It’s important to concentrate on boosting morale in the workplace. Most people work to live; they don’t live to work. This means that there must be plenty of reasons to keep them motivated and encouraged in their job.
Employees who feel that their job is boring, without purpose, or dead-end are less likely to perform to high standards. Instead, they show up and do the bare minimum to earn a paycheck. This is the last thing you want.
You want team members who:
- Love what they do
- Bring positive energy to the team
- Use creativity and innovation to exceed expectations
- Spread the word about what a joy it is to work with your company
This happens when employee morale is high. Remember that this isn’t about people’s happiness. Happiness is about circumstances; you like what’s happening to you at the moment. Instead, morale is more akin to joy—purpose and contentment even amidst struggle.
How to Ensure You Are Boosting Morale in the Workplace
Each company has its own ways of boosting employee morale. Your company culture is a direct reflection of:
- Your management style
- The perks and benefits your business offers its employees
- The way colleagues relate to one another
In your employees’ opinion, what is the best part of working for your company? What makes them stick around when other jobs are available? If pay wasn’t a factor, would there still be purpose and joy in their work?
Think about the following ideas for implementation to boost morale in your workplace.
Prioritize Individual Communication and Relationship
Your employees don’t want to feel like small fish in a big pond. They want you to see, hear, and recognize their accomplishments. If they didn’t come to work, would you notice?
Of course, you have dozens, possibly hundreds, of employees under your supervision. It’s impossible to speak one-on-one with them every day and still complete all of your other responsibilities. So, create a culture in which people know you value them as individuals.
Don’t just say you have an open-door policy. Keep your door open and invite people inside. Check in with them about projects and offer guidance. Ask them about their lives and how they fare in light of difficult situations.
When people feel connected to others in their workplace, they are more likely to stick around. You want high retention rates and employees who deliver high returns on your emotional and time investments. Make this a reality with one-on-one communication and honest connection.
Make Feedback a Regular Part of the Experience
Feedback is a cringeworthy word for many employees and managers. That’s because it is often associated with negative performance reviews or work that wasn’t done correctly in the first place.
However, feedback doesn’t have to be something dreadful. Utilize tools that make people want to grow with your guidance and leadership. For example,
- Pair constructive critiques with positive affirmations.
- Check in with employees frequently so that they are familiar with your leadership style.
- Ask them their opinions and accept their feedback as well.
- Empower them to make their own decisions about what help they need.
Employees often ignore problems in the workplace because they fear asking for help and showing weakness. When you see the beginnings of a struggle, address it straight away. Ask the person what makes the task or situation difficult and how you can help.
Solve problems early on to save everyone time and effort. Acknowledge issues as they arise and people know to come to you for true guidance next time.
People who have a partnership in their growth and development are more invested in bettering themselves. Employees who see that improvement is a part of the company culture as a whole are more likely to do so with positivity.
Remember that just because you are now a manager doesn’t mean you are done learning, either. Each interaction with a colleague is a chance to hone your interpersonal skills. Every new client teaches you something new about the industry. All the hurdles around the bend offer a lesson for you to help you in your role.
Place Value on Personal and Professional Development
Work is not the only important thing in life. Your employees are human beings who come to work with professional skills and real-world experiences. Use both to your advantage and offer training and development opportunities to increase them.
Professionally, several tools help boost morale in the workplace. You can:
- Create a library of industry-related books and journals available in the office.
- Bring in exciting speakers to talk about hot topics.
- Match up project partners who align with each other but also who help each other improve.
Personally, focus on soft skills that also improve work-related tasks, such as:
- Empathy and tolerance
- Non-verbal communication
- Work-life balance
- Emotional intelligence
- Mental, physical, and spiritual health and development
Employees who know that their outside lives are valued come to work with motivation to help the business succeed. Your goal is to value your employees as whole people, not just as tools to bring in profit.
Show Appreciation in Multiple Forms
Your team members work hard for you each day. They leave their families, homes, hobbies, and other commitments and dedicate eight, 10, maybe 12+ hours to the company each day. They might even bring work home with them!
Of course, they receive paychecks. However, this should be the very surface level of recognition for their work. After all, it’s unlikely that you as the manager are the one directly paying them from the company bank.
Therefore, show your appreciation for their efforts in more individualized ways. Get to know them and their purpose so you know what appreciation language speaks to them the most. Try out a few different ways and note which ones your employees respond to.
- Offer early-off days or flexible scheduling.
- Allow team members to work remotely when necessary.
- Incentivize projects with bonuses.
- Cater breakfasts, lunches, or happy hours as celebratory measures.
- Utilize a whiteboard to write down positive things that you notice.
- Create a peer-to-peer affirmation system in which people recognize hard work in their colleagues.
These little things have large ripple effects. People who are appreciated have higher morale, which affords them the emotional space to appreciate and acknowledge others. This brings about benefits to the company in every way.
Use Your Department Managers to Help Lead Teams
The company hierarchy is in place for a reason. You can’t do everything yourself, nor are you expected to. Especially in very large companies, there is a trickle-down system of communication that takes the pressure off of everyone.
However, these mid-level managers need training and support, too. They see the day-to-day struggles and successes of everyone on the floor. Show them how to use these morale-boosting tools for the people in their department.
Give your fellow managers leeway to create positive aspects for their divisions. This creates a feeling of collaboration and teamwork. People who feel connected to their smaller teams want to bring their best work to help everyone succeed.
This sense of ownership and responsibility encourages managers to pass it on to their team members, too. Top-level leaders who micromanage and don’t allow others to carry responsibility create an environment in which people don’t use innovation or creativity.
Take the time to get to know your employees and ask your other leaders to do the same. This helps you create teams in which people’s purposes, strengths, and areas for improvement align with and complement each other. When people feel that they are both supported and that they contribute, they have a greater sense of purpose.
All Work and No Play Makes for a Dull Job
Work doesn’t have to be drudgery. In fact, jobs that are fun are those that create highly productive, above-expectation work.
Furthermore, people who are fulfilled are more motivated to continue putting forth their best effort. Employees who enjoy work because of exciting benefits and an enjoyable atmosphere are fulfilled. Productivity doesn’t create purpose or fulfillment; instead, purpose creates fulfillment, which creates productivity.
Sure, there are plenty of times when you have to put your nose to the grindstone and get things done. But don’t think that when people are enjoying themselves they aren’t working.
Encourage people to get to know their colleagues on a deeper level. Set up work lunches with those who might not cross paths otherwise. Show vulnerability and your human side so that people feel comfortable doing the same. Ask for and give authenticity.
Here’s the bottom line. You don’t have to concentrate effort on boosting morale in the workplace. However, when you don’t, your employees don’t enjoy their jobs and they seek out other places to work.
Good managers know the value of purpose and enjoyment in the workplace. They take the initial time to create a positive culture, and then they keep it up. This shows that they value their team members’ mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing, which in turn creates employees who stay onboard and benefit the business as a whole.