May 13, 2024
March 1, 2024

5 Ways to Boost Employee Morale

Engage Your Employees Effectively
Engage Your Employees
Get Started with Awardco
Get a Demo

Employee morale is the fuel that powers productivity and keeps people motivated and happy. But even as the world is getting back to normal in 2024, employee engagement and productivity continue to stay low while stress and burnout rise.

Now consider the economic uncertainty still lingering around, the fear of AI replacing jobs, and the balancing act of working in-office and at home—it all paints a bleak picture, doesn’t it?

There are things that you, as business leaders, can do, however. Organizations can create truly supportive and motivating environments for their employees that boost retention and productivity. 

If you’re interested in how to improve office morale, we’ve got some employee morale boosters that will help you take your culture from ordinary to extraordinary.

Defining Employee Morale

Employee morale is essentially their attitude toward, and satisfaction with, the organization and their place in it. It’s the emotional attachment employees feel for their work that leads to greater engagement.

Morale leads not only to productivity, but also to creativity, curiosity, and innovation. Employees with high morale are happier, perform better, and stay longer because they care about their work and they know that their company cares about them, too.

Why Is Employee Morale Crucial for a Company?

Employee morale can have a huge influence on many different aspects of your company and workforce, and we’ve listed some of the biggest below.

1. Work Performance and Productivity

Employees who don’t feel satisfied, excited, or purposeful at work won’t put as much effort into their daily work. And the worst part is, this loss of productivity and lowered performance will spread—low morale usually doesn’t affect only one employee, so expect a chain reaction of underperformance as everyone feels the effects.

On the flip side, a positive work culture and high morale creates companies that are more effective and productive.

2. Employee Motivation

Motivation and morale are closely related. When employees feel appreciated, valued, and supported in their work, they’ll feel motivated to put their best effort in. However, when employees feel underappreciated or unimportant, they won’t be motivated. And when this becomes a company-wide issue, workplace motivation in general will sink.

3. Communication and Collaboration

Low morale means that people don’t trust or care about others’ success as much. When morale isn’t high for a team, they don’t believe their work is important, and they don’t put much effort into it. That means less collaboration, less brainstorming, and worse results.

Without that sense of common purpose, teamwork, trust, and enthusiasm, teams won’t be as effective nor as communicative. They just won’t care.

4. Turnover

According to different studies, the biggest reason employees have been quitting their jobs recently is a toxic work environment. In fact, that is 10X more important than pay when it comes to turnover. Another study shows that 57% of employees quit because they felt disrespected or uncared for at work.

Employees feel cared for when they’re recognized, appreciated, and supported in both their work and personal lives. And when that type of employee-centric culture exists, morale will be much higher, and employee turnover rates will drop. After all, who would want to leave a company that cares for and supports them?

What Affects Morale?

Working conditions are one of the biggest influencers on employee morale. Employees have to feel good about their work environment, feel confident in their goals and objectives, and feel respected and appreciated by their leaders in order to maintain a high morale. Put simply, the biggest factors that affect morale are:

  • The work. If the work is the same monotonous, unfulfilling, and uninspiring tasks each day, employee morale will be lower. Work should be purposeful and engaging, and employees should have the chance to grow and improve.
  • The organization. This is all-encompassing of your company: the values, mission, and culture of your business can have a massive impact on employee morale.
  • The people. Coworkers can affect employee morale, but this is mainly about leadership. Do managers and leaders appreciate and respect employees? If not, morale is going to be lower.

When employees feel satisfied with their work, comfortable with their culture, and cared for by their leaders, morale will be high. When those aspects are lacking, morale will sink, which can be terrible for your business.

Measuring Your Current Morale Levels

Before diving into the strategies for improving employee morale, it’s a good idea to learn more about where your employees’ morale is at right now. While you may not be able to get an exact measurement on a 1-10 scale, there are ways to get a good idea of how your people are feeling:

  • Send out a survey. Don’t ask questions like “do you feel motivated?” or “how would you rate morale?” Instead, ask about the company culture, their work-life balance, their work environment, their workload, and if they feel like their work has a purpose. Use an anonymous survey tool to get the most honest feedback.
  • Look at attendance. If people are engaged and motivated, they’ll show up. If your level of absenteeism is higher than it should be, that may be a sign that morale is low.
  • Pay attention to employee behaviors. Have managers pay attention to how employees are acting. Are employees frequently on their phones or taking breaks? Is there a lack of socializing or laughter? Is work frequently behind? These are all warning signs of low morale.

The best thing you can do to take the pulse of your organizational morale is to pay attention to how employees act and interact with each other. If there’s a general lack of excitement in the air, your morale is most likely low.

5 Core Strategies to Boost Employee Morale

If morale is the attitude toward their workplace and their work, or their emotional attachment to what they do each day, boosting employee morale needs to focus on that. Here are ways to boost employee morale to try.

Streamline Work and Readjust Responsibilities (if Necessary)

Work should be assigned to people based on their skill set, not on a dictionary definition of their supposed title. Allow employees to work based on their competency and skills—this will increase employee confidence and provide a higher overall quality of work.

Offer Professional Development

In addition to streamlining work based on existing skills, you should help employees develop the skills they may not have but they want. Encourage employees to create a professional development plan, and then develop a strategy that helps them accomplish their goals. 

Examples of this include workshops, guest speakers, mentorship programs, higher education reimbursement programs, and networking opportunities.

Provide Transparent and Frequent Communication

If you have significant or minor updates or changes coming up, plan a way to communicate these clearly and be open about how employees’ work/lives will change (if at all). These updates should be on a frequent and consistent meeting schedule. By being open, you show that you trust employees and value their opinions. 

In addition, don’t settle for an “open door” policy. Instead, proactively go around and talk to employees to learn more about their jobs, their concerns, and their lives. This is a great way to see where you can improve the workplace.

Be Generous With Employee Recognition

Your employees are humans, and they deserve to be recognized for who they are and the efforts they put into work. Recognition comes in many forms, such as:

  • Spot recognition. Programs that allow peers and managers to recognize others on the spot.
  • Milestone programs. Programs that recognize and reward employees for personal and professional milestones, such as service awards, birthdays, marriages, or having a baby.
  • Incentives. Reward employees with fun incentives that drive specific behaviors—wellness incentives, sales incentives, and safety incentives are all great ideas.
  • Flexibility. By offering flexibility, you recognize that employees have responsibilities outside of work. Flexible hours, flexible locations, self-scheduling, and unlimited PTO are good examples.

Create a Healthy Work Environment

Your employees should enjoy going to work—and yes, that applies to remote employees, too. Part of this is recognition because people need to feel appreciated when they’re on the clock. Part of it is enough natural light, ergonomic chairs, plants, and food.

For remote employees, provide them with a stipend to upgrade their home office or send them the occasional care package full of self-care items.

Another way to improve your work environment is by increasing trust and eliminating micromanagement. Let people work in the ways that work best for them and trust them to get done what they need to do.

How Leadership Influences Employee Morale

Did you know that 30-40% of variability in employee morale and performance is linked to managers and leaders? That’s right, leaders play a huge role in the morale of the employees under them.

To improve the morale of their employees, leaders must:

  • Listen to their employees’ needs and act on any concerns they have
  • Recognize and reward employees fairly for their work
  • Individualize their management style to match each of their employees’s preferences
  • Personify company values through their own actions to provide an example for employees

The Morale Mission—It’s Time to Get to Work

Improving employee morale is your key to gaining a competitive edge in today’s stressful, overworked environment. With the above strategies for improving morale in mind, take an honest look at your culture and your people and ask yourself: where can you improve? What aren’t employees thrilled with?

If you want to see how an employee recognition program can help you build a culture of high morale, schedule a demo with Awardco.

Jefferson Hansen
More from Author

An avid lover of fantasy books, a proud Hufflepuff, and a strong proponent of escapism, Jeff has a love of good storytelling. He relies on that for both his professional work and his writing hobby (don’t ask about the 10+ novel ideas collecting virtual dust on his computer).