Ways to boost employee morale without breaking the bank

Gallup revealed that up to $605 billion in productivity is lost annually because of low employee morale. Hearing this should make every supervisor’s ears perk up.

You can show employees you care about work/life balance and them as individuals in both low-cost and no-cost options that can make a difference in workplace culture by pumping up the positive vibe. That’s priceless.
Here are five favorites.

  1. Flexibility: Stress can be greatly reduced if you offer flexibility in work schedules to help employees honor personal commitments. If a parent can start her workday at the crack of dawn in order to pick up her kids from school in the afternoon, you’ll have a happier, more grateful employee if you make this simple accommodation. Schedule meetings when you know associates Zooming in from the road or different time zones can make it.
  2. Expression: Establish a break room with comfortable seating, green plants, beverage machines, and a white board and erasable markers. Encourage employees to draw, share ideas, respond to a weekly question and even engage in friendly banter about opposing sports teams in the upcoming weekend’s matchups or the best new show to stream. Camaraderie is built from familiarity, especially when employees are supporting and not slamming each other.
  3. Recognition: Offer a peer-nomination recognition program where associates offer kudos to teammates. All nominees can be publicized, with a monthly, quarterly and yearly winner given escalating prize packs. Establish a bulletin board, open computer terminal or actual suggestion box where employees can provide feedback by name or anonymously. If an employee’s signed suggestion saves money, share a percentage of the first year’s savings. Provide a merit award if numbers can’t be crunched. Employees know when they did a good job, but public acknowledgement companywide is even better.
  4. Community: Give employees an opportunity to bond with each other and their passions at specific intervals. Maybe it’s an afternoon every month or one day per quarter when they can volunteer somewhere new or they already love — and be paid for doing so. Make sure the receiving organizations know you’re providing these opportunities. Collect location data and action shots for your company’s annual report and social media. When companies endorse the community involvement of their staff as a point of pride and compensate them for it, everybody wins. And while you’re at it, make their birthday a paid holiday to be enjoyed within their birthday month. This enables the celebrant to have a day off in the middle of the week or create a long weekend if they choose. Even if the employee is out on their actual birthday, send a birthday acknowledgement.
  5. Unplug: Getting up from their work area to take a quick walk-around break is good for employees and only costs the time you’ve allotted them anyway. You can create a scavenger hunt or contest, with employees figuratively “walking” to a favorite city and charting their goals. Make a quiet zone with low lighting and peaceful audio where employees in busy call center and noisy industrial environments can enjoy the sound of silence away from headsets and machines.

Happy employees are estimated to be as much as 20 percent more productive. It’s worth even more to provide simple programs to build bonds, ideas and recognition for them. ●

Michele Cuthbert is CEO and creator at Baker Creative

Michele Cuthbert

CEO and creator


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