In today’s challenging economy, your employees have been doing more with less for quite a while. As a result, they may be starting to feel a bit burned out. How can you create and maintain good employee morale so your team will be happier, more loyal and more productive in their jobs? Try these 10 tips.
1. Be a Positive Person. As the business owner, you set the tone for the whole company. Even when you’re feeling stressed-out and grumpy, you need to project a smiling, positive attitude. Optimism is contagious; spread it around!
2. Communicate Your Company’s Goals. Employees feel more motivated to work hard when they know the goal they’re working toward. If everyone is working long hours to land a big client or fulfill a rush order, make sure your team knows that accomplishing this goal will benefit the company and their jobs.
3. Listen. Many employees today are overloaded with work, but are reluctant to say anything about it. Ask employees what problems they’re facing and what they need in order to do their jobs better. You may not be able to fulfill every request, but there’s sure to be something you can do to help lighten the load.
4. Make Work Fun. Take a lesson from successful companies like Google and Facebook, where employees gladly work long hours because the office is a fun place to be. Think about what your employees would enjoy, whether potluck lunches, yoga breaks or bringing their pets to the office, and implement it.
5. Come Together. Feeling part of a group builds employee morale and loyalty. Hold quick morning meetings where everyone shares challenges or successes; plan team events like happy hours or bowling after work; and walk around to talk to your employees regularly, no matter how busy you are.
6. Celebrate. Whether it’s for an employee’s birthday, reaching a sales quota, the anniversary of your business or your 1,000th customer, celebrate the good stuff in your business. Public recognition of both individual and team successes builds momentum to achieve even more.
7. Pay Fair. Money is a big morale-booster. Make sure your pay scale is competitive with similar businesses in your industry and region. If you can’t afford to give employees raises, consider implementing pay-for performance with bonuses or profit-sharing plans that are tied to the company’s financial performance. With retailers now accepting credit cards for amounts as small as $5, there’s little need to carry cash.
8. Empower Employees. Employees want to feel autonomous and be treated like adults. Set policies and limits, but within those limits, give your workers leeway to figure out how to handle problems or accomplish tasks in their own way.
9. Offer Work Perks. Working from home or working flexible hours are perks that employees value enormously. If their duties permit it, give employees this kind of flexibility at least one day a week— and watch their mood improve.
10. Nip Negativity in the Bud. One bad apple can spoil the whole team’s morale. Be aware of what employees are talking about, and deal with rumor-mongers, gossips and complainers quickly so they don’t infect the rest of your staff.