How’s the morale in your company at the moment? The last year has thrown many challenges at us all and it looks like continuing to do so for some time. So chances are that your employee morale might be taking a hit.
But what can you do about it? Particularly if your company is small, you might be struggling with more operational and financial challenges as well so it can be easy to think there’s nothing you can feasibly do.
It turns out that there’s actually a lot that even small businesses can do to improve employee morale – and it doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, you don’t need to spend much (or even anything), and it’s an area where a little bit goes a long way – provided it’s done thoughtfully and with genuine intent.
When it comes down to it, employees are not necessarily looking for ping-pong tables, elaborate gifts or overly-generous leave policies. Usually what matters is knowing that they’re valued, helping them get to know each other better, and feeling that their work is important.
Here are 3 simple things almost all companies can easily put in place which will have a significant impact on employee morale…
1) Celebrate Birthdays
Everyone likes to feel special now and again, and for most companies, a great way to do this systematically is simply by celebrating birthdays. This doesn’t need to be a big cake in the office, stopping work for an hour kind of situation (although it could be!) – the idea is just to make the employees feel seen and appreciated.
You could simply send around an email or message to the employee – perhaps including a funny gif that somehow represents their role or something about them. Or you could get more creative by having the person’s closest colleagues put together a video recording to recognize their special qualities. Or perhaps you have a stash of special balloons and decorate their desk before they arrive. In any case, something that prompts others in the company to reach out to the employee having a birthday can have a big impact on how valued they feel.
Bonus points if you also decide to celebrate work anniversaries too! You could do something different on these days – like feature them on your social media or get them to share their favourite meme with the rest of the team.
2) Run Regular Team Events
Running events these days might not seem possible, but even for fully remote companies, there are still ways to get everyone together (virtually) and reap almost the same benefits as being physically together. A lavish company-wide retreat would be great, but if you can’t do that, then get creative about what you can do. It might be as simple as a team-wide coffee-catchup, an online trivia quiz, or an agreement to do some activity together (eg a fitness challenge or a cooking class).
When you facilitate your team getting together, people get to know each other in much deeper ways which strengthens their ties to work, and also helps them collaborate better. Most importantly though, if employees know and like the people they work with, they are much more likely to feel happy about their work.
3) Share Customer Feedback
One of the most overlooked aspects of employee morale is the feeling that the work they’re doing is important. Depending on an employee’s role, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and how their work matters and contributes to real people in some way.
One way to offset this is to regularly share positive feedback with your employees. When you get direct praise from a customer, receive a positive review, or have some good news, make sure this is shared with all employees. Highlight the employees that were directly and indirectly involved and help them make the link between the work they’ve done and the impact it’s had on someone. You can also share things like the numbers of customers that have been impacted, the improvements you’ve made since last year and other things to celebrate.
Collecting customer feedback is a great way to get actual feedback that can help your company improve its offerings, generates trust with potential customers, and is great for internal morale building with your team.
Of course, there are many other factors that drive employee morale and the importance of having the basic hygiene factors in place should not be understated (like fair compensation, appropriate benefits, adequate conditions, and regular performance reviews). But these three morale boosting ideas are easy approaches that companies can use to build into day-to-day work life which can have a surprisingly big impact on morale.
Choose one that you’re not yet doing and give it a try. I almost guarantee you that after a few months, your efforts will be significantly contributing towards improved employee morale.