many of the best employees say education benefits are one of the prime factors in where they choose to work.

Offer Flex-Time

The idea of allowing employees to have more flexible schedules has been gaining popularity among America’s strongest corporations, because it attracts the best and brightest employees. Surveys show that “flexibility” is one of the top benefits employees look for, even over salary. See How Flextime Can Benefit Employers and Improve the Bottom Line.

Pay Attention to the Work Environment

No one wants to work in a dreary, depressing office. If your office space is looking a bit shabby, spend some money to get it fixed up. A coat of paint, plants, artwork and homey decorations can work wonders. If the environment doesn’t lend itself well to fixing up, such as warehouses or factories, create or fix up a brightly lit break room where employees can escape and improve their moods.

jumpingMorale Starts at the Top

You don’t have to be the rah-rah guy, but a few sincere smiles directed at your employees can make a big difference. Let them know when they do a good job, and when the job didn’t go so well, recognize the effort that went into it anyway. Listen to their concerns and act on them. Pass along good feedback you hear from customers.

Don’t be Fake

Have genuine interest in the people who are working to make the company better. Everyone has heard stories of getting the “fake gold-colored company logoed medallion” in lieu of a bonus at the end of the year, and that’s the only thing management did the entire year. And everyone knows the tone-deaf management only did it out of obligation. This is a morale-killing move that is worse than doing nothing, because it demonstrates that management really doesn’t care. Don’t be those people.