How to improve employee morale without breaking the bank


It’s New Year and one resolution I have made is to keep my staff happy. Happy, engaged employees are the lifeblood of any small business or institution. If they are engaged and happy, they do great work and produce great value for you. If they are unhappy, they do not work nearly as well—and the value produced for you is much less.

Obviously, there are a lot of ways to directly motivate employees. While more money is a good motivator, in my experience, the best techniques for improving everyone’s morale come from outside the wallet. Try these six techniques and keep your checkbook focused on other areas, like building your business infrastructure and marketing it to potential customers.

Whenever possible, eat lunch with your employees. Eat what they eat. Listen to what they have to say and offer up mostly positive comments and humour. If your employees eat in regular groups, rotate from group to group—don’t keep a group of “favourites.” Lunch is a great time for building camaraderie and trust.

Learn about your employees and follow up. Know about the interests of your employees. Learn about their families and their dreams. More importantly, follow up on the things you learn—ask regularly about their mothers’ health or their son’s soccer team. If you are like me and have trouble remembering such information, especially at first, keep a notebook on it. Keep a list of such information about each employee and refresh yourself regularly if you need it.

Be candid about how things are going. If things are going well, be sure your employees are aware of the success. If things are not going well, talk about the problems early on and nip any gossip right in the bud. Gossip is the enemy of the happy workplace – and candor is the best way to fight it. Plus, when you are open about problems, happy employees will often go the extra mile to help pull you through. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth.

Give compliments on good work, both individually and publicly. Make an effort to compliment everyone on their work in individual situations, particularly when you can point out specifics. When someone really does well, point it out to the group— but don’t point out the same person every single time. Highlight a variety of people and give them public recognition.

Implement reasonable suggested changes whenever you can. Employees often suggest little things that they’d really like to see in the workplace. If you can implement these things, it goes a huge way towards making that employee feel more empowered, involved, and happy. If an employee suggests starting a social welfare business, do it. If an employee suggests a better arrangement for the office supplies, try it. If someone suggests a better way to handle meetings, give it a try. Every time you execute a reasonable suggested change, it greatly raises one employee’s morale and gives a small lift to everyone.

Having happy staff will reduce staff turn-over, boost morale leading to getting the best out of staff which can only lead to more income and savings for your business or any organisation.

Have a blessed week as you put all this newfound employee productivity tips to good use! n

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