Office morale is one of the most important non-tangible factors that determine the success or failure of any business venture. Learning how to improve morale in the office is one of the most important things any manager can do. Studies show that employees with high levels of morale and a strong sense of purpose and belief in a business’ goals are more productive, profitable, and stay in their positions longer. This means that doing everything you can to enhance office morale is not only good for your employees but good for your business.
Thankfully, improving office morale can be done with time and effort. Here are some ways to do just that.
You Have to Care
In short: When learning how to improve morale in the office you have to make taking care of your employees a priority. This means that you have to create a positive culture that values the happiness and well-being of your employees and that you have to take certain actions that create that culture.
#1 Make Sure Your Employees Know That Work Ends
Do you know one of the leading factors to decreased employee morale? Working too hard. Yes, you read that right. COVID-19 and technology may have helped destroy what is left of our work-life balance, and that’s not good. Being unable to determine when work ends and real life begins can create huge psychological problems and lead to burnout and decreased personal productivity. This means that you, as the boss or manager, have to work to set appropriate boundaries. Figuring out how to improve morale in the office cannot be done without addressing work-life balance.
How can you do this?
- Make sure your employees know when you need an immediate answer and when you don’t
- Tell them to set reasonable hours and enjoy time with their families
- Vacation means vacation – don’t bother them when they are out of the office
- Lead by example – when you are out of the office and out of contact, stay out of contact
#2 Transparency Rules
If you are a company of two or a company of 100, your employees will want to know: Why was that decision made? How was it made? Many will also take the next logical step: How can they make real improvements to the decision-making process, and then improve the ultimate outputs?
As a manager, you cannot tell your employees everything. They know that, and they likely expect and understand it. However, you must ask yourself this important question: What can you tell them?
To that end, create a culture of transparency. Be open and upfront with your employees about why product decisions, management decisions, and sales decisions are made. Explain your reasoning – particularly if it is something that creates a problem for your employees or goes against what they normally work on.
This is important for many reasons. First, all of us naturally want to know why things happen. Second, and perhaps more importantly, is this: If your employee is a good one, they will want to learn your decision-making process so they can improve theirs. If you are honest and open with them about how decisions are made, they will become more likely to alter their approach in the workplace in order to better fit the company’s and your management style.
#3 Care for Their Professional Development
An employee who is worth keeping wants to be better. They will want to improve their skills, identify their weaknesses, and become better at their job. As a manager, your job is to make sure that your employees aren’t just successful, but that they have the skills to be successful. As such, your job needs to be to care for their professional development by investing in them.
This begs the question: What sort of professional development resources do you have available for your employees? Are there courses – real-life or online – that they can take that can improve their skills? Are there certifications you can help your employees obtain?
Yes, there is unquestionably an expense associated with this, but one that is likely well worth it. A good employee will take advantage of the opportunity to get better, learn more, and ultimately serve your company better. Ideally, this will not only enhance their career but your business.
#4 Build Out-of-Office Interactions
When you are spending time together in the office, you can get to know your coworkers, but it is not the same as an out-of-office interaction.
Getting to know a coworker out of the office gives you the chance to connect with someone on a personal level. As a manager, you should strive to create these types of interactions. If possible, go beyond just a night at a restaurant or a brief retreat amongst employees. Get to know their families. Have a family BBQ that will allow you to get to know the family behind the person that you work with. Doing so will help to facilitate a sense of trust and caring that is vitally important to any business’ morale.
#5 Recognize Success
As a manager, part of building a culture in which your employees are valued means that you have to recognize when success occurs. This means a few things. First, when someone does something right, let it be known. Highlight their success with your other employees. Make sure you are doing so in the right way: Talk about what the employee did, how they did it, and subtly remind other employees what they can do in order to earn the same level of recognition. This should be done for inspirational purposes, not to make anyone else jealous.
There is an added benefit of taking this approach as well, particularly if you are transparent with what you are looking for and how the employee got there: You can illuminate the pathway to success. This gives all employees the opportunity to learn about what you are looking for, and then better understand how they can be successful.