Jessica assists customers in a local retail store. She started this job half a year ago, and has been consistently meeting her monthly targets. Though she never gets any acknowledgment from her manager or other staff members.
Not just that. The store recently hired another person in the exact same role as Jessica, at a higher salary than her. And this is despite the fact that the new recruit has no previous experience.
You can imagine how Jessica feels at this point. In fact, she has stopped trying to work so hard, and she mostly stays in the back room instead of welcoming customers at the front.
This story does a great job of illustrating employee morale. In the beginning, Jessica’s morale was high. But because of what she experienced at work, her motivation to give her best took a hit.
You don’t want to same to happen to your employees. Low employee morale can lead to a high retention rate and loss of productivity, not to mention poor customer service. So in this post, we’ll walk you through practical strategies that can help build employee morale in your workplace.
- What is employee morale and why it’s important?
- How to boost employee morale?
- Final thoughts: effective ways to increase employee morale
Employee morale represents the attitude, contentment, loyalty, and willingness of workers to give their best and proactively contribute to the success of their employer. And it’s about how they feel about their job and work environment.
While high employee morale has many benefits, it’s especially important for workplace productivity. Workers with high morale are always looking to accomplish more and excel at their jobs. They also keep a positive attitude and provide excellent customer service.
On top of that, good employee morale gives your business a competitive edge, even when your company is struggling with a crisis. For example, if a company has lost a major client or been hit with a natural disaster, employees with high morale can still work as a team to pull through.
In contrast, low employee morale reduces motivation and efficiency. Workers with poor morale give only the minimum acceptable work output. And they are always looking to switch to better job opportunities. So improving workplace morale should be one of your top priorities as a leader.
According to a study by SHRM, maintaining employee morale is a challenge for 67% of employers. But the good news is the following strategies can help improve employee morale at your workplace from day one.
In a survey of 6500 employees around the globe, Gartner found that 75% expect to see an increase in change initiatives at work in the next three years.
Change can be hard, but it’s necessary for any company to adapt and stay competitive. Whether it’s a merger or shift in leadership, change is inevitable. But if the change is not handled and communicated properly, it can damage workplace culture and employee morale.
For example, when you implement a hiring freeze, existing workers may assume that you’ll start downsizing soon. And seeing their jobs at risk will reduce their motivation. So it’s your job to properly manage this change and communicate to employees that their jobs are safe.
When implementing any change, always make sure to create, follow, and communicate a comprehensive plan. You and your team should be clear on the reasons for the change, its scope, what the employees should expect, and what they shouldn’t worry about.
When a job is too easy and doesn’t help the employee learn anything new, he can easily get bored doing the same tasks again and again. In contrast, if the job is too difficult, he can get discouraged and stop trying.
If you want to maintain high employee morale, you need to strike a balance. Your workers should have the tools, training, and support they need to carry out their tasks easily. At the same time, their assignments should be challenging enough to give them a sense of accomplishment.
So you should regularly challenge them with tasks they have never done before. When you assign them a role or project, let them take complete ownership of the process and the results. Show that you have faith in their abilities and expertise. And that you trust them to seek help as needed.
Plus, when they reach out to share any concerns or issues, encourage them to come up with suggestions and recommendations to solve those problems. This will contribute to their professional growth, and engage them on a much deeper level than letting the management take all the decisions.
Employees who feel a connection with their managers and colleagues beyond just work are more likely to demonstrate high morale. Friendships at work also make it easy to communicate, collaborate, and get things done fast.
So make sure to provide opportunities for employees to get to know and build rapport with one other. You can conduct team-building activities in the office, on a team retreat, or even virtually.
Examples include watercooler chats, virtual break rooms, and morning coffee standups. When your workers become as thick as thieves, they will show a high level of motivation towards their work.
In a survey of employees from various locations and industries, Staples found that workers want employers to focus on their health, with 41% of people even willing to take a pay cut if their employer invests more in their well-being.
Pushing your workforce to the limit may sound like a good way to increase productivity, but it’s more likely to have the opposite effect. It’s not going to work in the long run when your employees start quitting and burning out due to stress.
As an employer, you should aim to help your workers reduce stress and achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Apart from managing their workload and giving flexible work options, also consider offering an EAP (employee assistance program). Such an initiative can help workers deal with both personal problems and professional stress.
Also, encourage workers to get away from work and catch a break at regular intervals throughout the day. They can use this time to play a quick game, take a walk, stretch their body, or grab a bite. And the relaxation they get will help them be fully productive when they resume work.
Research by Salesforce shows that workers who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to do their best work. It boosts their confidence and confirms their value to the organization.
Image Source: Salesforce
Getting feedback from employees doesn’t just improve morale directly, but also helps you learn what else you can do for increased motivation. You get accurate data to evaluate and develop your workplace culture.
One way to get inputs from workers is to promote an open door policy. Let your workers reach out to you anytime with any concern or suggestion.
Another way is to conduct an employee morale survey. You can do this easily with our employee communication platform, Blink, for example.
With our integration with popular form builders like Survey Monkey and Typeform, you can run anonymous polls and surveys that get high completion rates and candid feedback.
Having an inspiring vision and communicating it at every opportunity is crucial for employee morale.
In many organizations, workers don’t know the “why” behind the business objectives, nor are they aware of how their own work ties in with those goals. In a recent study of HR and communication leaders, 20% named ‘Lack of clarity from the top’ as one of their biggest challenges.
When employees don’t know what’s expected of them and for what reason, it’s hard to put their heart and soul into what they do. Or to even know the right thing to do.
For example, your manufacturing team may make a costly purchase of an imported piece of equipment despite the vision being about using a local product. And this can lead to a significant loss of capital or brand reputation.
So make sure you clarify your vision to workers on a regular basis. A great way to do that is to regularly update them on milestones that take your business closer to its goals and values.
These may include celebrating a new client acquisition, expanding to a new location, or recognizing an employee who undertook an initiative that aligned with your vision.
On top of that, also make sure to have some kind of content library where all your employees can easily access guidelines and documentation related to your mission, vision, and values.
Blink, for example, comes with a content management hub in which admins can easily upload or create beautiful, responsive pages and documents.
Invest in training and development
To increase employee morale, you need to support workers in both their current roles and future aspirations. And that’s only possible when you provide opportunities for professional advancement.
Investing in your employees’ career growth and skill development also has various other benefits. For instance, a LinkedIn report states that 94% of workers would stay longer at an organization if it invests in their professional growth.
So whether it’s through employee onboarding or other formal training sessions, make sure that workers are fully-equipped to do their jobs. You can also start tuition reimbursement plans for employees who want to pursue higher education, especially for courses that will help them grow within your company.
In today’s day and age, talented workers expect more from their employers, and they have multiple choices when deciding where to work. If you want to attract and retain top talent that keeps your business thriving, you can’t afford to ignore employee morale.
Boosting your worker’s morale primarily boils down to small details. So when implementing the strategies outlined above, make sure to focus on flawless execution instead of just high-level planning. After all, no employee morale initiative can be successful if it’s just on paper and reality tells a different story.
When implemented correctly, the effort you put into these strategies will be well worth it. And you’ll cultivate a culture of increased productivity and collaboration for years to come.