How to Boost Employee Morale: Ideas for Leaders

Employee morale is an increasing challenge these days, due to a range of factors: from changes to the work environment and workplace culture post-pandemic, to uncertain labor market and general economic conditions

In short, human resources and other business leaders are seeing an increase in stress and morale-related work issues. For example, in the last few years, you may have noticed a:

  • Decrease in energy and excitement among your team
  • Lack of interest in projects, campaigns, and initiatives
  • Decline in output and productivity among your team
  • Reduction in team morale due to layoffs and hiring freezes

No matter the cause, low employee morale requires a proactive response from leaders.

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15 tips to help you boost employee morale

While you may not have complete control over what’s going on in the broader scope of your org, you can foster an environment that’s more productive for your own team.

Get started with these tried-and-true tactics that can boost your employees’ morale.

1) Use the right tools

Leading companies (i.e., those with satisfied and productive workers) understand they don’t just need to provide their teams with the right solutions to execute in their day-to-day, but also tech to help them boost employee morale.

Using Slack to provide shoutouts, leveraging pulse surveys to gauge workforce sentiment, rewarding employees for hard work by sending them gift cards via gifting platforms: There are many tools you can utilize to check in on, secure feedback from, and recognize your workers.

2) Communicate often

Communication is more important than ever for C-suites and people managers, especially given the rise of remote work — a development that not every business professional (believe it or not) feels comfortable with.

Take the lead communications-wise by regularly sharing both company updates and announcements, like product releases, awards the business has won, and upcoming events (e.g., conferences, webinars) that will take place.

You’d be surprised just how much sharing company-related news and insights can have on realizing a more positive employee morale among your workforce — particularly remote employees who may feel disconnected at times.

3) Recognize employees

When employees feel truly appreciated, recognition can incentivize them to bring their best selves to work, become more productive employees, and improve their job satisfaction.

“Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes employees feel valued for their work,” according to recent research from Gallup.

“Recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.”

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4) Secure feedback

When you show employees you’re listening to their thoughts, ideas, and concerns, they’ll feel heard and be more motivated in their respective roles. But, it isn’t enough just to collect feedback. You need to act on it as well.

Even if you don’t implement every piece of feedback provided by your staff, be sure to thank them for sending in their considerations and suggestions — something that can go a long way in realizing high employee morale.

5) Provide growth opportunities

It doesn’t have to be a job promotion, necessarily. Growth opportunities could also mean providing access to courses or conferences that can help workers learn new professional skills or offering to mentor them outside of work hours.

Offering these opportunities is a key part of the employee experience. The more your workforce knows they can advance their careers and gain new expertise, the more likely they are to regularly engage with colleagues — and remain at your business.

6) Focus on company culture

The days of managers pushing themselves and their teams to the limit are long gone.

As you consistently work on improving your company culture, your goal should be to reduce stress, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and encourage a psychologically safe workplace where leadership is cognizant of burnout.

how to improve company culture

7) Organize team-building activities

Team-building leads to more collaborative and motivated work cultures, aids problem-solving among team members, fosters meaningful and open communication among peers, and leads to creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

During the onboarding of newly hired staff members, this can be a particularly effective way to ensure high employee satisfaction right out of the gate, so to speak.

8) Provide employee incentives

While this is not a long-term solution, it’s vital to provide employees with incentives that empower them to do their best work. For example, you can develop a program that helps your employees evolve personally and professionally.

9) Encourage breaks and time off

Research has found that a mere one in five people takes a lunch break and that white-collar workers are actually the least likely to take a break. That means that there are far too many staff members eating lunch at their desks.

We know that creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to a nature-like environment.

Encourage your employees to get away from their desks, at least for a few minutes every hour. Tell them to grab a cup of coffee or take a walk outside for some fresh air.

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10) Promote workplace diversity

By promoting workplace diversity, your employees will feel and understand that thinking outside the box and sharing unique experiences are an asset to the company.

Diverse employees can bring together their different talents, experiences, and various skillsets to come up with creative solutions, whereas another group made up of people with similar backgrounds and skill sets may decide to solve a dilemma in the same way they always have.

11) Showcase your values

Your employees are part of something bigger than themselves. But, do they know it?

From the application process, to their first interview, and all the way through to the offer stage and beyond, potential candidates and existing employees need to know and share in the vision of what you are doing as an organization.

That vision alone will motivate and inspire your team, right down to its junior members, which comes back full circle in effectively facilitating company growth.

12) Promote work-life balance

One in five U.S.-based workers spend five hours at work each week stressing about health, finances, and family. That’s five hours of morale-sinking anxiety every week.

The fix? Treat your employees like human beings whose personal lives are just as important as their professional ones. Flexible hours, paid time off, conversations about self-care, and work-from-home policies help workers address those real-life needs at home.

This frees them up to bring their best energy to work — and morale will soar.

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13) Be flexible with schedules

Employee morale often suffers when team members feel like they can’t meet their personal, social, or family obligations outside of work.

As a manager, you must set up your team for professional success, but also help team members achieve goals in their personal lives. Talk regularly with your team to discover their preferred weekly work schedules.

You won’t be able to work around everyone’s schedule all the time, but being flexible can help your staff strike the ideal work-life balance that both keeps them productive on the job and healthy outside of work hours.

14) Learn from each other

When managing a group of people, it’s crucial to remind your team that it comprises individuals who bring diverse skills to the group. Don’t forget about the underutilized creative talents of your employees.

Every few weeks, for example, try hosting a rotating “skill-share” where a team member presents an untapped skill to the entire group, or use team meetings as a way of introducing a new capability one of your team members taught you.

15) Encourage random acts of kindness

When new hires join the team, ask them to fill out a short questionnaire about their “favorites” (favorite candy, flower, magazine, sports team, etc). Keep this information on file, and use it during holidays, team celebrations, and for employee recognition.

When someone’s been working late all week, surprise them with their favorite candy on Friday. Or, on someone’s birthday, get them a bouquet of their favorite flowers. These are minor things that can have a major impact on employee morale.

Watch our on-demand webinar to find out why employee fulfillment must be a focal point for your business leaders to boost workforce satisfaction and retention.

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Further reading