10 Creative Tips to Improve Employee Morale

Employee morale is a key factor in determining whether an employee stays or quits. This is why improving the team spirit of your workers is essential for any manager who cares about employee retention.

Importance of Employee Morale

Getting trapped in a cycle of hiring and quitting or firing is expensive. If employees think the grass is greener somewhere else and morale is already low, they likely won’t hesitate to switch jobs. Here are a few benefits to keeping employees happy:

  • Reducing employee turnover. It’s no secret: employee turnover is expensive. If your staff are happy and stick around at your company, you’ll avoid the costs of constantly replacing and training employees.
  • Maintaining the workplace culture. If people constantly come and go, the culture will certainly suffer. Nobody wants to lose their best workplace friends, and seeing them go could plant a negative seed in their own workplace happiness.
  • Increasing productivity. Happy employees are productive employees. That’s a fact. And when your employees are operating at peak performance, your business will run much more smoothly.

How To Improve Employee Morale

So how can you keep your workplace happy and overcome a slump in morale? It might feel difficult to know where to start.

To kickstart the improvement process, try these 10 ideas to help improve employee morale in the workplace:

1. Give gift cards

Gift cards are a great way to say thank you. To celebrate birthdays. To celebrate anniversary dates of how long they’ve been working for you. Consider gift cards for restaurants, movie theaters, or big box stores.

Whether it’s a gift card or just a little gift in general, the goal is to show your workers that you appreciate them. 

2. Offer discounts for your own business

Many people appreciate discounts a major bonus of working for you. This gives you the opportunity to boost morale by offering a genuinely great discount, one that is better than what customers can get. When considering 5% versus 20%: think about which one would make you feel more appreciated. 

If you’re in an area where it’s tough to find workers or you’re struggling to find good applicants, you can also use this discount to entice new hires.

3. Get valuable discounts for your workers

Why stop with discounts at your own place of business? Whether your workers are part- or full-time, they’ll appreciate getting a deal at local businesses.

Can you work a deal with a local gym so that your employees get a discount? How about a local salon? Coffee shop?

Or, can you access discounts for online retailers or national stores? Can you share the discounts you get as a business (i.e. technology, services) with your employees? Corporations, in particular, often get discounts because of large bulk purchases from various vendors. If allowed, let your employees tap into this and get some of the bulk order.

4. Make the break room the place to be

Everyone needs to take a break and eat. Offering your employees food is an awesome way to keep them satisfied in more ways than just hunger. And do all of your workers a favor: go for tasty, high-quality and healthy, not just donuts.

5. Offer flexibility in hours

A willingness to work with your employees schedules is imperative. This shows your workers that you respect their work-life balance and understand that they’re human and have needs and lives outside of the workplace.

To make flexible hours work:

  1. Determine what times and days you need workers so you know where and how flexible you can be with what your business requires.
  2. Discuss what you need, and what the worker needs during the hiring process. Know beforehand what is expected.
  3. Communicate with the worker and make sure they have an avenue to alert you to changes in their schedule.
  4. Have policies that allow for flexibility to function, such as allowing employees to find others who are willing to take their shift if necessary.
  5. Have policies that allow “grace” days, i.e. days in which schedule conflicts do not result in punitive action or questions asked. 

Flexible schedules can be an amazing selling point, and 73% of employees said flexible work schedules increased their satisfaction at work. The goal is to work with your employee, not against.

6. Offer parking access for low or no cost

Depending on where your business is located, offering workers handy parking is a great incentive. In particular, if you’re located in a downtown area where parking is a challenge and parking garage fees can eat into wages, consider paying for all or some of their parking.

7. Provide great training

Give your employees the best on-the-job training they need to do their job effectively, but also make other types of training available as much as possible.

For example, if management is attending a conference, open it up to workers or offer to pay part of their attendance fee if they want to go. 

8. Give feedback religiously

Part of your regular communication should be on an interpersonal level, not just formal performance reviews to help your workers “bond” with the company. Keep in mind: a majority should be constructive feedback (positive or critical) that helps them see what they’re doing and the way they should be doing it.  Not only will the feedback shape the overall outcome, it will reinforce the connection between employer and employee.

But again, feedback isn’t a one-way street.  You should be listening to the suggestion your workers are offering up because they could lead to better ways to work.

9. Let them see you working

One of the biggest complaints that employees have (whether remote or in-house) is that their bosses never seem to do anything.  Sometimes, realistically, the boss isn’t doing anything. But most of the time that negative impression is created when the employees just don’t see the work that goes on while they’re not looking.

While you can’t (and shouldn’t) broadcast your daily tasks across the company’s website, you can engage with your workers in a way that makes them see the value of what you do.  Additionally, by modeling successful, productive behaviors rather than putting on airs, you provide a good example of the ethic they should be aspiring to.

10. Don’t cut their hours

You can’t have great employee morale when they know their personal income and job advancement is what you’re taking to the cutting block to solve your business’s income problems.

When hours are cut and turning full-time to part-time work is the budget fix, you’ll struggle to keep employees on long-term. Employees who don’t want to be part-time are going to immediately start looking elsewhere.

There are other ways you can cut back on business expenses, like monitoring office supplies and your electric bill.

Happy Employees are Employees Who Stay

All of these suggestions essentially boil down to creating a positive work environment. Your employees want to feel like a valued part of the company and that what they’re doing makes a difference. Provide flexibility, model good behaviors, and offer a few great perks, and you’ll see employee morale improve in no time.

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