Establishing and maintaining a strong culture and high morale is an important part of any company’s success! A solid culture makes it clear to everyone inside and outside of the company what your organization does and how it does it. This is important to know regardless of what position you have in the company- from the newest intern all the way to the CEO.
When the culture is unclear or outdated, problems increase and morale decreases. When work feels stressful and pointless, morale becomes lower and it shows in the company results. Low morale requires a proactive response from you. As a manager, you have an important role to foster an environment that’s productive and rewarding for your own team.
When people feel good about what they do and how they do it, morale remains high. Employees belong to something bigger than themselves and they want to work hard to accomplish team goals.
Here are some helpful ways to keep culture and morale high:
Recognize Achievements (Both big and small)
Morale steadily decreases when people feel that their work is not being recognized or appreciated by their company and/or managers. As an employer, look for ways to reward your employees for consistent hard work. The rewards can be as big as a promotion or even just congratulating them and thanking them for their contributions.
Yes, employees are paid for their jobs, but that does not mean that their efforts should be taken for granted! The bottom line is to regularly recognize your employees’ efforts when they perform exceptionally well and do so in a way that’s personal to them. Your goal should be to create an environment where people realize their work is noticed and appreciated.
Change Up The Routine
Morale will also decline when the office starts to feel monotonous and robotic. If an employee comes in every day, at the same time, to the same place, doing the same things, you can't blame them for feeling bored. Changing up the typical routine can have a dramatic effect on morale and culture. Even if the changes are subtle, any break from the routine can be positive for collective morale.
Here are a few that can be implemented into your office:
- Let Your Employees Nap: According to a study in ScienceDirect, “naps do more to jump-start people than caffeine does. So instead of encouraging your employees to chug coffee all day long, let them take naps during the day.” If you’re feeling particularly generous, why not go ahead and install a couple of nap pods in the office? Or even a nap lounge? Your newly refreshed employees will thank you!
- Redecorate the Office Environment: When’s the last time your office got a makeover? If it has been a while, you may have a fun team project on your hands! Make some time to redecorate and give your employees a change of pace. Through redecorating, you are working on team building skills, changing up your atmosphere, changing up the pace of work, making your employees feel involved and promoting higher levels of morale and culture.
- Make Time to Exercise: As science tells us, working out is great for productivity levels. By encouraging employees to exercise during the day, they 'll be able to change things up and won’t have to worry about cramming in some gym time before or after work. Not only would productivity increase, it would also show them that you care about their health and not just the hours they are putting in for your company.
- Have a Little Fun: "Work" and "fun" are not mutually exclusive terms! Break up each day with a little bit of fun and work won't seem as much like work. A few minutes away from the desk can improve productivity, reinforce company culture and boost company morale worth far more than those few lost minutes of work. One funny video on youtube can quickly spiral into many videos if not careful, so make sure things don't get too out of hand.
Find some interests your employees have in common and start building some company traditions! Holiday activities, mealtime customs, or optional after work hangouts are all ways you can promote fun and employee relationships! Having an office Secret Santa gift exchange or sweater contest during the holidays, a monthly board game or movie night, going to a sports event together, or Food Truck Fridays are some examples of morale-boosting and loyalty-building activities you can try.
Having traditions is what makes each culture special and unique. It gives employees something to look forward to, and something for them to be proud of. It builds up the team feeling and makes them excited to tell their friends about how cool it is to work for you. Every company is different, so figure out what is best for your employees.
The best way to keep employee morale up is to make sure their voices are heard. No one wants to feel insignificant, especially at work. By listening to your employees, you are showing them respect. Take time out of your day to ask your employees if they have any concerns, new ideas for the company, or even how they feel about their tasks.
As a manager, you perceive the workplace much differently than your staff. Clearly communicating with them can give you insights into employee needs and proactively counteract many problems. If you can keep them happy and motivated, you'll have a much easier time achieving your long-term goals.
Succession Planning - Hire and promote from within:
When an outside manager comes into the picture, no matter how qualified they are, office morale tends to go down. Whenever possible, promote employees from within and utilize tools that will help you develop your employees to be ready for internal promotion. By implementing a succession plan type of platform for your company, you can improve individual employee relationships with the company and raise morale by demonstrating to the other workers that their efforts will eventually be recognized and rewarded.
As a manager, your team’s morale a top priority, and you need to be consistent and strategic with your efforts. Regularly communicating with your team, actively responding to feedback, and recognizing accomplishments will go a long way in helping you reach your own company goals and growth potential.
For more morale boosters and company culture tips, check out the Company Culture section on our blog!