7 Super-Effective Ways to Boost Employee Morale

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7 Super-Effective Ways to Boost Employee Morale
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7 Super-Effective Ways to Boost Employee Morale

The happier your employees are, the more efficiently your business will operate–which is why employee morale is a topic worth taking seriously.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into why that is and share 7 highly-effective methods to boost employee morale at your workplace. But before we do, let’s first clarify what employee morale actually is.

What Is Employee Morale?

Employee morale can be defined as “the overall satisfaction, outlook, and feelings of well-being that an employee holds in the workplace.”

At an organization where employees enjoy their jobs, support the company’s mission, and appreciate the corporate culture, employee morale is said to be high. By contrast, when employees feel mistreated, undervalued, or overworked, employee morale is often low.

Why Is Employee Morale Important?

Employee morale has a huge impact on numerous corporate goals, like profitability, productivity, and competitiveness. For instance, take a look at some of the ways employee morale affects the workplace:

For instance, take a look at some of the ways employee morale affects the workplace:

  • Work Quality – Work quality deteriorates when employee morale is low. In fact, according to the Journal of Applied Business Research, “engaged employees make fewer mistakes than disengaged employees because they want to ensure a job well done. They pay more attention to details and work with a greater sense of accuracy.”
  • Customer Experience – Great customer service helps to build brand loyalty. By contrast, disengaged or rude employees anger customers–who will often take their complaints to social media. When employee morale is low, employees are more likely to provide bad customer service–undermining all the efforts a company puts into attracting those customers in the first place.
  • Productivity – Unhappy employees are less engaged at work … and subsequently, get a lot less done. So much so that one Gallup report estimated that disengaged employees cost US businesses as much as $550 billion a year from lost productivity. By comparison, companies with engaged workers have 17% higher productivity and 41% lower absenteeism.
  • Employee Retention – Low employee morale is linked to higher turnover–which can be incredibly expensive for employers. For instance, according to Organization Science, the estimated cost of losing an $8/hour retail employee ranges between $3,500 and $25,000, due to hiring expenses, training labor, lost sales, and productivity. Worse, high turnover lowers employee morale even more–as overworked employees are forced to work harder to make up for a smaller or untrained workforce.
  • Profitability – Higher employee morale translates into greater profitability. For instance, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that companies with the highest employee engagement and happiness rankings earned at least double the amount of revenue as companies with the lowest employee engagement rates.Furthermore, companies with employee engagement programs report a whopping 223% greater customer loyalty and 26% higher increases in annual revenue.

What Causes Low Employee Morale?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to low employee morale. According to the HR Daily Advisor, the top 10 causes of low employee morale are:
Low Employee Morale

  • Employee Mistreatment – When employees feel disrespected or mistreated by their managers, understandably, morale plummets.
  • Constantly Changing Goals – Employees get frustrated when employers change goals so frequently that new ones contradict past ones. Worse, not only do frequently changing goals create confusion, but they can also make previous work obsolete.
  • Unclear Expectations – When employees don’t know what’s expected of them–or the criteria they’re being judged against–it’s natural for them to feel discouraged.
  • Lack of Communication – Nobody enjoys being kept in the dark. Worse, a lack of communication provides an opportunity for workplace gossip to run rampant … which is why companies that fail to keep their employees in the loop typically have low employee morale.
  • Lack of Appreciation – Every employee wants to feel like their hard work is valued–when they don’t, they’re apt to seek out new opportunities. In fact, according to Forbes, 79% of people who quit their jobs cite “lack of appreciation” as their reason for leaving.
  • Micromanagement – Employees want to feel like they have the leeway to do their job–without their decisions constantly being called into question.
    Micromanagement prevents that kind of autonomy, while showing a lack of trust in employees–which, as you might imagine, reduces employee morale.
  • Unreasonable Workload – It probably goes without saying that when someone is feeling constantly overburdened at work, they’re much more likely to experience resentment, burnout, and job dissatisfaction.
  • No Clear Employee Development Plan – When accepting a new job, most employees do so with an eye for the future, as they envision their path up the corporate ladder. However, when there’s no opportunity for growth–or the path is unclear–employees can start to feel frustrated.
  • Inadequate Compensation – Although compensation doesn’t affect employee morale as much as some of the other items on this list, everyone wants to be fairly compensated. In the absence of that, employees are more likely to experience low morale–especially if they’re also dealing with other workplace frustrations, like micromanagement or lack of appreciation.
  • High Turnover – As mentioned earlier, high workplace turnover typically means that other workers are stuck picking up the slack–which creates a stressful and unpleasant work environment.

7 Ways to Boost Employee Morale

Fortunately, there are a number of highly-effective ways companies can boost employee morale at their workplace. Here are some of our favorite methods …

Employee Morale Booster #1: Create a Culture of Thanks

Thank You

One of the best ways to improve employee morale is to express appreciation. While there are a number of different ways to show employees that their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, we particularly like how Badger Maps does it.

At Badger Maps, the leadership team sets aside time at the end of each Friday for team members to “give props” to anyone else on the team. This Friday forum presents a convenient opportunity for employees to publicly recognize their coworkers for their accomplishments and contributions throughout the week.

During this “TGIF meeting,” the company fosters an atmosphere of appreciation, respect, and teamwork–which goes a long way toward showing employees that their contributions are valued.

Employee Morale Booster #2: Adopt a Remote Work Policy

Remote Work Policy

Clearly, not every business can implement a remote work policy. However, among those companies that can, it’s an idea well-worth considering, since not only do most adults (87%) want the ability to work remotely, but remote workers are also 22% happier than those who never work remotely.

More importantly, a remote work policy is a great way to boost employee morale. For instance, one study monitored the wellbeing of 255 call center employees for 9 months-half of whom worked from home, while the other half continued to work at the office.

At the end of the 9 months, the authors of the study concluded that remote workers had a higher positive attitude, less work exhaustion, and less attrition (17% vs. the control group at 35%).

Even better, workers tend to be especially appreciative when they’re given the ability to work from home–which is why according to one Flexjobs survey, a whopping 79% of employees said they would be more loyal to a company that offered more flexibility.

Employee Morale Booster #3: Promote Work/Life Balance

Not only are overworked employees more prone to anxiety and resentment, but they also experience lower morale and reduced productivity.

For instance, new research from Stanford shows that hourly productivity drops sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and when it exceeds 55 hours, productivity declines so much that there’s no benefit to having someone work beyond that.

So, rather than promoting a morale-killing culture where working nights and weekends is the norm, show workers you value their wellbeing by establishing a corporate policy that they can’t respond to emails on nights or weekends … and have to use their full vacation time every year.

Although these are relatively small changes, they’ll signal to workers that you care about their health and happiness–which will have a big impact on employee morale.

Employee Morale Booster #4: Small Gestures Mean a Lot

People experience high employee morale when they believe their employer truly cares–and views them as individuals, rather than merely “resources.”

For instance, according to the Limeade Institute, when employees feel cared for:

  • 60% of them say they plan to stay at their companies for 3+ years (as opposed to only 7% who don’t feel cared for)
  • 90% say they’re likely to recommend their workplace as a great place to work
  • 94% feel personally engaged in their work

That’s why it’s a great idea to surprise employees from time-to-time with meaningful, small gestures–just to let them know your company cares.

For example, you might try offering pizza parties, donut days, casual Fridays, occasional gift cards, paid birthdays off, or the opportunity to leave work early from time-to-time.

Not only are these gestures fairly inexpensive, but they can also go a long way toward boosting employee morale.

Employee Morale Booster #5: Solicit Employee Feedback

Employee Feedback

It can be tough to improve employee morale if you don’t actually know what employees are thinking–which is why it’s so important you ask them.

Not only will soliciting feedback help you learn how employees really feel, but it’s also a great morale booster, since workers want the ability to provide feedback–but most companies give them little opportunity to do so.

Even better, there are lots of different ways you can implement this. For example, you could collect feedback using an employee engagement survey, a suggestion box, or even during a one-on-one meeting.

Just remember that the method you use for collecting employee feedback is less important than that you act on the feedback you receive.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for employees to believe that nothing will come of the feedback they provide, so for this to be a successful morale booster, your organization needs to actually listen to employees–then respond accordingly.

Employee Morale Booster #6: Encourage Team Building

Encourage Team Building

Research shows us that team building improves collaboration, productivity, employee retention rates, and engagement. It also helps foster workplace friendships, which is great for boosting employee morale.

For instance, according to one Officevibe study, 70% of employees say that friends at work are the most crucial element to a happy working life.

Furthermore, team building activities are a really effective way to improve communication in the workplace. So much so that according to Keka, 50% of the positive changes in communication patterns within the workplace can be accredited to social interaction outside of the workplace.

So, how can you encourage and promote social interaction beyond the office? We suggest trying some of the following activities:

  • Scavenger hunts
  • Volunteer outings
  • Trivia & game nights
  • Happy hours
  • League nights (bowling, softball, etc.)
  • Classes (painting, cooking, etc.)
  • Sporting events

By planning fun activities, not only will you promote team cohesion and trust, but you’ll also create an awesome corporate culture that’ll have a huge positive impact on employee morale.

Employee Morale Booster #7: Buy Green Plants

This one may sound like it’s coming from left field, but hear us out … by merely purchasing green plants and placing them strategically around the office, you can significantly boost employee morale.

For instance, according to Live Science, when 450 office workers were questioned about their job satisfaction and work environments, “people who toiled in offices with plants and window views reported they felt better about their job and the work they performed, compared to those in windowless offices without shrubbery around.”

And interestingly enough, plants were shown to have a greater impact on work happiness than windows … which is why research suggests that “plants are one of the least expensive, most useful ways to improve your employees’ experience of the workplace.”

So, if you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to boost employee morale, consider heading to your local nursery to pick up some green plants–stat!

In Conclusion

Employee morale may be one of the most important issues facing companies today–especially when you consider the impact it has on retention rates, productivity, and profitability.

Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways companies can improve employee morale … and by trying any or all of the morale-boosting methods we’ve given here, you’re virtually guaranteed to experience happier, more engaged employees.

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