If you want happier employees, chances are your workplace morale has seen better days. These days, poor company culture can make or break a business, so it's no surprise that business owners and HR managers are always on the lookout for morale boosters.
In this article, you'll get 5 key areas to address to make employees happier at work.
5 Steps to Happier Employees
There might be countless ways to improve morale at any given company. But there are a few things morale has in common no matter what kind of business you're in.
When employees feel unappreciated and unmotivated, they won't be productive or they'll find a different job. And sure, either way it costs a business some money. But more importantly, without any kind of fix, your company will see the same thing happen over and over again.
5 Ways to Improve Employee Morale
1. Allow work-from-home days
If your industry can manage it, start to allow some telecommuting days, or flexible hours. Don't think you can trust employees enough for that kind of freedom? That's a sure sign your morale is flagging anyway. Employees don't do good work because someone's watching over their shoulder; they do good work because it's personally rewarding, whether it's done at the office or at home.
Can't make telework an option everyday? Try Monday mornings or Friday afternoons for the rest of the summer months. Just make sure your workers have the equipment they'll need at home (see #2 below).
2. Upgrade your tools and processes
Not having proper equipment to get the job done is a big factor in low employee morale. When employees spend time figuring out a work-around because printers don't work, or there is a mountain of paperwork between task A and task B, morale will sink.
Ideally, the middle manager's main task is to ensure employees can get their work done. That means minimizing red tape, streamlining processes, and being the go-between for the C-suite and the worker-bees.
3. Remember to be a motivator
Low morale comes from the combination of doing something you have to that you don't really want to do. A low morale day every once in a while is to be expected. But low morale several days a week is an epidemic.
Management can address this by being as enthusiastic and motivating for employees as they were the first days those employees joined the team.
Dole out encouragement, provide regular feedback, let workers know when they're on the right rack, and generally be a pleasant person to interact with. Being your employees' teammate rather than another thing to put up with with make a big difference.
4. Celebrate wins, big or small
Did everyone meet their goals for the week? Did someone land a particularly tough deal, or complete a nerve-wracking project? Send an email highlighting the accomplishment.
That way, employees know their work is getting noticed, and they have the opportunity to receive words of support and celebration from colleagues who may not be familiar with their projects.
Remember: criticize privately, praise publicly.
5. Assess engagement
Engaged workers have their mind on their work, they enjoy the work they do and the company they keep, and they believe in the mission and causes their employer stands for.
So how can you make sure more employees are engaged?
Some aspects of engagement may be out of a company's complete control, such as an employee's personal, home-life disruptions. But others are directly related to the work environment. In fact, "Employee engagement is a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss" (source).
Most companies will start with an employee engagement survey. This assesses a point-in-time measurement of the state of your workplace.
Want more ideas?
Get your free 10-point culture checklist here: