Good employers are in tune with their workplace and will notice when their employees start exhibiting signs of low morale: lack of laughter and conversation in the workplace, decreased collaboration, and high turnover rates. Low morale can break a business, leading to poor cooperation and decreased productivity. A lack of employee appreciation can also lead to low morale. Attention to morale and employee appreciation will also boost employee engagement.
Effective leaders will take notice of low morale and combat it with positive changes that could help boost employee morale. These could be as simple as free lunch, or developing an employee recognition program. Offset boredom and the feeling of stagnicity with meaningful benefits, acknowledgements, and opportunities to grow. Here are some examples of how to help boost morale in your workplace:
1. Free Lunch Fridays
By providing lunch for employees at the end of week employers can show appreciation for their employees hard work throughout the week. A new study by business-lunch delivery service EAT Club shows that offering free, quality lunches to employees provides a potential return on investment of 150 percent. This figure is high because not only does providing lunch for employees make them feel appreciated, it increases productivity by boosting energy levels and eliminating time spent out of the office getting lunch.
2. Ask for Feedback
Openness gives employees permission to contribute to positive change. Google utilizes it’s own in-house survey system called Googeleist to gain feedback from employees on many different issues. Google then takes this feedback and constructs volunteer groups to work on tackling these issues to solve some of the company’s biggest problems.
3. Recognize Milestones
Individuals whose companies recognize their milestones experience a higher work confidence because they feel their employer views them as a person first and employee second. Responding to your employees the same way you would a friend when it comes to milestones could go a long way in fostering good relationships with your employees. 78 percent employees spend more time with co-workers than they do with family, therefore recognition could go a long way in boosting the morale of employees.
4. Incorporate Play
Playing games together as a company encourages teamwork and compromise while also meeting your employees needs for social interaction. A study by Boston College shows that early human adaptation suggests that our ancestors capitalized on their capacities for play to enable the development of a highly cooperative way of life. Play can be incorporated by simply adding a ping pong table to the break room, maybe bringing in a karaoke machine once a week, or having a riveting game of trivia.
5. Recognize Individual Employees
Individuals love being recognized for their hard work. Implementing a rewards program for your employees could be the perfect way to integrate an environment of recognition in your workplace. Send recognition to your employees by way of badges for certain traits they are exhibiting that aid your company, have a points system where employees can cash them in for prizes, or have a platform where you can send encouraging shout outs to your employees. Showing you care about your employees will go a long way concerning the productivity of your company and the confidence of your employees.
Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior in the Workplace
6. Give Your Employees Responsibility
Giving your employees more responsibility shows them that you trust them and their judgement, and you will boost their confidence in their work. Give responsibility to those employees who have exhibited the capacity to handle the extra workload. In order to groom employees who want more responsibility, you must create a favorable environment in which your employees are encouraged to grow their skills.
7. Team Build
Team building should be more than just a free paid day out of the office. Team building can take many different forms, like a full day out of the office or a monthly learning lunch where members of department catch each other up on what they’re working on. By frequently interacting with employees you may only see in passing or when a deadline is approaching, you are opening up the lines of communication when you return to the office.
8. Shuffle Roles
No one wants to feel like their job is becoming monotonous. Try shuffling around some of your employees’ roles to keep their day to day fresh. If an employee feels “stuck” without much opportunity, their morale is at an all time low. Pay attention to what your employees enjoy doing and if it were up to them what they would put at the top of their work priority list. Do your best to cross-educate your employees on different roles within the company, doing so will create transparency of everyone’s responsibilities and encourages coworkers to educate each other on what is required of them in their role.
9. Gamify Wellness
Encourage workplace wellness and embrace gamification while doing so. According the IHCC, “companies that implemented an effective wellness program realized significant cost reductions and financial gains, including an average of 28 percent reduction in sick days and an average of 26 percent reduction in health costs.” A healthy office is a productive office. You can gamify your wellness initiative at your office by adding a points system to your employees health and wellness progress. Encourage your employees to cross train each other and reward their achievements with vouchers and giftcards as motivation. Healthier employees equal more productive employees.
10. Redefine Your Work Week
Does your company have a slow period? If so, maybe consider doing a 4-day work week during this period or a half-day on Friday. When Utah introduced four-day workweeks for many of its state employees in 2008, it boosted productivity and worker satisfaction. Software CEO for the New York Times, Jason Fried, has reported that the 32 hour, 4-day work week his company follows May-October results in more productivity. Fried states, “Better work gets done in four days than five.” This statement makes complete sense. When there’s less time to work, there’s less time to waste. When your work week is cut then you only have the time available to focus on what’s important.
11. Offer Time Away From the Office to Focus on Others
One very special way to build employee morale and camaraderie is through community service. There is a growing interest in companies that have a corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR is so important to Generation Y, that according to a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 86 percent of those surveyed said they would leave a company if the CSR program completely started to slip. By teaming your employees together to work on a project for the greater good, not only will you show them that the company they work for cares about others, but you will also encourage them to work together toward an end goal.
Download: Six Ways You Can Get to Know Your Employees