When it comes to increasing workplace productivity, employee motivation gets the lion’s share of the attention. Motivated employees work harder, deliver better results, and have a direct impact on the bottom line.
Good managers invest time and effort into understanding their employees’ motivation (the fundamental reasons why they turn up and do their job) and adapt their management style and incentive programs to match those factors. It’s a sound strategy, and if done right it’s very successful.
SO WHAT ABOUT MORALE?
Morale is a more nebulous concept. It’s harder to define and harder to measure. It encompasses the way your employees feel about your organization, their work environment and the people they work with. It’s influenced by factors like:
- the design and atmosphere of the workspace
- the values and purpose of your organization
- the way people treat each other, and
- the way your company treats its customers, suppliers and stakeholders
But you’ve got motivation covered. Your people are well paid and working hard. So what does it matter how they feel about coming to work?
DOES MORALE MATTER?
Yes! Morale isn’t just about how happy your employees are, or how much they like their office. It’s about their confidence, enthusiasm and self-esteem, which have a major impact on how well they will do their job. What’s more, it’s about whether they really want to work for you.
Do your employees believe in what you’re doing?
Do they feel proud of working for your organization?
Do they feel included and part of the team?
If the answer is ‘NO’, the chances are they won’t be putting much effort into achieving your goals. Oh, and there’s also every chance they’ll be on the lookout for other opportunities.
While high morale won’t necessarily increase productivity – you’ll still need to put effort into motivating your employees – low morale will certainly reduce it, as well as making it a lot harder to attract and retain good employees.
10 SIMPLE WAYS TO BOOST MORALE
Need some ideas to lift the mood at work? Here are 10 easy and effective ways to boost morale in your workplace:
1. DEFINE YOUR VALUES – AND STICK TO THEM
When it comes to company culture, what you say means little. It’s how you behave that matters.
Your core values define the way you expect your people to treat each other, and how you treat the external people and organizations you deal with. They can be anything – e.g. honesty, creativity, reliability, respect, positivity – depending on what’s important to you as an organization.
What really matters is that those values are clearly communicated and that everyone lives by them. Putting your values into action will attract employees whose ideals are aligned with yours, and who are likely to care more about the work you are doing.
2. ENCOURAGE CONVERSATION
Few people are happy working by themselves. Even brief conversations with colleagues can have a significant impact on employee morale.
You can help this along by providing spaces where employees can gather and connect (a decent coffee machine won’t go amiss!) and by not being too focussed on keeping people at their desks.
If yours is one of the many organizations where remote working is on the rise, there’s a greater risk of people feeling isolated and disconnected. Offering a corporate chat room or social hub (like WooBoard) is a great way to connect people throughout your organization.
3. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
Enabling people to chat is one thing. Actively building relationships between colleagues and across teams is even better.
We saw a great example recently from one of our clients. It’s a pharmaceutical company with more than 100 sales staff out in the field, who have very little contact with each other or with the team at the head office.
They came up with the bright idea of setting up ‘WooTV’, displayed on screens at head office, where sales staff are encouraged to post updates on what they’re doing. Everyone is able to ask questions and make comments on the updates. It’s helping people to understand each other’s work, and build friendships across the company.
4. BRIGHTEN UP THE OFFICE
Our physical surroundings have an impact on the way we feel.
While you may not be able to refit your office, you may find that moving furniture, reorganizing where people sit or providing breakout spaces can improve morale.
Adding plants and art, replacing shabby furniture and providing desk lamps can make employees feel comfortable and valued.
5. BE FLEXIBLE
So you’re a 9 to 5 company –does that mean everyone has to be there 9 to 5? If you have employees with children, or who have a long commute, or a different Arcadian rhythm, offer flexibility to help keep employees happy.
Lots of companies offer flexible working hours between 7am and 7pm, for example to allow people to take care of personal business or accommodate other aspects of their life. And employees love it!
6. SAY ‘THANK YOU’
There’s no such thing as ‘just doing your job’. Everyone likes to feel appreciated for their efforts, even if the work they’re doing is expected of them. A brief ‘thank you’ goes a long way to make people feel valued.
On this one it’s best to lead by example!
7. CELEBRATE ACHIEVEMENTS
If an individual, or a team, does something fabulous, make sure everyone knows about it.
A public acknowledgement or impromptu celebration, possibly with cake, makes people feel special. It encourages them to go the extra mile.
8. GET THE GAME ON
Sometimes it takes competition to get people engaged. Gamification is a big part of what WooBoard is about. Here’s a fabulous example of it in action.
That pharmaceutical company we mentioned earlier decided to spice things up by using WooBoard’s Team Wall function to run an interactive competition. Each week sales staff post photos of their clients’ trade stands, and staff everywhere vote on the best product display.
Apparently competition gets fierce, but it’s lots of fun for everyone. It’s inspired some amazing creativity and made everyone feel more involved in the work of the company.
9. CRACK OUT THE TREATS
Surprise your staff with something special every now and again to lift morale. Turn up with cake or chocolate for no reason, or organize a team fun day or run an impromptu raffle to win an iPad.
Doing something nice ‘just because’ is an awesome way show your team that they are noticed and appreciated.
10. GET EVERYONE MOVING
Word has it that ‘sitting is the new smoking’. Encourage employees to focus on their posture and to get up and move regularly, and you’ll help their physical and mental wellbeing.
There are loads of ways you can get people moving. Set pop up reminders on their computers with apps like Pomodoro. Arrange a lunchtime walking club, host yoga or fitness classes or provide table tennis in the lunch room.
Whatever strategies you use – and this list is just the beginning – you’ll find it’s worth putting effort into boosting morale and showing your employees that you care about their wellbeing.
Photo credit: M Moser Associates