“It is not numbers or strength that bring the victories in war. No, it is when one side goes against the enemy with the gods’ gift of a stronger morale that their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them.”
― Xenophon, The Persian Expedition
In this competitive and high-pressure businessworld most companies prefer short-term financial benefits over having a strong and high-morale team working for them. Companies sometimes dedicate mountains of resources to their “Human Resource” departments to find great employees, only to neglect them after they are hired.
There is a direct correlation between morale and productivity/growth. As a business owner or a manager, how seriously do you take employee morale, and what steps are you taking to improve it? You are at a severe disadvantage if you are not concerned about low staff morale, because it can lead to staff disengagement, lower productivity and higher turnover rate, to name a few.
In studies by the Queens School of Business and by the Gallup Organization, disengaged and low morale workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects in their work.
At our company, we use some simple and effective methods to improve employee morale and it has yielded amazing improvements for us – both in morale and revenue. I want to share these ways with you so that you and your employees can gain the long term benefits as well.
Show That You Care
Employees are people, not just numbers or statistics, and as such should be treated with dignity and respect. Employees feel more motivated when their employer effectively communicates to them that they are a valued part of the business. Communicate more often; be involved in their lives by remembering their birthdays or wedding anniversaries (you probably have a whole HR department or at the very least an HR person to help you with that).
Small things like having ergonomic chairs show your employees that you are interested in their comfort level.
At iDesignYours, we advocate the very simple practice of asking our employees key questions;
- How do you feel about this project?
- Do you need any help completing it? (If “yes” answer, we will find a way to assist them)
- Have you thought of any projects that you’d like to do?
Asking these types of questions, and responding with care to the answers, can really boost an employee’s mood and creativity. You are bound to get good returns for this.
Encourage Work-Life Balance Amongst Your Employees
Work-Life imbalance is cited as the most probable cause of stress and low morale. We make sure to give our employees a very flexible schedule, and when people have a family emergency, like a doctor’s visit, we find someone else to pick up the slack so they can take care of themselves.
Show your employees that you respect their time and leave them alone when they are out of work, unless of course you have an emergency. In this case you should make it well known to your employees, beforehand, that if you need their help when it’s their time off, you will compensate them for their assistance.
If you see someone working after hours, have a simple talk with them along the lines that you appreciate their dedication but you want them to spend their after-hours time with their families and friends.
Acts of respect and courtesy on the part of an employer will go a long way towards increasing your bottom line. You will observe that your employees are more energetic and productive when you act in this fashion.
Gather Feedback For Your Business Decisions
Empower your employees by allowing them to rearrange their tasks, let them feel more in control of their work and priorities. Get feedback from employees about business decisions and encourage them to volunteer innovative ideas they may think of.
When you use one of your employee’s ideas to improve something at work, make sure you recognize their contribution in front of their co-workers. Sometimes a reward may also be appropriate, and will go a long way towards getting others to jump on the bandwagon.
“When employees feel valued and vested, they are part of something bigger and work for the benefit of the company, not just for themselves as individuals,” says Melinda Starbird, Auth0’s vice president of people and culture.
Appreciation Goes Further Than You Thought!
It is easy to overlook basics like a simple “Thank You” for a job well-done. Recognizing success and acknowledging achievements, both publicly and privately, creates an environment where employees feel valued. Use social media to openly appreciate your staff.
Think outside the box when creating incentives and rewards for top performing employees like; arranging a wellness massage, getting a kindle subscription for nerds, buying them something that complements their personal hobby, to name a few. Hey, if someone’s doing a great job for you, come out and ask them what they’d like. Better than to guess and get it wrong. Remember, they didn’t disappoint you, don’t disappoint them.
In a reverse strategy, consider how you could reward an underachiever. Maybe there is a good reason they are underperforming; a sick relative they are taking care of, a family tragedy such as divorce or an incarcerated child. If you see someone underachieving at your business, make it your business to find out why. If it is fixable, make it happen. If it’s because they don’t like their job, that’s probably something you can’t fix. In this case you might want to find an amicable way to let them go. Just keep in mind, sometimes an underachiever can surprise you and turn out to be your best employee, once you remove the roadblock that’s holding them back. Doing this has an added benefit for you too: your other employees will have more respect for you as a leader.
Build and Nurture A Team
Developing great people is key to the strong foundations and ongoing success. Invest time and effort in building trust with your employees. Build a team like a family, and motivate them to improve by offering free classes to those interested.
Help them grow and they’ll help you grow.
Do you have any more tips for increasing staff morale and productivity? Share with us in the comments.