It’s no surprise that employees who are miserable at work don’t make for strong productivity. In fact, happy workers are 12% more productive than employees who are just phoning it in because they don’t feel appreciated, and/or are burning out from inefficient scheduling and micromanagement. Poor morale also leads to high turnover, hostile workplace culture, and other deterrents that will cause your organization to falter.
Giving your employees raises may temporarily help with poor morale, but raises are simply a Band-Aid that can’t fix an ailing company culture and what your workforce may perceive as antagonistic management as a result of low morale. Here are some suggestions for organically boosting your employees’ morale and fostering a happier and healthier company culture.
1. Recognize and reward achievement.
Your company just won an award, sales are up, your customers are leaving rave reviews on public review sites, the list goes on. You need to point out these great accomplishments and make your employees feel appreciated for making it happen. Office parties may be fine for birthdays and customer appreciation days, but you need to plan some fun events and retreats that really exemplify how much you appreciate all of your employees’ hard work. Get to know your employees’ interests so you can personalize those rewards.
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2. Don’t forget about financial incentives.
If your bottom line is swelling, you have your employees to thank. Bonuses on large projects that happened to be extremely profitable are one way you can thank them because, while raises help with cost of living adjustments over time, unless that raise is significant then the employee isn’t as likely to be motivated by it as they would be by seeing some share of the profit they helped create. If your top salesperson is well aware they sold millions of dollars this quarter and the marketing department has data that shows how effective their latest campaign was, you need to share the wealth with them to keep them happy, motivated, loyal, and spreading that enthusiasm to the rest of the team.
3. Give your employees more time off.
Your employees are still people who have lives outside of work. Giving them extra time off to pursue personal projects, spend time with friends and family, or just to rest will make them happier and more productive. This can be in the form of offering more paid vacation and sick days, but many organizations in both the public and private sectors are incorporating 4-day work weeks with massive success. Management in organizations that have instituted short work weeks has found that just like before going on vacation, their employees are focused and working faster during shorter weeks because they’re looking forward to three-day weekends. Additionally, showing your employees that you respect their downtime will not only decrease turnover but by giving them their time back for personal projects will even give you an innovative edge over your competition.
4. Incorporate meaningful time away from the office.
There are only so many company baseball games and corporate retreats you can have before the concept becomes passé. Many people want their work to have some kind of meaning, especially right in their community. Many also would like to volunteer and do more civic duties but don’t have the time between work, commuting, and raising families.
You can help increase morale and fulfill their desires to serve their communities by instituting company-wide efforts to help the causes your employees are passionate about. Departments and groups can organize volunteer projects, the whole company can volunteer and organize drives in lieu of office parties, or you can offer a few paid hours a month to each employee for volunteer work purposes.
The first step to improving employee morale is identifying the reasons behind why they are unhappy. Before your turnover rate gets out of control and all hope of boosting morale disappears, ask yourself these questions.