Economic turmoil and workplace uncertainty have many people under immense pressure. Yet, company morale is essential if you want your business to succeed. If anxiety and burnout are prevalent among team members, it is time to leverage your leadership skills and boost job satisfaction.
Implementing strategies to improve workplace attitudes is easier than ever and will result in greater employee engagement, productivity and commitment to your vision. Motivate and encourage team members to put their best foot forward with these tips for growing company morale.
Reasons for Low Morale at the Workplace
Before you begin making positive changes left and right, it is essential to understand why low morale occurs in the workplace. Low enthusiasm stems from the following places:
- A toxic work environment
- Poor communication
- Lack of resources and training
- Few growth opportunities
- High turnover
- Lack of recognition for hard work
- Poor work-life balance
Most importantly, effective leadership is a driving force in boosting morale at the office. Leaders need to inspire and support teams to avoid having disengaged and unmotivated staff.
Additionally, micromanaging, demonstrating favoritism and failing to provide sufficient feedback also cause attitudes to dip.
7 Ways to Boost Company Morale
You do not have to search far and wide for ways to make the workplace happier, nor must you spend ample funds on providing additional perks.
While incentives and rewards are small and necessary tokens of appreciation, you can enhance team positivity by other means. Here are seven strategies to improve company morale.
1. Invest in Professional Development
Offering professional development programs is simply good business — when you invest in developmental training, you invest in your bottom line.
Every industry evolves as new processes and technologies are introduced. As such, employees look forward to skills-based training and professional development to keep up with the trends.
About 80% of employees are eager for professional development, yet only 39% of employers offer programs.
Those who receive comprehensive training and have opportunities to grow in their career are often more confident and produce high-quality work. They also become a more valuable member of the team.
Professional development also improves succession planning. Leaders that provide additional training to employees set themselves up for hiring from within and employees want to know their work efforts could lead to promotions.
You can tie skills-based learning to promotional paths, ensuring employees have greater job satisfaction and a chance to climb the career ladder long term.
Offering an occasional hour-long professional course online during the workday helps break the monotony of tasks. As a result, employees return to their day-to-day responsibilities feeling recharged with creativity.
2. Celebrate Achievements
Every employee wants to hear they are doing a great job and their efforts and contributions matter. Recognizing and celebrating your employees’ accomplishments is a beautiful way to boost morale. These celebrations make employees feel appreciated and encourage them to continue working hard.
Start an employee recognition program where you or staff members can nominate each other for being a team player. Even spotlighting certain employees during team meetings is the perfect way to give thanks.
Another way to celebrate employees is by starting an Employee of the Month reward program.
For example, you could designate a month-long parking spot for them, have an awards ceremony, ask the entire team to sign an appreciation card or hold a luncheon by catering sandwiches. You could also buy donuts and coffee for breakfast for an early get-together in the breakroom.
3. Create Corporate Pride
Most employees find their purpose through work — many also feel great pride in their companies. Branded promotional items build camaraderie and buzz around everything positive the enterprise is doing.
Merchandise with the logo or motto could also spark conversations with others about the business, proving to be an effective marketing tactic.
Think about events in which employees can wear their brand gear in public. You can show your team appreciation by organizing a company picnic for them and their families, encouraging people to attend wearing their t-shirts.
Likewise, workplace volunteer events — tree planting, picking up trash in public parks or other community-based activities — are great opportunities to generate corporate pride and awareness.
Corporate swag also fosters belonging — especially among new employees. A welcome basket with mugs, pens, t-shirts or other accessories will lessen anxiety and encourage them to dive right in. For those established, promotional gifts connect employees to the company’s goals, values and each other.
4. Foster Open Communication
A strong leader facilitates open communication, whether in group settings or one-to-one. Employees should feel they can share their ideas and offer feedback without judgment or punishment, such as during weekly team meetings.
Many agree meetings are where the magic happens. In fact, employers tout in-person collaboration as one of the primary reasons for current return-to-office mandates.
When teams get together, they can more easily make decisions, brainstorm new ideas and seek ways to improve business. Meetings are also a chance to revamp corporate branding.
Consider some of the most recognizable brands. People who see logos for McDonald’s, Apple, Nike, Mastercard, Starbucks and Microsoft recognize those brands immediately.
If business is slow and you are trying to increase clientele, it may be an excellent time to analyze your branding and make necessary changes. On average, people must see your brand five to seven times before it sticks, so choose a memorable logo.
5. Schedule One-to-One Meetings
The best part of the office environment is the many personalities that come together and foster greatness. Companies are only as successful as the employees that put in the work. However, leaders must remember not all personalities are the same.
Some employees thrive and collaborate well in groups. They also usually have a knack for sharing ideas or negotiating sales packages.
Conversely, others may work better doing individual tasks. Speaking up during team meetings may be more challenging for the office introvert, but just because they tend to be quieter does not mean they do not have much to offer.
Take a step back and look at who is on your team. Does anyone rarely talk during brainstorming sessions or keep to themselves during the day? They likely opt out of workplace events and after-hour drinks, too.
Scheduling one-to-one meetings is an excellent way to connect with shy individuals who prefer to stay under the radar.
Remember that it is easy for the office introvert to slip into the background. Since they usually seldom get called out for good work, these meetings allow them to shine in a setting they feel more comfortable in.
In general, conducting personal meet-ups with employees to discuss challenges and answer any questions is a good idea. This is also a great time to problem-solve and discuss private matters, such as boosting productivity or correcting poor work ethics.
6. Cultivate an Inclusive Work Culture
A highly-diversified team comprises people of all backgrounds, genders, races and passions — this is what makes the workplace great.
Yet, not everyone feels included, equal or safe at the office. At the height of some of the most important social movements of this time, it is now more crucial than ever to generate workplace inclusivity to boost employee morale.
Job performance declines when the office is a pool of gossip, destructive behaviors and toxic working relationships. Leaders must establish rules to increase inclusiveness and create a positive work culture.
Try team-building activities that allow members to get to know one another. Also, promoting diversity and belonging is crucial and broadens the talent pool through multiple experiences, talents and expertise that drives business success.
For instance, recognize calendar days that celebrate inclusivity, such as Equal Pay Day on November 2nd, Black History Month in February or Women’s History Month in March. Leading seminars and delivering diversity, sexual harassment, and empathy training to teach employees inclusive behaviors is another way to foster safety and belonging.
Also, mentorship programs and employee resource groups are excellent long-term strategies for a more cohesive work culture, helping marginalized individuals advance in their careers.
7. Prioritize Mental Health
According to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey, 59% of employees blame stress for poor job performance and a lack of motivation. Additionally, 71% of chronically stressed workers intend to find another job.
Employers must address and prioritize their teams’ mental health to retain their workforce and improve outcomes.
Finding ways to prevent burnout and promote a more outstanding work-life balance is vital — this could include encouraging breaks and time off, even if employees do not intend on going away.
Offering flexible or hybrid work schedules is another excellent way to boost company morale. Remote work allows team members to spend more time at home with their families and give attention to other interests.
Flexible scheduling is even more important to women who struggle to balance caregiving responsibilities at home with earning a paycheck to pay the bills.
Be Known for Improving Employee Morale
An organization recognized for showing appreciation and looking out for its employees will have an easier time hiring and retaining top talent.
Leaders should want the reputation of creating a happy work environment. Implementing a sound approach to company morale will result in higher engagement, performance and revenue.
About the Author!
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.