Have you ever pulled open your office door and heard muttered words of discontent from your staff? Or are you in the enviable position of having happy staff that are more productive, and hence help increase your turnover?
Chances are that at some point, your staff will suffer from low morale, particularly if you do not put steps in place to counteract the likelihood of it happening. The problem is, many companies wrongly feel that implementing changes to boost staff morale is costly in both terms of money and time.
Fortunately, this is not the case. With a little thought and planning, you can easily put in place a morale‐boosting strategy for your staff.
A round of applause
An Accenture study finds that 43 percent of employees felt they were not credited for the work they do. Employers are often guilty of not using two simple words – “Thank you” – and genuinely meaning them.
It is no secret that sales teams use reward schemes to good effect, giving away holidays or cars or other such goodies to the top sales people. It is not just the physical gift that motivates people, but the act of being publicly rewarded for a job well done. For some people, the spirit of competition and winning is also a great motivator.
Although you may not be able to afford such grandeur gestures, having an employee‐of‐the‐week, ‐month and ‐year strategy, with the results publicly broadcast and displayed, is very effective. Winners can be congratulated at weekly or monthly meetings, or at an annual award ceremony. They can be awarded certificates, permitted to an extra day of holiday, or gain points towards an overall yearly prize (which need not be expensive).
However you choose to do it, rewarding your staff and publicly crediting them for good work is one of the biggest morale boosters available.
Your flexible friend
Unless you are in an environment that is driven by the clock and having staff present, such as education, it really doesn’t matter where the work is completed, as long as it gets done.
Giving staff the opportunity to work flexi‐hours, or work from home some of the time, is very liberating. This not only breaks up the monotony of the working week, but stimulates and motivates your staff to achieve. It also makes employment more accessible to working parents or carers.
Most employees value the trust you put into them and work hard to show you your trust has not been misplaced. Of course, it needs to be viewed as a privilege which, if abused, can also be taken away.
Making a big deal when someone has a birthday, gets married, or has an anniversary goes a long way to building morale.
When you build your staff profiles, make it a point to note all the important anniversaries in your management system so they are automatically flagged. Then on the last Friday of the month (or whatever you decide), gather the team, serve cakes and coffee, and toast everyone who has had a celebration in the preceding month.
Shops and retail businesses have loyalty schemes down to a tee, so why not tap into these and provide your team extra value, just for being part of the company?
Work with companies around you to provide incentives that are exclusive to your staff. If you don’t provide child care facilities, partner up with a local nursery that could offer 10 per cent off or a similar offer.
Your company may be too small for an in‐house canteen, but partnering up with your delicatessen to provide your staff with deliveries and exclusive money‐saving deals is another great partnership.
Other offers that could benefit your staff include laundry and dry‐cleaning, house cleaners, sports facilities and holiday offers. If you can think of anything that could save your employees time and money whilst offering convenience for the whole of their families, you are onto a winner. And it will only cost you an investment in time seeking these deals. You could even have a competition for your staff to see who can find the best deal!
It’s no accident that universities and colleges tend to have their sports afternoons on Wednesdays. The students have an opportunity to let their hair down, blow off some steam and breathe life back into their bodies right in the middle of the week. They have survived half a week of learning, and super‐charging mid‐week helps bring out the best of them in the run‐up to the weekend.
Implementing this strategy into your own work‐week can recharge and refresh everyone, and prevent that mid‐week slump. Perhaps have a competition, or an extra‐long lunch hour that incorporates a physical challenge or activity. Have an office treasure hunt, or a tournament, or lunch time yoga.
Not only does it give your staff something to look forward to, it breaks the week down into more manageable chunks. Incorporating a physical activity can also invigorate and refresh them.
Reap the rewards
Although some of these actions do take time to bring into being, and necessitate a few hours here and there away from desks, the return on your strategy more than outweighs any small investment. A happy team will out‐perform themselves, not because they have to, but because they want to. Loyalty and commitment to a company that treats them well will always result in positive results for all concerned.
So be concerned for the welfare and happiness of your staff; the results will speak for themselves.