Here’s how Wikipedia defines employee morale:
Employee morale, in human resources, is defined as the job satisfaction, outlook, and feelings of well-being an employee has within a workplace setting. Proven to have a direct effect on productivity, it is one of the corner stones of business.
Studies have time and again shown how employee morale is directly linked to productivity. A low morale leads to poor cooperation, low productivity and increased turnover. On the other hand, a high morale leads to happy employees and this happiness leads to better productivity and a better company culture over time.
So if it’s already been proven that high employee morale creates better companies and indeed better cultures, what can you do to boost employee morale? I’ve put together seven simple yet effective ways to get the ball rolling:
1. Ask for feedback often and act upon it
Do you know how Marissa Mayer fixed 1000 – yes ONE THOUSAND – problems in her first year as CEO of Yahoo? She and her team built an online tool called PB&J to collect employee feedback frequently for identifying problems which bothered employees.
In the first year, they fixed 1000 such problems and as a result made Yahoo a more attractive place to work. They started attracting the best and brightest engineers, which Yahoo hadn’t been able to do for some time. This was a key to doubling Yahoo’s stock price.
2. Make sure everyone understands the “why”
President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time, in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA. The janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!” The janitor understood the vision, and his part in it, and he had a purpose.
Everyone wants to feel that his or her work has a higher purpose. Sometimes, though, that purpose gets lost in the day-to-day grind. Remember to talk about the purpose behind what your employees do. Talk about the “why”.
3. Communicate frequently. Be clear and transparent
One of the simplest ways to improve employee morale is through communication. Check-in regularly with your team by asking questions like:
– How are you feeling today? How is the team camaraderie?
– What challenges are you facing, and how can I help?
And nobody likes to be the last to know. If there’s a new initiative about to be implemented or an impending change in business operations, let your people know about it ahead of time. Don’t show up one day and say, “Surprise! We are laying off half the workforce”.
A culture of openness gives employees permission to contribute to positive change.
4. Recognize the good and say thank you
When someone is doing a fabulous job, tell them. Praise your employees at staff meetings, or say thank you. It takes two simple words. Say it, say it about something specific, and say it with meaning. It is so simple, and works so well. Whatever the message, the most important thing is that employees know that their hard work is noticed and appreciated. Appreciation always increases morale.
5. Offer opportunities for personal growth and skills development
Training is an investment employers make in their work force. When companies offer training and education to their employees, they indicate that they value their people and the contributions they make. This also sends a message that the organization values progress — both in organizational achievements as well in the careers of its people. Naturally, this creates attachment, loyalty and enthusiasm among the employees.
6. Encourage and enable employee wellness
Employees who pay attention to nutrition and physical exercise exhibit better mood and higher productivity in office. You should work towards enabling them to give their best in the office. Stocking the office pantry with a healthy and nutritional snacks is a great first step towards employee wellness. You could also scout for partnerships with gyms and health clubs for discounted offerings for your employees. Sure it might cost a few bucks but you’ll make that back 10x with better morale and productivity.
7. Incorporate fun at work. An organization that plays together stays together
Playing games leads people to go beyond their comfort zones, contribute to each other’s success, and work together as a team. Making office fun ensures employees are excited to enter their workplace. Fun events like potluck contests, face painting and movie premieres don’t cost a lot but deliver immeasurable employee bonding and camaraderie.
Whichever methods you choose to implement, the most important thing to remember is that you do so out of genuine interest and concern for your employees. What additional ideas has your own organization used with success? Share with us in the comments!
P.S. If you like the idea of the first point in this post and want to implement it in less than 5 minutes, make sure you check out HappyOffice. HappyOffice is the quickest way to measure employee engagement and collect feedbacks by department, geography, business unit and employee tenure. Amazing stuff, right?