Most of us are aware that happy employees create a pleasant work environment, but did you know that happy workers also save their business money? It’s true – happier employees are more productive, less likely to take unnecessary sick time, and more likely to remain loyal to the business. And, if those aren’t enough reasons to motivate you to improve employee morale, consider this: hiring and training new employees is, on average, more expensive than investing in the people who already work for you.
So, what can your business do to create – and maintain – a work environment that brings out the best in your people? Plenty – and the good news is that Adecco has practical suggestions you can start using today to make it happen.
Re-examine your company culture.
Whether employees recognize it or not, every company has a certain culture – and it can be positive or negative. If your business isn’t actively fostering a positive culture, odds are good it’s the latter. Fortunately, it is possible to change your employees’ perception of the company – through a positive attitude, good communication and appropriate incentives – and have them embrace a new culture that inspires them.
Set the tone.
Projecting a positive attitude about your company, your position and life in general – at least around your employees – can have a significant impact on morale. As a manager, your attitude carries over to those you manage, so it’s important to begin and end each day on a positive note. There’s no need to go overboard, but compliments, enthusiastic greetings and small talk with members of your team can help keep employees invigorated.
Be a good communicator.
Stay in tune with your employees by scheduling regular meetings and forums where they can provide feedback and ideas. Setting up a company email address for feedback and suggestions is also a great way to encourage employees to take a more active role in the company. By offering opportunities for employees to voice their concerns and comment on company and industry issues, you are keeping the lines of communication open and providing them with a view of the big picture. By actively involving employees in this manner, it shows that their input matters – to you and to the future of your organization.
It’s also important to remember that keeping the lines of communication open with your employees is a two-way street. Your feedback can play a vital role in their job performance, so be sure to offer sincere, targeted praise when warranted. Most people can sense when a manager is being insincere in their praise, and offering general feedback rather than commenting on a specific accomplishment usually doesn’t do much to help the employee improve. So, determine the amount of praise each employee requires and dole it out when appropriate. Some, like new or inexperienced workers, typically require more praise than their more seasoned coworkers. Try to be timely in your recognition; waiting too long to praise an employee does little to encourage them to repeat their actions. Above all, remember the cardinal rule: praise in public, reprimand in private.
Invest in their success.
Help your team stay at the top of their game by providing ample opportunities for training – either through an internal program or with seminars or classes at a local college or university. The benefits of ensuring that your employees have the most current skills and are informed of the latest trends in their field are two-fold: first, they are better able to represent you and your business interests and second, learning new skills in their area keeps employees interested and engaged at work.
In addition to training, consider subscribing to an industry publication and having it delivered to the department for your employees to read. Or take it one step further and encourage them to join a professional organization – you might even elect to sponsor their membership, as some organizations offer a discount for group membership. Encouraging your people to participate in professional organizations and activities will help them stay in tune with industry developments and, ultimately, benefit your business.
And remember, just like actions sometimes speak louder than words – so too does money. Paying your employees a fair salary shows them that you value their contributions to your team. And, while money usually isn’t the main source of motivation for employees to consistently perform well, under-paying members of your team is a sure way to lose them. When someone believes that you don’t value their efforts, they will look elsewhere. This increases staff turnover and decreases team morale.
Who says you can’t have fun at the office?
Crank up the tunes on a Wednesday afternoon to get your people out of a mid-week slump. Or, occasionally break up the day a bit with a round of trivia or a quick board game. And consider taking it off-site: if there are batting cages, a driving range, mini-golf or a bowling alley nearby, try taking your group there for a long lunch every so often. While evening outings like happy hours can also be a good time to connect with employees outside of the office, personal or family obligations or even a preference not to drink (at all or with their boss and co-workers) – and especially not to drink and drive – mean that some employees may be unable or unwilling to attend and even some of those who do make it out will not really relax.
If taking your team offsite isn’t logistically (or financially) feasible, try ordering bagels for the whole group once a week – or even once a month. When it comes to boosting employee morale, a little effort on your part can go a long way.
Encourage a work/life balance.
Whatever else you decide to do to boost morale, be sure to set a clear example for your employees by maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Instead of eating lunch at your desk – which sends a message to your team that they should do the same – make a point of eating in a break room or leaving the office entirely at least a few times each week. If you’re sick, stay home, and, above all, use your vacation time. If your people see you taking care of yourself in this manner, they’ll be more likely to follow suit – and that’s a great way to keep morale high.