People don’t leave jobs – they leave managers. But a great boss knows that keeping everything running smoothly is all about balance. The best leaders are able to balance the companies best interests with their employees’ best interests.
Employee morale can have a huge impact on the success or failure of a company. Influential businesswoman Anne M. Mulcahy once said,
“Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.”
She’s right. Without effective employees, companies would be unable to function. Employees help to shape how a brand is perceived. They can influence the level of customer satisfaction and even how much profit the company turns over.
Keeping employee morale high is a tough task – it is incredibly difficult to please everyone. That’s why this list of 70 ways to give employee morale a huge boost can be a massive help to your company.
Happier employees lead to more productivity and more productivity leads to better end results.
Put these tips into practice and you’ll see a big difference in the day-to-day running of your business.
1. Hand out Employee of the Month awards
Make your employees feel on top of the world by giving them a prestigious employee of the month award.
Recognizing an employee’s contribution to the company will make them feel valued and encourage them to continue their good work.
2. Place inspirational quotes around the workplace
Keep your employees motivated by placing inspirational quotes around the office. You could create custom-made posters that will help give your team that extra boost they need.
Ask your employees what their favorite quotes are to make sure the content you use hits the right note.
Sometimes employees can just need that little something to spark them into life on a cold Wednesday morning and an inspirational quote can provide this motivation.
3. Thank employees for what they’ve done for you
Express your gratitude for what an employee has done for the company by thanking them in person or giving them a thank you card.
Recognizing what an employee has already done for you is crucial to motivating them to do more in the future.
Employee morale will stay high if you are willing to make that extra effort to show appreciation.
4. Give birthday cards to your employees
While not as important as remembering your girlfriend or boyfriend’s birthday, doing something for your employee’s birthday can be a nice touch.
Giving them a birthday card is a great idea. You could personalize it to suit that particular employee and get it signed by the entire office.
Hold a mini party in the office and add some balloons for decoration. Bringing in some tasty treats for your employees to munch on will put the icing on the cake.
5. Show employees that you care about them
Being an employee of a company should feel like more than just doing a job. Employees must feel valued to truly deliver on their potential.
Even making an effort to ask them how their day is going could boost their mood and increase their productivity.
You want your company’s workforce to be an effective team and the first step towards that is making sure everyone is feeling appreciated.
6. Host sports events for your employees
While not everyone in the office might share Homer Simpson’s enthusiasm for ‘sports, sports, sports”, it can still be a superb bonding exercise.
It’s not about who’s the best, but rather it’s an opportunity to bring together employees who wouldn’t usually socialise with each other.
Ask everyone in the office what game they would like to try and then start making plans. It could be football, tennis, basketball, hockey or whatever takes their fancy.
7. Set a goal for the company and make everyone feel a part of it
It’s a lot easier to work towards a goal when everyone involved knows exactly what that goal is.
Outline to each employee what they can do to help the company achieve their objective.
When every member of your team feels like they can make significant contributions, employee morale will be boosted.
8. Help your employees to cultivate the perfect work/life balance
Employee morale will be much higher if they feel like they have the right work/life balance.
Nobody wants to go home to their private life and have to worry about what might be going wrong for them at work.
Only contact employees who are on holidays when you absolutely need to and when an employee is working from home, try to make sure that they have a cut-off point.
9. Offer training opportunities to your employees
A skilled employee who’s confident in their ability is likely to be able to make a difference to your company.
Offering employees the opportunity to improve themselves through training programmes is a win-win situation.
The employee gets the benefit of learning new things and the company gets the benefit of a more adept employee.
10. Don’t stick rigidly to daily schedules
A routine can be good for employees, but sticking too rigidly to a routine can be detrimental to employee morale.
Boredom can lead to demotivated employees. Keep things interesting by making sure that they have a variety of tasks to carry out.
On special occasions there could be extended lunch breaks or even half days to let employees know that not every day will be the same.
11. Give employees adequate time off
Make overtime optional, not a necessity, and try to encourage your employees to take their holidays when they have a chance to.
Employees need time to unwind if they are to flourish. Constant labor will only have a negative impact on their output.
Employee morale can be a fragile thing and burning the candle at both ends can completely eradicate it.
12. Celebrate accomplishments that the company have made
Treat accomplishments that the company has made as a team victory. Emphasize to your employees the ways in which they have made the accomplishments possible.
To celebrate these accomplishments, why not take your team out for a few drinks on Friday night?
If there’s an incentive like this to work towards, it can only have a positive impact on employee morale.
13. Give the office a makeover
Good customer service is obviously an integral part of customer loyalty. Making customer service the backbone of your business ensures that treating people fairly is always a priority.
Brighten up everyone’s day with an office that puts a smile on peoples’ faces when they walk into it.
A drab, dull office is not only uninspiring, but it doesn’t reflect well on your company when someone is visiting it.
Give the walls a splash of your brand colors and include your brand logo to a complete a professional look.
14. Create a welcoming space where employees can eat together
Make your canteen more than just a canteen. Make it a community space where employees can discuss new ideas and really enjoy their food.
If possible, you could hire a chef to prepare meals for your staff. The chef will be able to tailor the cuisine to the needs and wants of your staff.
If employees go into work every day knowing that they will be provided with a meal they will thoroughly enjoy, employee morale is bound to be boosted.
15. Organize employee surveys
Employee surveys have a number of benefits. They let you know what your employees think of both you and the work that is being done in the company, while simultaneously giving employees a chance to express themselves.
Everyone loves an opportunity to give their opinion or sometimes even vent their frustrations, and a survey is the ideal way of doing this.
The surveys could be kept anonymous so any negative observations won’t impact upon the employee who made them.
16. Allow inputs from your employees on how the business is run
It wouldn’t be realistic to allow all of your employees to make important decisions for your company, but they could be given an input on how your company is run.
Hold office meetings where everyone shares their ideas and create a document to track every input.
Don’t feel under pressure to use an idea. But if you do use one, make sure to credit the employee who thought of it.
17. Lead by example
Every team functions better with a strong and dependable leader. Recognize what traits you would admire in a business manager and strive towards those.
By giving 100% every day and taking your job seriously, you encourage your employees to do the same.
The standard for acceptable behaviour is set from the top and if you don’t behave correctly, then you can’t expect your employees to follow suit.
18. Have a ‘bring your dog to work’ day
If you don’t mind a bunch of cute puppies running around your office, then a ‘bring your dog to work’ day can be a great idea.
It can be a real kickstarter for improving employee morale. After all, how could you not smile when a little dog is in the office beside you?
You could take some cute pictures and videos of the dogs doing some work poses and post them on the company’s social media account.
19. Leave board games in the staff canteen
Build a positive atmosphere amongst your employees by simultaneously building jenga towers.
Leaving board games such as jenga, chess, checkers or even a pack of playing cards lying around can give employees an alternative way to spend their lunch break.
Hold competitions and hand out prizes to the winners to give employees an added incentive to get involved.
20. Do some random acts of kindness
While it’s important to retain your authority, you shouldn’t be in serious boss mode all the time.
Show kindness to your employees by giving them some early finishes or bringing treats into the office for them.
They will be grateful for the unexpected show of kindness and may even repay you with increased work ethic.
21. Have a pizza party in the office
Employee morale will go through the roof when your employees find out that there’s going to be a pizza party.
Have the party on Friday and build anticipation for it during the week. By the time the weekend comes around, everyone will be hungry for a slice.
You could hold a pizza party after a successful week or once every few months. It’s the perfect way to give employees a morale boost.
22. Give honest and constructive feedback
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to giving employees feedback on their performance.
If you don’t tell them the truth, they may not become aware of what they’re doing wrong and this could be harmful to the company.
If you give them constructive criticism, they won’t feel demotivated and will have the opportunity to improve their performance. You can make use of 360 feedback tools to easily gather structured feedback to achieve employee development goals.
23. Make sure their work area is comfortable
Become a master of ergonomics and create a work area that’s super comfortable for your employees.
If you really want to boost employee morale, introduce chairs that employees will enjoy sitting on and don’t just make do with the standard ones.
In time, a bad chair can lead to a bad back. And you don’t want the spine of your workforce to be suffering from a work-related injury. Sitting on exercise balls at work is brilliant for posture and balance. If the office space allows it, why not give employees this option?
24. Give your employees opportunities to get promoted
Each of your employees will want (and often need!) a raise or a promotion at some point in their careers.
With rent, mortgages, cars, families, bills etc., life doesn’t come cheap. Holding onto your best employees means making it worth their while to stay.
Help them to expand both their capabilities and responsibilities simultaneously, ensuring that are doing enough to merit a raise.
25. Host a bake-off
Allow your employees to cook up a storm by hosting a bake-off. Not only will you have great fun, but there will be a meal for everyone at the end of it all.
Some light-hearted competition can be a great bonding exercise and helps to increase employee morale.
As an alternative to eating the fruits of your labor, you could sell your produce to raise money for charity.
26. Arrange reasonable email times
Don’t be the boss that demands everyone looks at their emails while they’re on holidays.
This kind of attitude won’t go down well with anyone in the office. There should be a clear distinction between work time and home time.
If it’s really a necessity that someone checks their email while their away, make sure that you agree on a time limit.
27. Celebrate an employee’s non-work life
Your company will undoubtedly play a big role in an employee’s life, but it’s essential to remember that there are many other important aspects of their lives too.
When they get engaged, married, have a child, buy a house etc., make sure to congratulate them on it.
While you probably already do this and you do truly care about your employees, it’s important not to become complacent about such things.
28. Organize a daily huddle
Get your team together in the mornings to discuss the plan of action for the day. It ensures that everyone stays on the same page.
Daily huddles keep people informed of what’s expected from them and provides an opportunity for everyone to input new ideas.
Have a pen and paper at the ready so you can take notes from the meeting and maybe discover new ways to boost employee morale.
29. Deliver messages in person when possible
Promote communication in your office by encouraging employees to deliver messages in person rather than through a computer.
If you have to talk to someone, go to their desk. Not only will you build stronger relationships with your staff, but it will be easier to clarify the details of certain information.
A boss who is seen to be interacting with their employees is far more likely be well received than one who stays cold and aloof.
30. Rearrange seats in the office
Freshen things up in the office every now and again by rearranging where your employees are sitting.
Everyone might have their eyes on that coveted window seat so it’s only fair that it gets shared! It also gives people a chance to interact with co-workers who they might not usually socialize with.
A new desk might re-invigorate an employee and result in more productivity. However, if an employee is really opposed to changing desks, don’t force them to do it.
31. Run competitions and prize draws
Holding company competitions and organizing prize draws is a great way to increase employee morale.
The prizes don’t always have to be huge, as just the thrill of winning something alone can be a boost to employee morale.
Every now and again though it can be good idea to give out a prize that could make an employee really happy or one that could benefit their life in some way.
32. Have a budget for sports and social activities
Set expectations about what your company can do when it comes to sports and social events by drawing up a budget.
You could ask your employees to pay for half the cost of an event and then use the budget to cover the rest.
Employees will be grateful that they don’t have to pay full price and it’ll also help the company avoid covering the entire cost.
33. Make sure supplies are well stocked
A lack of supplies in an office can get frustrating for employees and prevent them from doing their jobs properly.
Have lots of stationery, kitchen utensils, cleaning products and of course, toilet roll, in the building.
A well stocked office is going to run a lot smoother than an office that is constantly short on supplies.
34. Let go of employees who negatively impact others
Recognize who the bad apples are in the company and then pluck them from the tree.
This doesn’t mean spontaneously firing people, but rather recognizing over a period of time if you have employees that negatively impact others.
They could be bullying others, be performing very poorly or have a terrible work ethic. Whatever the issue, it’s important that you don’t let it slide. Employee morale will be better when everyone is pulling their weight.
35. Celebrate any work anniversaries
If one of your employees has been at the company for a long time, make sure to celebrate their work anniversary.
Have an in-office party or organize a function for them. You could get his or her family in on the act too.
Loyalty is often hard to come by, so when you get someone that has stayed with you for a long time, it can be fitting to reward their loyalty.
36. Give out bonuses
Who doesn’t love a good bonus? That extra little bit of money can make a huge difference to an employee.
A surprise bonus can be an effective stimulant of employee morale. It can boost productivity and loyalty too.
If an employee had been thinking of going somewhere new, a bonus might make them think twice about it.
37. Don’t force people to come in during inclement weather conditions
Your employees will forever curse you if you ask them to come into the office when the weather is really bad.
Now that doesn’t mean they should stay at home whenever there is a light drizzle, but if there’s a bad storm or blizzard brewing, it’s best not to go out in it.
Enacting a work-from-home policy will make sure that everything still gets done, but that employees will be safe in their houses when the storm hits.
38. Outsource work when the need arises
Don’t overwhelm your employees by demanding too much from them. Outsource part of a large workload to other firms or divide it up amongst office.
If you don’t have this option, set reasonable deadlines for when the project needs to be completed by.
An employee that gets burned out from working too hard will have much lower morale and will be far less productive.
39. Make firm decisions
Earn the respect of your employees by making firm decisions and sticking to them.
They will often look to you for guidance, so if you don’t appear confident and decisive, it will have a knock on effect.
If effective work is to be done, a solid plan of action needs to be put in place.
40. Bring in a motivational speaker
Fire up employee morale by hiring a motivational speaker to come in and talk to your staff.
Employees need to be motivated to be effective and taking part in something like this will ensure that they are.
Motivational speakers can breath fresh air into a company and inspire new ideas. You never know, one of these ideas could help your company take off.
41. Meet your staff on a regular basis
Showing your face around the office is essential if you want to establish a connection with your employees.
By talking to them and getting to know them, their loyalty strengthens. It also helps you find out if there’s any problems that need to be dealt with.
There’s few things more demoralizing for an employee than when their boss doesn’t even know their name or what they do.
42. Try implementing alternative perks
Giving your employees amazing perks like a company car may not always be affordable for small businesses. That’s why it’s no harm to think outside the box.
Smaller perks like gym memberships, cinema tickets and concert tickets can be just as effective at boosting employee morale.
Even giving them a flexible schedule and opportunities to educate themselves can work wonders for your employee’s faith in the company.
43. Respond to problems quickly and effectively
If something is going wrong in the office, don’t let it fester. Respond to it quickly and effectively to stop the problem spreading.
It’s imperative that you show leadership in such instances. If you can solve any problems that arise, you will earn respect from your employees.
Employee morale can be maintained more easily when everyone knows that any bumps on the road to your company’s goals are manageable.
44. Hold progress meetings with your employees
Every now and again, it’s worth checking in on your employees to see how they are doing.
Holding a face-to-face progress meeting with them can help you deal with any issues they may have.
You have the chance to tell them where they are performing well and where they could improve. Make records to chart an employees progress from one meeting to the next.
45. Know the personalities of your workforce
People react in different ways to certain management styles. It’s up to you to figure out which best suits your office.
Some people need to be nurtured to excel at their jobs while others may require a telling off every now and again.
There are employees that you can give freedom to and ones who you may need to keep under a tighter rein. After working with them for a while it will become apparent what approach you should take.
46. Instil confidence in your employees by giving them more responsibility
Giving responsibility to your employees to carry out important tasks on their own can be great for morale.
While initially they might be apprehensive about the extra expectations, completing the task effectively will give them a huge confidence boost.
Compliment them on getting the job done well to help them carry that confidence into their next task.
47. Admit your mistakes
You’ll quickly lose the respect of your employees if you go around thinking you’re always right.
Failing to admit your mistakes can have a negative impact on the company too. If you persist with the wrong strategies, you’ll be doomed to fail.
Listen to the advice of those around you and learn from where you’ve made a mistake. Nobody is perfect, so don’t get too wrapped up in it either.
48. Tell everyone in your office about customer compliments
Set the standard you expect from your team by letting everyone know about customer complaints.
Being transparent like this allows your employees to hone in on the areas of your product or service they need to improve on.
While you should keep complaints about individuals anonymous, collectively knowing the issues the company is facing with can help you collectively deal with them.
49. Give an employee a public vote of confidence
Congratulating an employee in front of a client can do wonders for their morale. It shows them that you have complete faith in their abilities.
After all, if you had any reservations about their performance, you would never make such comments in public.
Employee of the month awards run along the same idea. It’s a public recognition of the contribution your employee has made to the company.
50. Avoid micromanaging
Trying to control an employee’s every move will never work and can do severe harm to productivity and morale.
Micromanaging shows a lack of belief in an employee’s ability and can be incredibly frustrating for them.
If it continues to go on, they will feel their role is worthless and may be inclined to look elsewhere for new opportunities.
51. Build teams that work together well
If part of your job involves putting together teams to collaborate on projects, then it’s imperative to make sure that those teams work well together.
They don’t necessarily have to be the best of friends, but a team where people are familiar with one another can be the most effective.
The team should be able to share ideas with each other and work closely with each other to hit their targets.
52. Encourage conflict if it has a positive outcome
The office won’t be a place of harmony every day. Sometimes there will be arguments, and when this happens, it’s best to let everything out.
Tension can build up when disagreements or personal disputes are left unattended. Step in and take control of a situation when you see one and put a stop to it.
If you have an issue with an employee, try to talk to them about it rather than getting angry at them.
53. Don’t take part in gossiping
There’s always going to be some level of gossip going on in a company, but as boss, you shouldn’t get involved in it.
Things you say can be construed to reflect poorly on you and bring into question your suitability for the role.
People will always talk, so let them. Gossip goes as easily as it arrives, so once you don’t get involved, it won’t affect you.
54. Hire the right people
Have a clear vision of where you want your company to go and the type of people that are needed to get it there when you’re hiring.
Look at what tasks need to be completed, then aim for people with the right qualifications and character to carry them out.
If someone fits smoothly into your workplace without rocking the boat too much, employee morale will remain positive.
55. Make sure your workplace is hazard free
Don’t take the safety of your workplace for granted. If your employees work where there is a higher chance of injury, then this is especially important.
Place safety posters in clear view and ensure that workspaces are tidied up after they have been used.
Check on things like staircases, elevators, pipes, windows and desks on a regular basis to avoid accidents.
56. Provide counselling for your employees
When things get tough, let your employees know that there’s someone they can talk to.
If you don’t have an on-site councillor, provide contact details for councillors in your area.
Make it very clear that there are structures in a place to assist them and be helpful rather than critical when it comes to the performance of someone who may not be feeling the best.
57. Foster a signature company culture
A good company culture can make a huge difference to employee morale. Look at what makes you unique and emphasize it.
Know what your values are, the traditions of the company, the attitudes of your staff and how they behave in the workplace.
Great company culture not only attracts new employees, but it can make employees want to stay with you for a long time. It makes them feel that they are part of something that’s more than just a business.
58. Hire a personal trainer
If your company is based in an office, chances are your employees will be sitting down for most of the day. That’s where a personal trainer can come in handy.
You don’t have to hire one full-time, but every once in a while it can be beneficial to organize group or individual exercise sessions for your staff.
If your employees are healthier in body and in mind, then they will likely be more productive in the workplace.
59. Keeping customers happy can keep employees happy
Employees can get incredibly frustrated from dealing with disgruntled customers on a regular basis.
If you are able to increase customer satisfaction, this will create the right atmosphere for employee morale to grow.
The last thing you want is a stressed-out employee snapping at a customer and giving your company a bad name.
60. Put yourself on the front line
Get stuck in to the day-to-day running of the company by getting involved in every aspect of the business.
Employees will undoubtedly find you more approachable and relatable if they see you doing the same jobs as them.
No one wants a boss that doesn’t do anything themselves, but delegates tasks to everyone else.
61. Volunteer for a good cause together
Volunteering together helps build team spirit amongst your employees.
It provides your company with an opportunity to give something back to the community and make a positive impact on the people that live in it.
Employees will feel good about the good that they have done and this can translate to an increase in employee morale.
62. Provide on-site services
Providing services like laundry, childminding, pet minding, vending machines, a coffee machine etc. can be huge boosters for employee morale.
After working their socks off at work, nobody wants to spend their evening doing chores. So if you have the option to help them get things done before they go home, you should take it.
Not all companies will provide services like this, meaning you’ll have some extra perks to offer potential employees that others won’t.
63. Turn experienced employees into mentors for younger staff
Give some of your seasoned employees added responsibility by making them mentors for younger members of the team.
You could use this as an opportunity to prepare them for a promotion or to challenge them in new roles.
Employee morale could also be negatively affected by choosing the wrong employee to become a mentor. But mentoring should be seen as an opportunity and not a burden.
64. Incentivize high levels of performance
The highest performers in your company are also likely to have the most ambition, so it’s crucial that you offer incentives to retain them.
Make sure they feel a big part of what the company is doing and give them an input in the development of the business.
However, you shouldn’t neglect motivating lower performing employees. You want to turn those low performers into high performers too.
65. Offer discounts to your own products and services
If your business revolves around the sale of goods or providing services, it can be a nice touch to give your own employees a discount.
This could be in the form of vouchers or a discount card. You could also provide bonuses that include free gifts from your inventory.
Saving money is a lot easier this way and you can ensure that your employees’ custom stays within your own business.
66. Grant sabbaticals to employees so they can pursue their passions
Sometimes employees don’t have enough time off to do something they’ve always wanted to do or to travel to their dream destination.
Sabbaticals or career breaks are a great way around this. It gives an employee the chance to go away for a while and come back re-invigorated.
It allows employees to grow and will make them even more loyal to you for granting them such a fantastic opportunity.
67. Pay for parking or public transport
While many companies have parking spaces on-site, this isn’t always possible if you’re located in a confined urban space.
Offer to pay the parking and public transport costs of your employees to compensate for this. You could employ a system where they hand you in a receipt and then you give the money to them.
A gesture like this will be extremely beneficial to someone who has to commute to work on a daily basis.
68. Make interns feel included in the business
All of your employees should be treated equally, and that includes interns. You should welcome them into the company with open arms.
Interns will be eager to learn and can be trained to acquire the skills necessary to play an important role in the company.
Introduce interns to employees who have been at the company for a long time and encourage them to mingle. A harmonious atmosphere at work goes hand in hand with good employee morale.
69. Don’t let your mood affect your actions
As hard as it might be, it’s crucial that you don’t let a bad mood affect your work day.
Recognize when you’re making impassioned decisions and put a stop it. You need to keep a cool, clear head if you want to manage a successful business.
You don’t want an employee having a bad day as a result of your irrational behaviour towards them.
70. Implement a smooth onboarding process
When new employees start working at your company, don’t bamboozle them with too much information.
Easing them in gently will make sure that they have a thorough understanding of what they should be doing.
If they are overwhelmed so early in their role at your company, they may become frustrated and look for other opportunities.
Managing employee morale is crucial. While attaining really good employee morale is the aim, maintaining it is just as important.
Set aside time at various intervals to plan what you need to do to keep employees happy.
By getting in a good habit of doing this, you won’t fall into old traps that might have harmed employee morale in the past.
If you have any more suggestions on how to boost employee morale, please feel free to share them with us by tweeting your ideas to @thedesignwizard.