Maintaining workplace morale has always been a challenge. With the recent remote-friendly decentralization of the workplace, the task of keeping morale high has become more difficult than ever.
As the world is constantly navigating new changes daily, leadership also means being attentive and aware of your team’s needs. While there are new tools on the market for more effective communication and productivity, sometimes team morale can take a dip.
If you’re leading a struggling team—either in person or in a virtual workspace—here are some ways to boost workplace morale as a leader on a daily basis.
1. Measure Workplace Morale
It’s difficult to know how to boost morale in a workplace if you don’t know what is holding your team back. The good news is that you can keep your finger on the pulse of your team’s needs in multiple ways.
For instance, you can:
- Request open-ended employee feedback (either directly or by offering an anonymous option) regularly.
- Create questionnaires that ask pointed and direct questions about the current morale of your team.
- Utilize exit interviews to gain valuable, unfiltered insight into your team’s workplace deficiencies.
Use these tools and your general observations as a leader to identify what it is that is hurting your team’s ability to stay positive and productive.
2. Improve Communication
Communication is critical in the workplace. It doesn’t just boost productivity and keep remote teams, in particular, closely connected. It can also keep everyone on the same page—something that is critical for good workplace morale.
If you have team members that are working remotely, they can become isolated in their own workplace silos. Gallup reports that even in offices, as much as 20% of workers report feeling lonely.
An isolated and lonely team cannot thrive together. Make sure to keep open lines of communication available, no matter what work environment you’re operating within.
3. Empower Your Employees
If your employees feel insignificant, it’s hard for them to feel positive about their work. Evaluate how your team functions and consider if, as a leader, you’re truly entrusting your employees with the responsibility to do things on their own.
This impacts every area of work. The obvious one is actually assigning responsibilities to employees and then trusting them to come through on deadlines and other expectations. But the trust should go further.
When you need to come up with an idea, be purposeful about inviting others into brainstorming sessions. If you know someone on your team who has knowledge of a certain subject, ask for their input. Always look for ways to make your team feel included, valued, and empowered.
4. Recognize Good Work
As you trust your employees to come through on their tasks more often, it can lead to another powerful morale-boosting tool: recognition.
Analyze your own interactions with your teams and consider where you’re recognizing good work. Consider a few key points:
- How frequent is your praise?
- Is your praise unconditional or does it always come with a counterpoint or correction?
- Do you try to praise everyone on your team?
You can recognize good work in a variety of ways. Anything from a kind word all the way to a juicy promotion can send the message that you see your employees are contributing.
5. Work on Transparency
There are proactive activities that can help you cultivate positive work morale, and then there are the workplace morale boosters that come from simply running an ethical business.
One of these is being transparent, both as a leader and as an organization. When you’re hesitant to give your employees important information, it can undermine their trust in you. If you want to increase work morale naturally, try trusting your employees with more information.
You don’t have to tell them every piece of sensitive data. All it takes is putting some effort into showing them that you want them to feel included and aware of what’s going on with the business that you all invest in together.
6. Incorporate Team Building Activities
Sometimes, all a struggling team needs is to spend some time bonding together. Team building activities are a great way to do this, and this includes a wide variety of options, such as:
- Asking icebreaker questions
- Playing a fun round of trivia
- Having your team share work hacks with one another
- Doing an escape room together
There are many team-building activities out there. Pick one that suits your needs, and use it to bring your team together in the name of better workplace morale.
7. Choose a Group Community Project
Volunteering as a group is a great way to bring your team together outside of the workplace. If your team is local, you can offer your services to a nearby charity. If it’s remote, there are many remote-friendly volunteer options out there, too.
If your company is focused on corporate giving, consider letting your employees choose where that money goes. Platforms like Groundswell allow you to set up personal foundations for each of your employees, turning donor-advised funds (DAFs) into an employee benefit.
Working together toward charitable goals that matter to your employees is a great way to boost morale in the workplace. It brings your team together as they share positive, fulfilling experiences.
8. Avoid Micromanaging
This one goes hand-in-hand with empowering employees. While empowerment requires trusting your employees, micromanaging is more of a self-evaluating workplace morale activity.
As a leader, do you trust your team to get their work done? Even if you do, do you let them do so without excessive input or monitoring on your part?
A leader’s ability to let go and trust their employees to do their work well can be a critical factor in addressing flagging workplace morale.
9. Look for Incentives
Sometimes, all an apathetic employee needs is a little motivation to work harder. That’s when a good incentive can make a difference. This could be something as small as a word of praise. It could also be something with more tangible value, such as a coveted parking spot or a financial bonus.
Regardless of the specifics, try to always have a list of incentives on tap to pull out and spice things up whenever your team is feeling sluggish.
10. Build in Quality Breaks
Employees know that they need breaks. Often, the problem is concern over what the boss will think if they stop for a few minutes. As a leader, you need to communicate (see tip #2) that breaks are okay. In fact, when taken within reason, they’re a powerful productivity tool.
Even a break as short as 30 seconds long can improve productivity by up to 13%. Encourage your employees to give themselves chances to rest throughout the day. That is a great way to make them feel seen and supported—something that will naturally boost your workplace morale.
11. Facilitate Employee Development
Finally, make sure that your employees feel they are getting chances to learn and grow while on the job. The modern work world is always changing. Tech is in an ever-evolving cycle.
Employment standards are changing thanks to the Great Resignation. Remote work is creating a new kind of workplace environment.
If you want to foster good workplace morale, make sure you’re enabling your team to keep up with the change. This can come through offering ongoing training. It can also involve helping employees create growth plans and chart career development roadmaps.
Showing that you’re willing to invest your own time and interest in your employees’ collective well-being will lead to a reciprocating attitude in most situations.
There are many ways that employers and leaders can boost workplace morale. This all starts with the first suggestion on this list.
Gauge the morale of your team and consider what steps you need to take. Then, use this list to address the issue and keep your employees happy and productive each and every day as you work together.
Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com
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