Building morale at work can often be a challenge that leaves many employers and HR professionals scratching their heads. Sure, there are a lot of tips on ways to increase morale at work out there, but frankly, it’s often easier said than done (and let’s be honest, a lot of “fun,” “creative” tips on ways to boost office morale can read as gimmicky in real life). Instead, here are some realistic, actionable ways to improve team morale in your office.
- Show employees you care
- Give employees the recognition they crave
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
- Revv up your workplace culture
- Invest in employee benefits that will make a difference
1. Show employees you care
With a typical eight hour workday, time commuting to and from work, plus time getting ready for work and unwinding from work in the evenings, the average employee spends most of their day-to-day life at work or thinking about work. And while a salary can be enough for someone to stay at a job, it is not sufficient to truly motivate many employees to go above and beyond.
When it comes to building morale at work, employers often get what they give. And that means going above salary; according to Benefits Canada, employee benefits play a large role in driving employee engagement and boosting employee morale. Employee benefits and motivation in the workplace have a proven correlation; employees feel more engaged and motivated at work when they know that their employers care about their needs.
Employee benefits such as health insurance, paid sick and vacation days (PTO), and employee assistance programs (EAPs) are all examples of ways to improve morale at work. Even simple, affordable investments like providing coffee in the office or splurging on the occasional pizza lunch after a rough week are ways to show employees you care about them as people.
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2. Give employees the recognition they crave
Have you ever felt like just a “cog in the machine” at any point in your career? If you have, you know it’s not a great feeling, and it can leave employees feeling unappreciated, deflated, and even bitter about their role in the workplace.
Recognizing employees’ achievements is a simple concept, yet it can be easily overlooked in the everyday hustle and bustle of the workplace. According to Proofhub, 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.
One common misconception is that employee recognition automatically means a raise – not necessarily true! Employee recognition is not just a paycheque; employees want to be recognized for their hard work and achievements, whether that is through verbal gratitude, shoutouts, employee appreciation events, or employee appreciation programs.
As sappy as it sounds, don’t underestimate the power of kind words when it comes to improving office morale.
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Much like employee recognition, communication at work can sometimes fall to the wayside in the daily rush to get work and projects done. When it comes to building morale at work, communication goes beyond talk about work on the go. A positive work environment is one of open communication.
Regular one-on-one sessions between team members and management act as touchpoints where employees can have the floor to speak openly about their professional and personal journeys. When done right, these communication channels can be a great mentoring and coaching opportunity, as well as a tool to boost employee morale, engagement, and productivity. One-on-ones provide an opportunity to discuss (but are not necessarily limited to) the following kinds of topics:
- Challenges an employee is currently facing
- Individual employee objectives and goals
- Professional development opportunities
- Performance issues and feedback
- Thoughts and opinions on their current role/project
- Action items going forward
For tips on how to make the most of your one-on-one sessions, read SoapboxHQ’s guide here.
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4. Revv up your workplace culture
Improving office morale can be a challenge when employees are dissatisfied or disengaged at work, which is why workplace culture is so important. Workplace culture isn’t just a buzzword; an employee’s working environment can have a great impact on their morale and productivity levels. Ways to support your workplace culture include:
- Establishing clear company goals and values: Their job descriptions may differ, but ultimately, all your employees work together to support a common goal. As an organization, your workplace culture should reflect those values, and enable employees to work in accordance with those core beliefs.
- Offer flexibility: More and more employers are starting to offer their employees the ability to tweak their working hours, as well as implementing work-from-home policies. Offering employees the flexibility to do their work when and where best for them (given they can still perform job tasks remotely) has shown to boost morale and productivity.
- Empower and encourage: Are your employees encouraged to do their best work and grow in their professional and personal development, or are they driven by fear of making mistakes? Sometimes, managers can fall into the habit of focusing only on mistakes and errors. Are you using positive leadership to empower and encourage your employees?
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5. Invest in employee benefits that will make a difference
Employee benefits are so much more than just a box to check off. When done correctly, an employee benefits plan can assist in boosting employee morale, as well as employee hiring and retention. It’s a great way to make employees feel good about the company they work for, and know that they are provided for. In addition to traditional benefit coverage (i.e. health, dental, paramedical insurance), an increasing number of employers are now offering lifestyle allowance for personal lifestyle expenses such as:
- Childcare and petcare
- Education and upskilling
Nowadays, employees have come to expect traditional employee benefits as a given when working for an employer. Lifestyle benefits are a great way to go that extra mile to support your employees’ lifestyles and development not just at work, but outside of it too. By covering a portion of expenses related to health, personal development, and general day-to-day expenses, lifestyle benefits is one of the increasingly popular ways to increase morale at work, minimize absenteeism, and retain happy and healthy employees.