Leadership & Management

How to Boost Morale at Work

By Beth Osborne for RallyBright

February 20, 2020

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Employee morale impacts every organization, and when it’s low, it’s cause for concern. Boosting morale drives engagement, which can positively impact productivity and lead to success across a company. However, it can be challenging to rally the collective morale of your teams. Your company has to commit to change and culture evolution. If you’ve been tasked with how to boost morale at work, we’ve got answers.

Low Morale Is Costly

Does your team seem happy? Or do you see signs of dread on their faces as they file into work every day? Frustrations could be mounting, leading to disengagement and low morale. Morale and engagement are interconnected – it’s hard to have high employee engagement without strong morale.

How engaged an employee is depends on two key drivers: connection and attitude. When team members feel disconnected – distant from and mistrustful of one another – they’re more likely to grow disengaged. If these attitudes turn to pessimism and complacency, it hurts your whole organization. If low morale and disengagement combine, it’s the perfect storm, impacting productivity and stunting innovation. Employees make more mistakes and lose whatever passion for their work they may have had. And typically, the ultimate result is high turnover that incurs the cost of recruiting and training new employees.

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Most leaders understand the connection between engagement and morale. Taking steps to boost morale can help turn things around. A disengaged employee doesn’t have to remain so. Show that you are invested in your employees’ success and growth so that their attitudes and beliefs can pivot.

Boosting Workplace Morale: Ideas & Tips

If you’re uncertain how to boost morale at work, try these ideas to infuse your workplace with more excitement and enthusiasm.

Practice Transparent Communication

Breakdowns in communication are frequent offenses that negatively impact morale. After all, most people don’t like being kept in the dark about changes and challenges. Your team doesn’t need to know about every aspect of the business, but they deserve to know about those things that affect both their role and the company as a whole.

By practicing proactive communication with your team, you can avoid feelings of exasperation and dissatisfaction. When your team believes you are honest and genuine in your communications, morale can certainly improve.

Offer Feedback Consistently

If your employees never hear from you about their job performance, they’ll feel disconnected from the process. They may assume they’re doing fine and maintain the status quo. On the other hand, they may believe their performance simply doesn’t matter. Feedback creates connections with employees, and feedback includes both praise and corrective guidance.

Doling out praise for excellence makes employees feel appreciated. They can easily see how their contributions fit into the bigger picture. Constructive feedback can be just as valuable, deepening engagement and clarifying performance goals.

Prioritize Flexibility

Today’s workers crave flexibility. In fact, lack of it is a major reason why they leave jobs. A FlexJobs survey found that 62 percent of working professionals left or considered leaving a position because of a lack of flexibility. Further research shows that millennials overwhelmingly value flexibility over salary.

It’s clear that flexibility is a key element in the question of how to boost morale at work. Advances in technology have provided businesses the opportunity to allow employees to work from anywhere at any time. As such, there’s no reason to put them in a box, chained to rigidity.

In most cases, work schedules can also be flexible. What’s important is that team members do their job well and meet expectations and deadlines. It may mean a lot to an employee juggling lots of responsibilities to be able to work from home a day a week or to shift their schedule from 7 to 4 instead of 8 to 5.

Offering flexibility sends two clear messages to your employees:

  1. You trust them.
  2. You value them as people who have lives and obligations outside of work.

If they feel these things, morale will substantially recover from previous low periods.

Offer Incentives

Everyone loves incentives! Considering salary and benefits alone as an incentive won’t help you move the needle on morale. Incentives are typically in the form of bonuses based on performance and usually tied to revenue, which some employees may have little control over.

However, there are many other incentive opportunities that require the completion of short-term goals or tasks. You can reward employees with gift certificates or even more PTO when they participate in activities like offering ideas to reduce costs, mentoring new employees or joining a work committee. These are things the individual employee can control and achieve.

Team-Building Activities to Boost Morale

Finally, you can make significant progress in boosting employee morale with team-building activities. With this approach, you are focusing on team dynamics. Team-building events are vital to improving the collective morale. Create opportunities both in the office and outside of it, such as:

  • Having fun Fridays: Take an hour or so to play games and have fun before the weekend
  • Feeding your team: Free food is something most employees appreciate
  • Organizing volunteer activities: Working together for the common good brings people together
  • Hosting scavenger hunts or events at escape rooms: These activities require people to collaborate and problem-solve in a fun atmosphere

If you want to improve your team resilience, you would do well to start with morale. Restoring the lost confidence or enthusiasm of a team isn’t easy, but it’s important, and the results are well worth the effort.

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