15 Effective Ways to Boost Employee Morale in 2021

Business Management
Rea Regan May 26, 2021 18 min read
Boost employee moral with office teamwork

Quick Guide

    Morale. It’s that extra kick employees have so that they don’t show up to work looking like a zombie. Establishing a positive work environment and building a company culture that helps boost employee morale is key to avoiding mindless drones from clocking in and out each day. 

    Well, what is employee morale? Forbes magazine defines it as, “…the attitude, satisfaction, and overall outlook of employees during their association with an organization or a business.” As a manager, the responsibility falls in your lap to hire good people and to create a space where everyone feels confident to perform at their very best. 

    The Impact of Positive Employee Morale 

    First, positive employee morale leads to an increase in productivity and efficiency in the workplace. When employees genuinely enjoy the work atmosphere, they are motivated to work more efficiently and productively. Whenever employees have high morale, they will enjoy going to work and on top of it all, their quality of work is much higher. 

    Second, when employees have positive employee morale, they give the company a competitive edge. Think of this way, if your company is facing bankruptcy then one of the easiest ways you can pull through that crisis is when employee morale is high. Your employees will put their heads together, push on and will strive to avoid the apocalyptic end of the company.

    Positive and high company morale will lead you to attract and retain top talent. Employees will be far more likely to remain loyal to the company when they have a good and healthy work environment which in turn leads to higher employee morale and that positive energy will help attract and retain talent.

    Lastly, positive employee morale helps reduce costs. Think of this domino effect: high employee morale helps reduce workplace accidents which leads to fewer absences and helps lower stress which then leads to less paid time off. 

     Causes of Low Employee Morale in the Workplace

    • Lack of Growth

    Employees need personal growth just as much as the business does. When the company isn’t growing, employees can grow bored and unmotivated. 

    Research has proven that employees need growth to stay engaged and motivated because, without growth, they will become disengaged and will eventually leave for a more challenging role. This is the opposite of staff morale. 

    • No Clarity

    If employees don’t know what you expect of them or they aren’t aware of what’s going on in the company, they won’t be motivated to get the job done to the best of their ability. 

    You have to set clear and realistic goals for each employee. Schedule one-on-one meetings to track progress and to clear up any confusion.

    Leadership changes and problems are huge factors in creating employee morale, both positive and negative
    Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
    • Leadership Changes

    Change can be hard to handle but it’s a necessary evil. Whether there was a merger or a new hire at the top level, morale can take a hit when confidence is shaken, because if the company culture changes, so does morale. It is best to monitor employee morale when a change is implemented. 

    • Leadership Problems

    More often than not, poor leadership causes low employee morale. Those in leadership positions must understand how their behavior affects the team. If they don’t, morale will gravely suffer and if nothing gets addressed, morale will only plummet. 

    • The Company Itself

    Sometimes the company itself is the biggest and most important factor that can directly impact employee morale. The company can influence an employee’s attitude towards his or her work. Often, the reputation of a company can build up the employees’ attitude toward it and that attitude can be designed long before the interview process. Sometimes, a reputation precedes you and your company image, so make sure it’s an image that draws employees in instead of scaring them away. 

    With the above outlined, you understand the importance of employee morale and what causes both high and low company morale. You need to tackle it head-on and add its process to your company culture. 

    We’ve compiled 15 easy and creative ways you can boost employee morale, today. Don’t wait to implement these at your company, your employee morale needs to keep going up and not down so let’s get to it! 

    15 Ways to Boost Employee Morale

    1. Be Transparent

    Don’t attempt to hide problems or avoid conversations when morale is low. You have to remain transparent to boost staff morale. Your employees will respect honesty while you work together to fix any issues. Inform them about company updates, new protocols, customer feedback, and more. 

    2. Communicate Often

    Going off the last tip to boost employee morale, be sure to communicate! Share positive company announcements, like a new product in development or a glowing customer review. Your employees are human beings too and you need to treat them that way too. Communicate and loop them into a conversation that can directly affect them.

    Additionally, you should check in with your employees on a frequent basis, ask them:

    • How are you feeling about your job/manager/co-workers?
    • Are you facing any challenges? How can I help?
    • Are you happy at work? How can I help? 

    You have to provide open, regular communication about issues and achievements that are important to your employees. As far as boosting staff morale goes, this one is huge.

    3. Use The Right Tools 

    With all of the information we’ve outlined so far, it can seem a little daunting to make employee morale a priority at your company. However, studies prove that a positive work culture leads to more productivity than those that aren’t.

    Now, as a manager, you’re already juggling a dozen tasks (and then some). But knowing that, we’re well into the technological era and there’s an app for that!Connecteam updates employee engagementConnecteam is a leading employee app that offers a powerful and flexible, mobile-first communication and engagement platform for your team. Take a look below at how organization just like yours are utilizing Connecteam to boost employee morale in the workplace:

    • Recognize Employees: shout it from the rooftops! Be sure to send updates to the company to celebrate new hires, personal milestones like anniversaries, create an employee spotlight and allow employees to nominate their peers for awards. Then allow employees to comment and like the updates to drive additional engagement.
    • Share Success: send updates on business milestones like bringing new customers, a new location, smashing the goal or KPI set, etc. Also celebrate success stories from customers with letters, pictures, videos, a story and more.
    • Put Employees Front & Center: make decisions based on in-organizational surveys, launch a suggestion box to gain feedback and insights and introduce an open-door policy so employees can directly approach HR or senior management.
    • Wellness & Benefits: provide all necessary information under one roof that employees can access whenever they need and allow your team to register for company events right from their mobile phone.
    • Non-serious Communication: use nice GIFs for interactive content, allow people to like and comment to be part of the discussion, but in a structured safe organized environment. You can even start funny polls like who’s your favorite superhero?
    • A Personal Touch: from senior leadership all the way down, you can share videos from the CEO to every last employee. This is an easy way for front line employees to approach senior management in a structured and controlled environment.

    Connecteam is the perfect tool to establish a regular drumbeat to drive morale that’s infused in your company culture. 

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    4. Give Employee Recognition

    Focus on the good! When employees feel truly appreciated, they have more self-worth and become more productive employees. 

    How Full Is Your Bucket proves that employees who receive regular, positive recognition will experience: 

    • Higher productivity 
    • Better engagement levels
    • More loyalty to the company 
    • Higher morale 
    • Better customer satisfaction.

    Employee recognition is a no-brainer when it comes to creative and easy ways to boost employee morale. In fact, Gallup found that “Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes employees feel valued for their work. Recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement, but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.”

    At the end of the day: employee recognition is low cost and high impact.Connecteam updates employee recognitionAs mentioned in the point before, Connecteam’s employee all-in-one communication app allows you to share employee recognition with the tap of a button. For example, shine the spotlight by telling fun and engaging stories of employees and their successes, celebrate personal milestones together like meaningful anniversaries, newborns or adoption, or even birthday wishes, allow employees to nominate their peers for awards and even welcome new team members.

    5. Get Employee Feedback

    Getting employee feedback is a great way to boost employee morale. When you show employees that you’re listening, they will feel heard and are far more likely to be motivated. But it isn’t enough just to collect feedback, you need to act on it as well. Even if you don’t implement each piece of feedback, be sure to thank your employees for sending in their thoughts and suggestions

    To further support the importance of employee feedback, studies have found that

    • 87% of employees report they want job development but only 1/3 receive feedback they need
    • Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost companies in the United States $450-550 billion every year in lost productivity
    • Gallup also found that employees who aren’t receiving feedback are 40% more likely to be disengaged
    • 78% of employees said receiving recognition motivated them to do their jobs
    • And going off the last point, motivation pays off because companies with more skilled workers experience two times revenue growth and profit margins.

    All of the above proves that implementing and fostering a culture of employee feedback is not just a “nice to have” or something that happens during the annual performance review — employee feedback is a vital aspect of year-round performance management and development.

    6. Offer Employee Growth

    Boost employee morale by giving them a sense of purpose so they have a goal to work towards and something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be a job promotion. Instead, you can send them to a course or conference to improve their professional skills. Employees want to feel a sense of growth to be truly motivated. 

    why you should invest in your emplloyees - image
    https://chronus.com/blog/tips-revealed-employee-development-program-best-practices

    7. Run A Calm, Healthy & Organized Company

    Sure, pushing yourself and your team to the limit sounds like the right thing to do and is inspiring, but it won’t work in the long run. Your goal should be to reduce stress, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and to run a calm, healthy and organized company. 

    Offer an EAP (employee assistance program) that helps employees work through problems and stress, whether it’s work or home-related. An EAP is designed to help your team work through issues that may impact their health and wellness, or even their work performance.

    8. Train Managers

    If managers are not the direct cause of the low morale, the responsibility to fix employee morale is. Be sure to train all your managers in emotional intelligence, communication, giving feedback and recognition, and different leadership styles. 

    Managers can directly impact engagement and morale, so investing time in training them is one of the most important strategies for fixing low morale.

    Chron, a small business publication, found that “job satisfaction generally increases and self-esteem improves when employees better understand the workings of the company. Training can also enhance morale on the job and loyalty to the company. Workers who believe their company offers excellent training opportunities are generally less likely to leave their companies within a year of training than employees with poor training opportunities.” 

    9. Organize Team-Building Activities

    What’s the importance of team building games? For starters, it leads to collaborative and motivated work culture, aids in problem-solving among team members, fosters meaningful and open communication among peers, leads to creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, enhances productivity, boosts employee morale and it helps to keep creative juices flowing!

    Make team building games enjoyable and education at the same time, that’s a surefire way to lift employee morale for the time being. (This isn’t a long term solution but it can do the job just the same). Organize a scavenger hunt or create an office trivia challenge to energize your employees. 

    If you have remote workers, then look into these team building games made especially for remote workers!

     10. Provide Amazing Employee Incentives

    Now, this isn’t a long term solution, but when morale is low, dishing out some fun employee incentives can do the trick. Bring in some puppies from the local shelter, give out some scratch-offs, let employees work from home for the day – it’s amazing what these employee incentives can do.

    OR, you can develop something that can help your employees evolve personally and professionally. Sign them up for a course that ties to their professional responsibilities or give them helpful books to read to develop their skills further. Studies have also found that the longer you stay at work, the more important it is to get outside of the office, even if it’s just for a few minutes because creativity can take a hit when you don’t change environments.

     11. Encourage Genuine Breaks

    Research has found that only a mere one in five people take a lunch break and that white-collar workers are actually the least likely to take a break. That means that there are far too many staff members eating lunch at their desks!

    We know that creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to a nature-like environment, to a natural environment. So staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking. It’s also detrimental to doing that rumination that’s needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an ‘aha’ moment. – Kimberly Elsbach, professor at the University of California who studies workplace psychology.

    Encourage your employees to get away from their desks, at least for five minutes every hour. For example, grab a cup of coffee, take a walk outside for some fresh air, stretch your body and more. When you make this a habit, you are happier and can contribute greatly to the bottom line because you’re refreshed.

    Studies have also found that the longer you stay at work, the more important it is to get outside of the office, even if it’s just for a few minutes because creativity can take a hit when you don’t change environments.

    12. Promote Workplace Diversity

    By promoting workplace diversity your employees will feel and understand that thinking outside the box or being different is an asset to the company. A Forbes article notes that “teams and companies that make diversity a priority offer a variety of ideas, perspectives and learning opportunities. Diverse employees can bring together their different talents, experiences and various skill sets to come up with creative and inventive solutions, whereas another group made up of people with similar backgrounds and skill sets may decide to solve a dilemma in the same way they always have”. The bottom line is that workplace diversity brings your employees together; getting more work done as a team and boosting the company morale!

    13. Let Go Of Workplace Bullies

    No one likes getting bullied, and this is especially true when it comes to the office or any workplace. A Forbes article mentions that “workplace bullying not only impacts one’s happiness but injures their health, productivity and self-confidence leaving victims feeling stuck and powerless”. Workplace bullying definitely can and will impact your company’s morale. It’s important to make sure that all your employees understand that there is a zero tolerance policy for workplace bullying and to actually stand by these words to make sure no one feels they’re being treated unfairly in the workplace. 

    14. Buy Some Green Office Plants 

    Sounds silly, right? WRONG! Research from Live Science has shown that “people who toiled in offices with plants and window views reported they felt better about their job and the work they performed compared to those in windowless offices without shrubbery around”. 

    There is a direct correlation between employee morale and greenery in the workplace. Not only do they clean the air from harmful pollutants, but research shows that “plants are one of the least expensive, most useful ways to improve your employees’ experience at the workplace. Unlike traditional air filters, they continue to work better over time as they grow, and are more cost effective in the long run”. Run down to your local nursery and buy some plants that don’t require lots of water or sun!

    15. Make A Designated Decompression Room For Breaks

    Create a separate space for employees to go to and relax for a few minutes every day or when they need to take a break. Jeff Pochepan, president of StrongProject, notes that these decompression or recharge rooms “are more than a simple café or chair grouping in a convenient place for conversation between colleagues or that morning java that gets the juices flowing. They’re rooms where employees can take a few minutes of downtime to zone out, relax, stretch, nap, or even meditate”. Make a comfortable, separate space where employees can take a minute to relax and recharge but also talk, discuss and exchange ideas, all while simultaneously boosting company morale!

    Why Morale For Your Remote Workers Is A Must

    Business Insider reported that 50% of the workforce will work remotely by 2021 and with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, this is becoming the norm. However, the methods you’re using to motivate your in-house team won’t exactly work for your remote team. Most remote workers feel disconnected as remote work can be isolating at times. More often than not, they feel out of the loop, voiceless, and even lonely.

    remote work disadvantages
    https://remoters.net/remote-work-trends-future-insights-2019/

    As a manager, you need to find ways to help your remote team members feel motivated and appreciated. Here are just a few examples of how you can make this possible:

    • Streamline communication
      • Create clear communication channels
      • Be transparent
      • Encourage feedback 
      • Include remote workers in announcements and updates
      • Use a communication app
    • Make scheduling easier to connect remote and in-office workers
    • Be clear on expectations
    • Implement remote team building games and activities
    • Focus on performance
    • Trust that they’ll get the work done, don’t micromanage
    • Create a positive company culture
    • Give recognition

    Now that you can recognize the positive effects of company morale and you need to include your remote workers, you need to be able to recognize when your efforts are failing. Reread our section on “what causes low employee morale in the workplace” to ensure you’re not making the same mistakes with your remote workers. 

    If you’re interested in learning more about managing a remote team, this guide is perfect for you, as it takes you through all the necessary steps to ensure success and productivity don’t fail. Or maybe you need the right solution to manage your remote team or ideas on how to keep your remote team engaged?

     The Bottom Line On Employee Morale

    The second you recognize that your employees have low morale, from high turnover to less collaboration and little conversation, it’s time to take a stand. The best thing you can do for your company and your team is to embrace changes that positively benefit all before low morale hits. Offer any of the 15 tips we have outlined above and office morale is sure to increase.

    Boost Company Morale With Connecteam

    Reach every single member in your team, with fun, dedicated and measurable communication. Engage your team like never before, reflect your company’s culture and solidify your employer branding with Connecteam’s employee communication and engagement app.

    Boost Company Morale With Connecteam
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