Is your team struggling to maintain energy throughout the day? And as a result, could they catch up on tasks? These are signs of burnout, and rather than punishing your team for falling behind, help them thrive by making changes that will boost employee confidence and overall morale. Measuring confidence in the workplace allows employers to know what they are doing right and where they need to improve. Changes in the workplace can be anything from implementing a shorter work week to allowing employees the chance to remote work or prioritizing social meetups to bring team members closer together.
As the workplace shifts and more and more businesses are adopting remote work and shorter workweeks, companies can now measure company success by the individual achievements of their employees. Here are ten ways to boost employee morale in the workplace:
1. Get out of the office: Organize a retreat
Organize a retreat that combines productivity with rest. Usually off-site, companies can treat workers to a new environment that often improves morale by changing scenery and illustrating that it could be centered around a specific project or to strengthen employee bonds.
Some ways that a company retreat can boost morale are:
- Collaboration. Employees are placed together in an unfamiliar environment, breaking down comfort zones, which can result in more cooperation. When individual workers cannot rely on their set environment, such as a workstation or meeting space, they may be more likely to interact with coworkers
- Trust building. Much like collaboration, new environments allow teams to work together and get to know one another on neutral territory. Because it’s a novel experience for all, the opportunity to build stronger, trust-based relationships is available.
- Focus. A retreat is a chance to remove the daily distractions and call one or two things into focus. In the case of boosting employee morale, centering a retreat on building community and trust among coworkers is ideal in an environment where everyone is experiencing something new
A retreat is best executed when planned correctly, so take the time and resources to really invest in your team. Typically a beautiful environment that lends itself to physical activity is a great way to integrate activities with team building, which will boost staff morale long after the company retreat. If you don’t know where to start, Surf Office can sort out the logistics, helping you plan everything from events, and extracurricular activities, to helping you structure your retreat.
2. Stay on top of trends
Staying on top of trends doesn’t mean going out and purchasing every new gadget that hits the market or forcing your employees to play games over Zoom. Instead, it means staying on top of meaningful workplace trends that have been shown to make a real difference in employee wellbeing, and learning why they make a difference is imperative to making significant change.
When it comes to morale, one of the biggest trends over the last few years that continues to be an integral part of the changing workplace is worker health Wellbeing in the workplace encompasses everything from mental health days to shorter work weeks to allocating a budget for health, which can be anything from a gym membership to mental health services.
If employees seem to be dragging lately, check-in and find out what element of the workplace environment or what combination of things results in a dip in morale. Often issues amongst workers are easily fixable and require care and consideration on the employer's end, whether that means lightening employee workload or granting teams more time by allowing them to work from home.
3. Prioritize work-life balance
Even if you don’t have time or the financial ability to let employees work four days a week (yet), there are ways to shake up the workplace that balances the scales with equal parts grind and relaxation.
Offering employees mental health days, like Fridays free or shorter work days, has boosted employee appreciation for the workplace and increased retention rates. Even with remote work becoming more commonplace, workers know the more significant trend toward a shorter work week.
While it may not be possible for your business to allow workers a shorter work week right away, or even at all, there are still ways that you can promote a more balanced work day. Exploring flexible hours, remote work, and designated team-building time will show that you are working toward achieving a work-life balance and will help boost employee morale.
4. Approach communication with play
Communication comes in many shapes and forms, like setting up an all-hands meeting to make sure everyone in the company is on the same page, to simply getting everyone in a room together to get to know one another.
A nice way to break the ice and get employees talking, especially if you’ve recently made some new hires and want them to get to know everyone, is setting up a time to do some team activities. Team building games and exercises can be done in the office, in a spare conference room or outdoor space if available, or woven into the agenda of a team retreat. After a long day working together, take advantage of the new surroundings and play games that facilitate connection and bonding outside of a professional setting.
5. Conduct “stay interviews.”
Many companies follow the standard interviewing procedure before an employee joins a team. An exit interview is often conducted if someone quits or gets let go.
Most of us with office experience know that the interview process can feel intense, and the high level of communication can be daunting at times. Still, it’s equally as jarring once you are part of the team and find yourself never communicating with management.
To avoid these drastic dips in communication, set up a dedicated time to meet with employees and find out what they like about the work environment, and even make space for constructive criticism. These types of interviews are often referred to as “stay interviews,” they take a proactive approach to interacting with employees, ensuring they are satisfied, thus boosting retention rates and individual morale in the long run.
6. Be honest about your weak points
While not always easy, articulating where you need to make improvements is a big step in the right direction to cultivating a happy and healthy company culture. Employees will appreciate honesty and recognition, especially if they have voiced concerns.
Company leaders should have a basic idea of what to keep an eye on that can be potentially toxic in the workplace so they can address the issue before it becomes a real problem.
Common issues that arise in the workplace:
- Employees need the proper equipment. This applies especially to remote workers who rely on laptops, cellphones, and various tech to do their jobs. Ensure your employees know they are valued by investing in the proper equipment.
- They are prioritizing prevention. Understanding that employees feel stretched thin or burnt out and alleviating their burdens before they decide to leave is always better for workplace morale. When employees start to feel bad, this feeling naturally spreads throughout the entire team, and once you go too low, it can be challenging to recover.
- Micromanaging. While an employer might think they are doing the right thing by closely monitoring employee output, it’s easy to cross the line and make employees feel suffocated by constant observation. Micromanaging is a productivity and morale killer, making employees feel that they cannot be trusted and thus, in turn, lose faith in the company they work for
If you are facing some of these issues in the workplace and your workers are feeling less than perfect, the first step is acknowledging and understanding the problem. Working together with employees to identify setbacks and then address them is a great way to start building trust and a strong communication channel that will boost morale in a big way.
7. Understand that building trust takes time
Many employers claim that trust is a staple in their workplace, but as long as employees are not made to be a priority, that word will eventually lose its meaning.
Building trust in the workplace starts with encouraging employees to speak up. That could mean setting up a suggestion box or an anonymous survey allowing workers to air their grievances if they have any.
In addition to making ample space for the employee to voice their concerns, taking action, addressing issues, and showing that building trust is a priority will get you far in the attempt to build a strong foundation of faith in the workplace. Setting aside time, whether in the office or on a company retreat, to explore bustling intimacy in the workplace is a great way to get the ball rolling. If you know where to start, consider trying some trust-building exercises and games that can incorporate teambuilding, being active, and shaking up a monotonous workday.
8. Encourage your employees to take the lead
Letting employees take the lead will allow you to avoid falling into an organizational silo and over-specializing your team. Encourage your employees to share their work with others by taking the lead on a current project or asking them to lead a team building night.
It encourages workers on all levels to engage with others on a more intimate level, professionally and personally, and it also helps build confidence in the workplace, which is an essential part of growth. There may be moments when a leader cannot be at the helm, and preparing your team to step in when needed is a great way to show that you trust your team, which in turn nurtures morale in the workplace.
9. Increase opportunities for growth
As a business owner, facilitating opportunities for growth is likely a major part of the job. Having a strong team or motivated employees is essential to growth, and without having their own opportunities to grow, will be unable to contribute to growth and development on the company level. Depending on your goals for professional development, there are many ways to create employee opportunities, such as creating a new position in a department poised for growth, or providing an education fund for workers to enhance their skills.
Here are some of the top ways you can foster employee growth and likely see a return on your investment that will benefit all areas of your business.
- Offer a continual education fund that allows employees to take classes, purchase equipment to help them learn a new skill, etc.
- Explore ways to add a new position that will help lessen the workload for other employees, facilitating collaboration and skill distribution
- Develop a mentorship program to help employees find their career goals and how to make them happen. A mentor can be a more senior employee or an outside party, like a careers coach
- Encourage growth and initiative. When employees reach a new milestone, such as a portion or implementing a new project idea, show them you appreciate their efforts by offering something tangible that will improve their work life, such as a raise, new equipment, etc.
While keeping the big picture in mind, investing in creating employment opportunities will contribute to the overall growth of your business, especially when it comes to generating new ideas, partnerships, and avenues for advancement.
10. Always make sure to show your appreciation
Some great ways to show employees you appreciate their efforts and not just significant achievements, but their dedication and consistency, is by showing them. By adding mental health days and opening communication channels, positive changes will occur, and with these changes, an uptick in employee morale. There has never been a better time to address morale in the workplace, as the demand for more balance and better treatment has become a priority for businesses, both big and small.
The next employee appreciation day falls on March 24th, 2024, which makes it the perfect time to start implementing changes inspired by what you’ve learned from this article!