Employee morale is a prominent topic of discussion among business leaders today, but this hasn’t always been the case. The predominant management strategy is one of attempting to force employees to be productive, a style that simply does more harm than good. However, that kind of management has been so pervasive for so long that it has become deeply entrenched in business culture. Here are the tips you’ll need to address this problem and boost morale and productivity in one fell swoop.
One of the most pressing problems for modern workers is the sense that they’re not really progressing in their own lives despite committing all of their time to their jobs. It’s easy for modern workers not to see the fruits of their labor, and that can be devastating on a subconscious level. However, giving your employees room to grow can make a world of difference by giving them a sense of progression to look forward to and, more importantly, aspire to. On the flip side, this kind of thinking doesn’t have to be reserved for existing employees. By restructuring your hiring process in order to create a more diverse workforce, you can create opportunities for the less privileged members of your community and build a dynamic and interesting work place for everyone involved. This is especially true because of the lack of mental stimulation that can make a job overly tedious.
Provide Mental Stimulation
The problem with holding down a job for an extended period of time is that it can and will become rote. When you first start a new job, there’s an excitement to doing something new and learning the skills associated with it, but this novelty wears off quickly in favor of more skill and a more consistently excellent performance. This is good for businesses, but it’s bad for the minds of workers. By providing employees with some more stimulation around the office, you can combat the ennui that comes with mastery. One way to accomplish this is to break up the monotony of the daily grind with an occasional event. On the other hand, you can also create a more dynamic staff by offering employees the chance to start learning responsibilities and skills that aren’t part of their regular duties. This can give employees that sense of newness all over again and can put some pep in their step, at least until that too becomes repetitive. The antithesis of the stimulation that your workers need is the dreaded cubicle. A bullpen-style shared office is ultimately better for mental engagement when and if your business can afford tearing down those walls.
Remove Undue Stress
Another crucial part of the struggle for employee morale is that work can present a number of stressors, some necessary, some not. For example, employees regularly feel like their supervisors are unapproachable, meaning that they often don’t get to voice their concerns, ask for help or ask for the promotion that’s been coming to them. This kind of atmosphere is generally the result of years of experience with that kind of management, whether or not you in particular have cultivated such an environment. However, it remains your job to fix it in order to create a workforce that is unafraid and productive. Likewise, medical leave policies often generate more stress and friction than they need to. When an employee is sick, they often have to choose between taking care of themselves or keeping their head down for the sake of their wages and even job security. This in turn can result in additional workers getting sick. Under the weather or injured employees should be encouraged to stay safe and keep others safe, so consider the immense power of offering paid medical leave or simply not being so stringent about medical absences. The relief that this will bring to your workers will be palpable and will translate directly to a better performance.
Communicate With Your Employees
It's important to remember that your employees are human, too. Although it's easy to leave them to complete their work while you attend to your own duties, you need to regularly communicate with them to establish a sense of teamwork and fellowship. If your employees don't feel as if they belong in the workplace, they won't have any trouble leaving it, either. Electronic communication can be an easy and effective form of getting in touch with your employees, but it's also important to meet with them in person to establish a sense of humanity. Employees want to feel as if their voice is heard, and this is much easier to accomplish in face-to-face meetings. Be sure to speak with your employees about developments in the workplace such as a new product or a positive customer review. In addition to communicating with your employees about exciting new events, it's important that you periodically check in with them to see how they're doing. Asking them how they feel about their job or co-workers, or asking them if they're struggling with anything in particular that may be hindering their job performance, can be a great way to establish a strong bond with your employees and gain their confidence.
Provide High-Quality Incentives
Employee incentives aren't a long-term fix for increasing employee morale, but they can give your employees a quick boost if you're in need of increased output. Incentives are a fun way to convey to your employees that you appreciate the work that they do, and it can be a great motivator in getting them to complete their work more quickly. Give your employees an extra vacation day, bring in some dogs from the local kennel or offer them tickets to this weekend's baseball game. Don't pressure yourself to give your employees extravagant incentives. Sometimes the smallest gifts can be the most meaningful.
Switch to a Four-Day Work Week
Although the five-day work week remains the traditional model, many businesses have transitioned to a four-day work week and have seen optimistic results. A four-day work week allows employees to focus on their efficiency and productivity instead of worrying about how many hours they've clocked in. Additionally, workers can use their day off to focus on their family, friends and hobbies, which can help them to recharge for their next day at work. Employees will feel more motivated to work if they've had the proper time to rest, which can boost morale, productivity and retention.
Compensate Employees Based on Output
Contrary to popular belief, what business owners want most from their employees are results, not time. To illustrate this example, think of the traditional time-based compensation model, in which an employee who works eight hours but only completes five tasks will receive more money than an employee who works five hours but completes eight tasks. It's clear in this scenario, however, that the second employee is more productive and should therefore receive more compensation for their efforts. Transitioning to a model that rewards employees based on their output can motivate them to complete more tasks rather than waiting to clock out at the end of the day, thus increasing both their morale and productivity.
Boosting employee morale is necessary if you want to build a productive workplace that thrives on trust, transparency and loyalty. Following these tips can get your employees excited about walking in the door each morning and starting another exciting day at work.