If business owners want the best out of their employees, they must focus first and foremost on employee morale.
Job satisfaction and feelings of well-being at work not only benefit employees, they directly impact their work effort and productivity.
That means the higher the morale in your office, the more individuals can raise your bottom line as a business.
Here are the fastest ways to increase employee morale. Start applying these ideas today, and you’ll see an immediate impact across your team:
Everyone craves recognition. After a long day at work, it’s the thing that keeps people plugging away at their job. If there’s no chance they’re going to be acknowledged, morale drops significantly.
One study found that 40 percent of Americans believed they would put more energy into their work if they received more recognition on the job.
To boost morale, create a recognition culture at your business. According to expert David Novak, these are some of the keys to having a positive impact:
- Give immediate praise
- Personalize recognition with handwritten appreciation
- Notice small wins
- Be transparent, because knowledge empowers employees
These tips align your management strategy with proven techniques to increase morale on your team.
Take Care of Workers
Morale depends on the relationship between a business owner and employees. When owners take care of workers, it boosts morale even in the toughest situations.
Ann Patchett, a bestselling author, makes her bookshop Parnassus Books serve as an incredible example. When one of her employees Stephanie Appell received a life-threatening cancer diagnosis, Patchett took the opportunity to support her in every way.
The shop created a fundraiser auctioning off painted piggy banks to pay Appell’s medical bills. Their efforts have been so successful that the shop is going to direct portions of the money to support other booksellers in need.
With genuine acts of kindness and support, employers can create meaningful relationships that transcend even the greatest challenges, boosting performance in really tough times.
Listen, Listen, Listen
One of the biggest detriments to employee morale is when workers feel like their needs are not being heard. Without the opportunity to express their ideas, preferences and concerns, they’re likely to lose heart.
This year, set up office hours when any employee can come talk to you about an issues or idea. Setting aside this time – and communicating this new option to employees – can transform morale.
When you talk to employees during these office hours, meetings and throughout the day, practice active listening. Make eye contact and nod along with them, never interrupting their train of thought. Take a couple breaths before you respond. Next, mirror their thoughts back to them.
By strengthening your listening skills, you create an open environment that supports both employee morale and performance.
Nothing helps employee morale more than a healthy dose of fun. When your team knows they’re going to be rewarded for their hard work, they’re much more likely to focus on improvement and performance.
Celebrate both individual and collective milestones. For example, if an employee has been with your team for five or 10 years, throw them a small party at your business. It doesn’t require a big financial investment either. A delicious pizza and cake can go a long way.
Also, make sure to celebrate collective achievements. If you have a busy season over the holidays or the summer months, celebrate its end with a day-long field trip. Take your team to the beach or into a local city to do something that nurtures the team.
Both these smaller celebrations at your business and off-site trips cultivate morale – they’re an enjoyable way to increase performance on a day-to-day basis.
Give Extra Time Off
Morale and performance both depend on a positive work-life balance. Time off, in particular, gives employees the opportunity to rest and recover, ensuring that they don’t burn out at work.
Approximately 75 percent of HR managers believe that time off improves job satisfaction and performance. With that in mind, consider giving your employees more vacation days and holidays away from work.
Next time there’s a holiday, consider surprising your staff by sending them home early. For example, closing the office at noon instead of 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving gives your employees the time to beat the traffic.
They get to enjoy an extra afternoon with their families or friends, rather than working a regular day. These unexpected benefits help workers to create balance in their lives, so when they come to work, they’re able to perform to their highest capabilities.
When employees do take time off, encourage them to fully step away from your business, unplugging from emails and phone calls. Only when people truly take a break, can they reap the benefits of time off.
Boosting the work performance of your team requires that you take a holistic perspective as a business owner. By putting the well-being and morale of your employees first, you design the ideal environment for them to thrive and contribute to your business.
Do you have any other morale-boosting ideas to add to this list?
Roger Demers is the Director of Channel Strategy for When I Work. He helps build out the partner channel with accountants, CPA’s and Consultants who recommend and implement software to their clients. Roger also focuses on building all franchise relationships – as well as larger enterprise sales 0pportunities.