Employee morale is an increasing challenge these days–between the stresses of COVID, working from home, uncertain markets, etc., we’re seeing an increase in stress and morale-related work issues. For example, you may have noticed:
- a decrease in energy and excitement among your team
- a lack of interest in projects and initiatives
- decreases in team productivity
- lower customer satisfaction
If you’ve noticed any of the signs above, your team may suffer from low morale. More than just a passing bad mood, low employee morale stems from larger, ongoing issues. For example, a lack of internal mobility opportunities can spur employees to jump ship for environments where they’re more engaged in their work and careers, and have better overall morale.
No matter what the cause, low employee morale requires a proactive response from managers. And, while you may not have complete control over what’s going on in the broader scope of your organization, you can foster an environment that’s more productive for your own team. Get started with these 18 tried-and-true tactics.
Use the Right Tools
The next ideas can consume huge amounts of your time and energy unless you have the right enabling technology, so idea #1 is the most important: use the right technology.
As a manager, you’re already juggling too many tasks, so take advantage of tools, like Hirebook, that provide a powerful and flexible employee engagement platform for your team.
Take a look below at how organizations can use technology to boost employee morale in the workplace.
- Recognize employees: shout it from the rooftops! Be sure to send updates to the company to celebrate new hires, professional milestones, corporate wins, etc. For example, you can create a dedicated channel in Slack for praise, high fives, or shout-outs.
- Share successes: send updates on business milestones like acquiring new customers, opening a new office, smashing the Objective or Key Result, etc. Also celebrate success stories from customers with letters, pictures, videos, a story, and more.
- Listen better: conduct weekly check-ins, pulse surveys, employee surveys, etc. so that you know as soon as employee attitudes shift, but what employees are looking for, so that you can proactively drive employee morale.
- Put employees front & center: make decisions based on organizational surveys, launch a suggestion box to gain feedback and insights, or introduce an open-door policy so employees can directly approach HR or senior management. If your team is fully remote, consider using an anonymous form or private Confluence page where employees can leave feedback.
- Wellness and benefits: provide all necessary information under one roof that employees can access whenever they need it and allow your team to register for company events right from their mobile phone.
- Casual communication: use GIFs for interactive content, allow people to like and comment to be part of the discussion, but in a structured, safe, and organized environment. You can even start funny polls like “who’s your favorite superhero?” Polls can be used directly in your workplace collaboration tools, too!
- A personal touch: from senior leadership all the way down, you can have open Q&A sessions during all-company meetings, or a CEO Q&A channel in Slack. This is an easy way for front-line employees to approach senior management in a structured and controlled environment.
- Be transparent
Don’t attempt to hide problems or avoid conversations when employee morale is low. Instead, managers and senior leadership should aim to be transparent in order to boost staff morale. Your employees will respect honesty while you work together to fix any issues or solve any culture-related challenges. Inform them about company updates, new protocols, customer feedback, and more.
Going off the last tip to boost employee morale, be sure to communicate! Share both positive and negative company announcements, like any snags with new products in development, or a glowing customer review. Your employees are human beings, too, and you need to treat them that way—communicate and loop them into a conversation that will directly affect them.
Give employees recognition
Focus on the positive, even during 1:1 meetings and reviews. When employees feel truly appreciated, recognition can incentivize them to bring their best selves to work and become more productive employees.
Gallup found that “Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes employees feel valued for their work. 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.”
Get employee feedback
Getting employee feedback is a great way to boost employee morale, so long as the organization responds to what your team learns from the feedback. When you show employees that you’re listening, they will feel heard and are far more likely to be motivated. 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, be sure to thank your employees for sending in their thoughts and suggestions.
Provide employee growth opportunities
Boost employee morale by giving teams a sense of purpose so they have a goal to work towards as they progress in your company. It doesn’t have to be a job promotion, either; growth opportunities can include offering access to courses or conferences to improve their professional skills, providing them a mentor or apprenticeship opportunity, or internal mobility options. Employees want to feel a sense of growth and development in order to remain truly motivated.
Prioritize a safe and healthy 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.
Organize team-building activities
Team building leads to more collaborative and motivated work cultures, aids in problem-solving among team members, fosters meaningful and open communication among peers, leads to creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, enhances productivity, boosts employee morale, and helps to keep creative juices flowing. Not to mention, team building is a crucial part of effective onboarding.
Provide employee incentives
While this is not a long-term solution, it’s important 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. Sign them up for a course that ties to their professional responsibilities or give them helpful books to read to develop their skills further.
Encourage breaks and time off
Research has found that a mere 1 in 5 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 five minutes every hour. For example, grab a cup of coffee, take a walk outside for some fresh air, stretch your body, and get some movement in. When you make this a habit, you are happier and can contribute greatly to the bottom line because you’re refreshed.
The same can be said for encouraging employees to use their vacation days and time-off allowances. This is part of a healthy company culture, where employees feel psychologically safe in asking for and taking time away from work.
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. A Forbes article notes that “teams and companies that make diversity a priority offer a variety of ideas, perspectives, and learning opportunities.
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. The bottom line is that workplace diversity brings your employees together; getting more work done as a team and boosting the company morale!
Give employees a reason to live your values
Your employees are part of something bigger than themselves, but do they know it? From the application to their first interview, and all the way through to the offer stage and beyond, potential candidates need to understand 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.
Promote work-life balance
Twenty percent of American workers spend 5+ hours at work each week stressing about health, finances, and family. That’s 5 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.
Make laughter part of the workplace
Is laughter really the best medicine? Science says yes—at least as far as mood and camaraderie are concerned. So, encourage a sense of healthy fun at work, like a #LOL company Slack channel.
Work 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. Work-life balance is a factor here, however, it’s also important to ensure that you live and breath the same company values around that balance as you’d like your employees to, as well.
An easy way to do this is to talk regularly with your team about their preferred weekly schedules. Find out which employees have standing appointments—book club on Wednesday evening, yoga at 6:00 pm on Tuesdays, breakfast with a mentor on Mondays—and make it a priority to accommodate those schedules. You won’t be able to work around everyone’s schedule all the time, but if you’re helping your team members maintain a happy, healthy life outside of work, they’ll bring a better attitude to work.
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 “skillshare” 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. Encouraging people to share their talents and interests will not only give them a chance to work on something they’re really excited about, but it’ll also help the group better get to know one another.
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. Everyone appreciates random acts of kindness, but these gestures are more meaningful if you’ve put time into investigating and remembering gifts they’ll actually enjoy.
Lead by example
It’s impossible for everyone on your team to be in a ‘good’ mood 100% of the time, but stress and negativity are incredibly infectious. If your team is heading into a busy season or tough project, it’s important to come to work with a positive attitude and outlook every day and to be diligent about minimizing negative (like complaints) in front of fellow team members.
Remember, others will look to you to understand how to approach what’s going on in the organization and visualize the big picture perspective, and your outlook can set the tone for your entire team’s attitude.
Above all, remember that, as a manager, you need to make your team’s morale a top priority and be consistent and strategic with your efforts. Pizza parties are not the solution to poor employee morale, but regularly communicating with your team, actively responding to feedback, and recognizing accomplishments will go a long way.
Boost employee morale and better engage your teams with an internal mobility strategy
Sourcing the best talent is tough—but what if you could engage employees by leveraging the top talent you already have? In our complete guide to internal mobility, we show you how to build a mobility strategy that will engage, retain, and grow your existing talent. With our Internal Mobility Guide, you’ll discover:
- How to build an internal mobility strategy
- The need for career agility (and how to leverage it)
- 9 best practices for your internal mobility strategy
- And more!
Download your free copy of the guide here, or by clicking the image below.