Everyone in the business world knows that keeping employee morale up is crucial for ongoing success. After all, when your employees are engaged, invested, and committed to their jobs, they go above and beyond at the job, and your company benefits.
Employees who are happy with their job, and the company they work for are:
When you’re bored or frustrated at work and just trying to get through the day, what do you do? Get a cup of coffee…and another cup of coffee. Discuss last night’s TV with the person in the office or cubicle next to you. Check your email. Check Facebook and Twitter on your phone. Again. And again.
If you see value in what you do, you engage. You feel pride in getting work done, see that it’s part of a big picture, and feel that your customers are left in a better position because of your contribution to the team. It’s human nature to work harder when we see the value of our work.
If your day is nothing but meetings that feel irrelevant, you’re going to zone out and just coast through. If, however, you feel encouraged to share ideas, to take the chance on being wrong, and to explore options with other members of your team, you’re going to come up with more interesting solutions, and increase the odds that you – and the company! – will end up with the right answer.
More Likely To Stay
If you’re satisfied with your job, and you are interested in what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stay there, look for opportunities to grow within the company, and generally develop along with the business or possibly become a successful entrepreneur. One of the most expensive things businesses do is onboard new employees, so making sure that you’re hiring the right people and keeping them happy once they’re there is one of the most important things you do as a company.
So, how do you actually improve morale?
Too often, I’ve heard managers shrug their shoulders. “Employee morale is down,” they say, as if this was something that happened in a vacuum, with no options for improvement. When I point out that employee morale is entirely within a company’s control, they look as shocked as if I’d just told them that I could reverse the tides.
Here’s how to improve employee morale at your company:
Walk the Walk
Everyone, from the CEO down, needs to enjoy where they are and what they’re doing. Sure, there are times when the work is more and less stressful, but workload is what we make of it. If managers aren’t happy, their teams aren’t going to be happy either.
Hire the Right People
If you have the right people in the right places, it’s much easier to support positive employee morale. Every position in a company requires a different personality to succeed at the role. If you’re hiring someone because you need a body in a chair, that body will never be as satisfied with the job as someone who excels at the work. Hire the right people the first time, reduce churn, and make everyone on your team a little bit happier.
Show Them the Big Picture
Do your employees know what their piece of the puzzle they fill with their role at the company? Do they understand how they help customers? If not, you need to share that with them and help them to succeed. If their department doesn’t fit with the company’s service mission, you need to reconsider why they’re there in the first place. When companies communicate the importance of each role, employees are happier to do their jobs.
Thank Them for Their Service in Their Language
Some employees want to be thanked at the big team meeting you have every month; others much prefer to have a quiet moment with their boss’s full attention to share their concerns or the problems they’ve noticed. When you understand how your employees want to be thanked, you can make sure that you’re rewarding them, not embarrassing or upsetting them.
Acknowledge Their Lives Outside of Work
HR departments tend to say “leave your life at home,” but anyone who’s ever worked a job knows that doing that can be impossible. Instead of demanding the impossible, acknowledge your employees’ birthdays. Send around a card for team members to sign on their birthdays, send small gifts when a new baby is born or if there’s a death in the family. Acknowledge that your employees are people first, and watch their productivity and engagement soar.
It can seem like managing employee morale is expensive, but as I’ve shown you here, the only cost is in time and attention. The benefits you get from these small changes are so worthwhile that no company should ever make excuses for poor employee morale. Fix the problems, and get back to work!