Simon Sinek, a British-American motivational speaker, author, and podcaster, stated that “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”
This single quote encapsulates why good office morale and workplace engagement is proven to lead to better business, more positive customer and client interactions, increased productivity, higher employee retention, and an overall healthier working environment. However, ensuring that employees are excited and motivated to come to work each day can be a tough task, one that businesses across the world still struggle to achieve to this day. Here are 10 ways to improve office morale and cultivate engaged and motivated staff.
Create an open and transparent working environment that is built on honesty, trust, and mutual goals. It is often easy to segment certain employees, keeping them in the dark regarding vital business decisions that will have trickle down effects on their jobs and overall standing in the company. Be honest with your staff when it comes to important subjects such as wages, expectations, responsibilities, and the direction of the business. Staff are more likely to stay working for you if you clearly outline their trajectory within the company and how it relates to the overall goals that are being worked towards. It is also important for superiors to clearly outline their own responsibilities and tasks therefore helping to create a flatter company hierarchy, one that boosts morale and encourages continuity.
In a similar vein to transparency, having effective lines of communication creates a more open and connected office, one in which employees can ask questions and make suggestions without unnecessary barriers being placed in their way. It is important that employers communicate with their staff early and often, checking in on how they are faring with tasks assigned to them, how they are getting on with their colleagues, and their overall level of happiness at work.
The tools that are used to communicate internally can also play a big role in employee morale. Instead of utilising regimented methods of communication, such as email, your office could potentially look at adopting platforms such as Skype and Slack. These newer, more casual methods of communication remove the formality of emails and allow for staff and employers to have more conversational interactions, further breaking down the barriers of internal communication and boosting morale.
Positive reinforcement has been proven to be one of the most effective methods of increasing morale in the workplace. Feedback, whether it be positive or constructive, will let your staff know how you are feeling about their performance and will serve to inform the way that they go about their day-to-day tasks in future. As previously mentioned, it is important to be honest and transparent, this applies to feedback also! Make sure that all negative feedback is framed in a constructive light, allowing mistakes to be turned into teachable moments that will hopefully result in better outcomes in the future. Try to steer away from regimented ‘performance reviews’ as these have been seen to increase anxiety, unhealthy competitiveness, frustration, and an unwillingness to take risks.
Allow for growth
Providing employees with a pathway towards growth and an overall sense of purpose will lead to increased motivation and workplace morale. Additionally, the knowledge of growth on the horizon will lead to increased retention and decreased turnover, saving you the time, money, and effort related to filling vacancies with potentially worse talent. Note that growth does not necessarily relate to an increase in pay, however, it is vital for managers to clearly outline to employees how they can take the next step in their career at the company in question.
Frequent team-building activities also work to improve staff morale if done correctly. Businesses working predominantly out of an office environment may benefit greatly from exciting outdoor activities designed to pull employees out of their normal indoor setting and break down hierarchies.
Team-building activities should always be planned in a collaborative manner to ensure that all staff are happy with the activity chosen. Crowdsourcing ideas should ensure that the day is a success, whilst also showing employees that you value their opinions. Activities designed to promote cohesion and shared interests can be particularly effective, some examples include escape rooms, museum visits, cooking classes, and scavenger hunts.
Some offices may be able to boost morale by offering new and exciting incentives to excite employees about the prospect of staying at the company or draw new staff in. Modern office spaces offer a wide variety of amenities and perks including parking bays, bike racks, fully stocked kitchens and bars, gym facilities, health clubs, recreational games, showers, and more.
Outside of office amenities, employees can also be incentivised monetarily based on performance, however, this could potentially backfire and result in decreased morale as employees may become pressured to achieve unrealistic goals under the pretence of a bonus.
Modern technology and digital communications tools have enabled workplaces to shift online in order to share information, collaborate on tasks, and meet to discuss future plans, all without the need to be physically present in the office. Providing employees with the option to work on a flexible schedule from the comfort of their own homes can reduce stress and increase mental wellbeing, overall contributing to a healthier work-life balance. Employees with young families or dependents can particularly benefit from the flexibility to dictate where and when they complete allocated tasks, allowing them to better plan their day around pressing commitments outside of the workplace such as picking children up from school or caring for a loved one.
Introducing pets into the office
Bringing pets into a workplace has been proven to increase social interactions between co-workers and serve to foster a more collaborative and stress-free work atmosphere. The introduction of a company mascot in the form of a furry friend is also seen to reduce absenteeism and increase the bond between employees and employers.
Taking some time to recognise the accomplishments and milestones of employees can go a long way to boosting morale in the office. As outlined in the Harvard Business Review, 40% of employed Americans say that they would put more effort into their work if recognized more frequently and 83% feel as if their superiors fail to recognise them adequately for their contributions. Simple things such as recognising work anniversaries or publicly congratulating employees who have had a particularly good week are easy ways to show respect and admiration for the work put in.
Invest in professional development initiatives
If possible, you should invest heavily in professional development initiatives that allow your employees to increase their skills outside of work hours. This does not necessarily have to mean that you are paying for your employees to obtain a master’s degree, but it could mean that you reimburse them for the cost of an online certificate or pay for them to attend business seminars aimed at equipping them with relevant skills for the future. Enabling further learning and growth within your workforce will allow you to build talent in-house and retain employees as they move up the ranks, ultimately boosting morale and motivating others to take advantage of the opportunities provided.