When employees get into a slump or are unhappy with their job, productivity and the overall want to be at work can quickly decline. If you as a boss are not willing to take measures to pull your employees out of their slumps, most employees will take their experience and look for work elsewhere where they will be more fulfilled. Here are 15 ways to boost employee morale.
1. Encourage Communication
As a boss, you have to be able to talk with your employees to understand why morale is low. Whether it is a simple underlying issue or something more serious and internal, always set aside time to communicate with your team. Schedule events like one-on-one employee interviews twice a year to address problems, or have regular meetings where you discuss with your team what is working and what isn’t. Always keep your office door open for employees to come in and talk to you at any time.
2. Recognize Employee Achievements and Milestones
Employees that are recognized for their hard work keep your team motivated. When you create an environment where work is appreciated, you will empower your employees in their ability to consistently contribute to your company. Employees who don’t know how well they are doing might not have the confidence and morale necessary to keep going. Thank workers for their dedication and reward them accordingly. Having an “Employee of the Month” award is a simple way of recognizing those who do a good job.
3. Allow Real Lunch Breaks
According to OfficeVibe, 60% of employees eat lunch alone at their desk while they work. Management professor Kimberly Elsbach says that “staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking.” When employee morale is low, it means that sometimes a break is needed. You need to get managers on board to take time off in the middle of the day to eat lunch, take a coffee break, or go out for a walk. You have to rely on your managers as they have the greatest leverage to model morale-boosting habits.
4. Increase Vacation Days
While being hesitant to step away from their desks for lunch, employees are also reluctant to go on vacation despite its benefits. There will be a period of time where your employees will need to be away from the workplace just so they can regroup. When morale is low, be willing to offer your employees more vacation days during the year. While an entire month is too much time away, a few days would be too little. Add a bonus for employees who take time off for themselves.
5. Provide Room for Professional Growth
Employees should never feel like they are just going through the motions at work. They need to have a purpose for working as hard as they do. Provide opportunities for professional development, career advancement, and upward mobility by investing in resources and industry events. Having professional development programs available will boost the self-esteem of your employees and will encourage them to achieve more in the workplace.
6. Reinvent Team-Building Exercises
Although you have had a particular organizational structure in place for years, there is always the possibility of needing to change that structure to keep your employees motivated. Allow individuals to explore their own strengths. Encourage employees to lead voluntary workshops or exercises in an area they are knowledgeable about. Programs that promote corporate philanthropy and corporate volunteerism can be an effective way to establish a workforce that is engaged, purpose-driven and team-oriented. Offer employees to try different roles in your company and see if they are better fits in those roles.
7. Delegate Responsibilities
Employees can often feel overwhelmed, and not one employee can do everything to carry the entire team. Sometimes you will have to outsource work to freelancers and outside experts to cover your company’s bases. You will have to constantly review the roles of your employees and decide if they are taking on too much work or too little. Hold everyone accountable for their work and maintain a proper balance in the amount of work everyone on the team has. You will find that delegating responsibilities to others will take the stress off yourself.
8. Encourage Remote Work
Collaborative research from Owl Labs and TINYpulse revealed that supporting remote work programs can have a meaningful impact on employee retention. In a recent survey, 84% of respondents agreed that their ability to work remotely would make them happier, and 42% of them plan to work more remotely in the future. While some industries require people to be physically present at the workplace, other industries have the flexibility to allow employees to work while they travel, or stay at home to work.
9. Incorporate Play
What can develop at the workplace is a competitive environment where employees stick to a rigid schedule. While you want your employees to care about their work, you don’t want them to take work too seriously. Sometimes your team needs time to have fun and play. According to scientists Meredith Van Vleet and Brooke Feeney, the standard definition of play consists of a behavior or activity carried out with the goal of amusement and fun that is enthusiastic and interactive. Adding a Ping-Pong table to the break room or bringing in art supplies allows your employees to loosen up.
10. Promote an Atmosphere of Celebration
Many real-life events that occur away from work are positive and are worth celebrating. Birthdays, marriages, the birth of children and employment anniversaries can all be celebrated by the team. While you won’t be able to celebrate all important events with cake, ice cream or pizza parties, consider doing so at least once a month. HR tech analyst and brand strategist Meghan Biro says that employee performance soars when people are happy and healthy and that everyone will have a lot more fun if they feel they can be themselves at work.
11. Raise the Pay of Employees
Boosting employee morale can be as easy as raising the amount of pay. If employees appreciate everything about your company except for how much pay they are receiving, then be willing to make that adjustment. Research by Glassdoor finds that 35% of hiring decision-makers said that they expect more employees to quit through a period of 12 months.
12. Let Go of Trouble Makers
Unfortunately, you will have employees who will turn out to be trouble makers. Those who intimidate, condescend, demean, swear, behave rudely or belittle people in front of others can be described as trouble makers. Letting go of trouble makers and eliminating this poor behavior can have a great impact on employee morale because this allows employees who show good behavior to progress.
13. Create a Lenient Inclement Weather Policy
Safety should come first for your company, even if that means calling a day off because of inclement weather. If a blizzard or a flood arrives in your area, it is best to let your employees stay at home. For some employees, heavy snowfall won’t deter them from coming to work, but for others the commute becomes challenging. If the weather isn’t good for business, then it is easier to be more lenient on your employees.
14. Lessen Emails
Depending on which industry you are in, sending emails to employees can be a good thing. However, it can sometimes be a burden for them to read large amounts of email. One main drawback to email is the decrease in face-to-face communication. There are some messages to get across to your employees that emails won’t be able to cover. Consider substituting email with software like Trello, Asana, and Slack to improve your team’s productivity.
15. Provide Feedback
Another study by Officevibe reveals that 4 in 10 workers are actively disengaged when they receive little to no feedback. Whether it is communicated verbally, online, or even written on paper, feedback is critical for the survival of your company. Always keep in mind that providing feedback is a two-way street, so if your employees ask for your feedback on how they are performing, you should be willing to ask for their feedback on how you are running the company.
There are many ways to boost employee morale, and most of them just involve being human and really recognizing your employees as real people who need happiness and leniency in the workplace, just as they do in their lives when they leave work. At the end of the day, people want to work somewhere they feel supported, encouraged, and do not dread leaving their house to go to in the morning. As bosses, these simple fixes can make a world of difference for your employees and for your business.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.