by Jason Richmond, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.
Organizations do better when their employees feel good about their work and are motivated to do their best. In the same way, organizations suffer when their employees lack morale and feel disengaged.
In the U.S., only 32% of employees are engaged in their roles. Considering that disengagement leads to decreased productivity and profitability, employers must focus on boosting employee morale and keeping their employees engaged in the workplace.
Employee morale and engagement efforts act as a catalyst for improving business outcomes. Below, we’ll explore how you can implement some of these measures to boost morale within your organization.
What is Employee Morale?
Employee morale is often described as employees’ overall attitude and outlook towards their jobs. A workforce with high company morale is typically more productive, efficient, and engaged than one with low employee morale. Happy and engaged employees also tend to be more loyal to their employers and less likely to leave their jobs.
A high level of employee morale often goes hand in hand with many other benefits. When you invest in your employees, you’re often:
- Keeping your company attractive to top talent and reducing staff turnover.
- Supporting your employees to maintain an excellent work-life balance.
- Motivating your team to do their best and reach their goals.
- Encouraging creativity and innovation in the workplace.
- Building a strong company culture.
- Creating a positive working environment.
- Improving communication and collaboration within your team.
How Can You Measure Employee Morale?
To boost employee morale, it’s important to first understand how your employees currently feel and where any pain points are. You can gauge employee morale in the following ways:
- Survey your employees: Employee engagement questionnaires are a great way to measure employee morale.
- Conduct focus groups: Hold small, informal discussions with a group of employees.
- Observe employees: Identify changing employee behaviors, such as increased absenteeism or disengagement among teams.
- Review the absenteeism rate: An increasing or high absenteeism rate often indicates low morale.
- Turnover rate: Similar to the absenteeism rate, an alarming turnover rate can signify low morale.
- Measure employee productivity: Low productivity levels can indicate whether employees are struggling or disengaged.
How to Boost Employee Morale
Here are eight strategic ways you can go about boosting employee morale in your organization:
1. Have Growth-Oriented Conversations
If you collected data from an employee engagement survey, bring your findings to life by sharing them with your team through genuine conversations. Make it clear to employees that you’re bringing the findings up to help improve their work experience.
Additionally, check in with your employees frequently and ask questions such as:
- How are things going?
- What can we do to make your job better?
- Is there anything on your mind that you’d like to talk about?
Make it a priority to listen to your employees and show that you take employee feedback seriously.
2. Make an Effort to Show Appreciation
Make it a point to show appreciation for your employees regularly, not just on special work anniversaries. Let them know that you’re grateful for their hard work and dedication.
Show employee recognition in simple ways, such as:
- Saying “thank you.”
- Giving employees handwritten cards, small gifts, or extra time off
- Making announcements or recognitions at company-wide meetings
- Promoting from within when possible
- Celebrating employees’ birthdays and milestones
3. Promote Diversity and Inclusion
The goals of diversity and inclusion in the workplace are to create an environment where people feel comfortable being themselves, everyone has an opportunity to succeed, and everyone is treated fairly. Achieving these goals can have a positive effect on company morale.
However, this strategy will only be successful if data and processes are analyzed regularly, roadblocks are quickly identified, and key stakeholders are involved in planning the next steps.
To promote workplace diversity, you can:
- Test for unconscious bias in hiring and promotions.
- Include all employees in diversity and inclusion training.
- Counteract stereotyping and tokenism by ensuring all employees have a voice.
- Foster a workplace culture of respect, open communication, and appreciation.
4. Create Opportunities for Employee Development
Invest in your employees by providing opportunities for them to grow and develop professionally. When employees feel like they’re being invested in, they’re more likely to be engaged and motivated.
Some ways to do this include:
- Offering training and development courses
- Paying for employees to attend conferences and workshops
- Cross-training employees in other departments
- Creating mentorship programs
5. Focus on Employee Well-Being
Employees need to feel like their well-being is a priority for morale to be high. Not many employees will feel motivated if they have a poor work-life balance or feel that the expectations of them are unreasonable.
With the five elements of well-being—career, social, physical, financial, and community—in mind, you can reduce the odds of burnout, stress, and other factors that can lead to low morale. Wellness programs, flexible working arrangements, employee benefits, and other initiatives can help drive these efforts.
6. Seek Employee Input on Company Decisions
Employees who have the opportunity to be involved in company decisions and feel their voices are heard are often more engaged. Make it a habit to seek employee input when making decisions that affect them.
Some ways to seek employee input include:
- Asking for feedback in one-on-one meetings
- Sending out surveys
- Hosting focus groups
- Forming committees to oversee larger matters
7. Lead with a Strengths-Based Approach
Every team member has different strengths and weaknesses. Learn about what employees enjoy doing and what they thrive at, and help them to align this with their roles wherever possible.
This can also lead to employees taking on different roles within the organization or pursuing professional development opportunities that align with their strengths and goals.
8. Organize Team-Building Activities
A collaborative and motivated work culture starts with team building. Team building activities can help promote communication, problem-solving, and creativity among employees.
To break the ice and get employees’ creative juices flowing, try organizing a group activity or event for teams to partake in. You can also hold monthly or quarterly team-building events to keep employees engaged.
The Bottom Line
Employee morale is essential for a productive and thriving workplace. It can drive success in many areas and significantly benefit your bottom line. By implementing the tips and strategies listed above, you can create a work environment where employees feel engaged, motivated, and valued.
At Ideal Outcomes, our culture change consultants can help you identify ways to improve your company culture, boost employee morale, and drive business success.
Are you ready to drive strategic culture change in your organization? Download the Culture Readiness Tool and learn where to start your culture journey.