8 Ways to Boost Employee Morale On a Budget

Are your employees enthusiastically participating in the weekly team meeting or are they just nodding along to the talking points, waiting to be dismissed?

It’s a fact that when employees feel overworked, under-appreciated, and ignored when they voice their opinions, a company is likely to become a revolving door for top talent.

While it’s important to boost company morale, not every organization can afford to offer similar incentives as some Fortune 500 companies. There’s plenty of ways to make sure that your employees feel satisfied while staying above your bottom line.

1. Provide Employee Recognition

While it’s a given that a worthwhile team should be giving 110 percent every day, your star players will cut the amount of effort that they put into their duties in half if they feel that it’s just for a paycheck.

It’s imperative to reward the team members who go above and beyond. If you don’t have the funds in your budget to offer them a raise or a promotion, consider trying one or all of the following:

  • Give them a Friday afternoon off. They’ve been grinding away all week, and nothing will make them feel more appreciated than having a few hours of their lives back. The workaholics will appreciate the opportunity to catch up on some guilt-free self-care. They’ll head into work on Monday morning feeling refreshed and relaxed and ready to get back to producing the five-star results that made them stand out in the first place.
  • Make an effort to stop by their desk or office and let them know why you think that they’re doing a phenomenal job. There’s no better feeling than knowing that your unique contribution to the team hasn’t gone unnoticed. The feedback could also help with alleviating any worries that they might have about their overall job performance and where they stand with you.
  • Acknowledge their strengths in an email that goes out to the whole company. It’s one thing to get a pat on the back from your higher up, but it’s even better to have your supervisor acknowledge that you’re indispensable to the rest of your peers.

2. Volunteer Work

Your top performing employees might re-think leaving your company for a small, hip startup with an even bigger mission if they feel that the work they’re doing for your company is valuable. No one, especially younger employees, likes to feel like they’re in a dead-end job and just punching the clock every day.

A recent survey done by Deloitte’s Volunteer Impact Research team found that adults aged 21-35 are more likely to report job satisfaction if they felt that they were a part of a bigger mission at work.

Here are a few suggestions that might make your employees feel like they’re giving back to the community with the help of your organization:

  • Try to connect with a local high school and ask if some of your team members can visit and give a presentation on what it’s like to work in the business world. Your team’s presentation could inspire students that have yet to decide what career path they’d like to pursue, and even result in a rush of applicants after graduation.
  • Hold a coat drive for a local charity and encourage your team to round up as many coats as possible. Consider rewarding the team member who’s contributed the most with a paid day off.
  • Donate a small percent of the company’s profits to a local nonprofit that empowers and improves your community. While your employees are working hard on their day-to-day tasks, it’ll feel rewarding to know that their hard work is doing more than lining the pockets of the top brass.

3. Work From Home

If your team is peppered with self-motivated individuals that always produce results, consider offering the option to work from home a couple of times a week. It’s likely that your star players will perform even better if the daily stresses of office life, and a commute, are relieved throughout part of the work week.

You’re likely to see a dramatic decrease in turnover and office costs when you allow employees to work from home. You can expect to spend less on cubicles, desks, and general office equipment when a portion of your staff checks in remotely.

Employees are more likely to be loyal to companies when they feel that their employer respects their work/life balance. They’re able to schedule their work activities around their children’s sports events or recitals or their own doctor’s appointments and special dates.

4. Promote Personal Interests

It’s one thing to make your work a major part of your life in an effort to get ahead, but it’s another thing when an employee feels that their job has consumed their identity. Employees should feel as if their individual and personal interests are praised, and not looked down upon or seen as threats to the success of the company.

Acknowledge that your employees have other interests, and ask questions about their hobbies and passions. Your curiosity and encouragement will help them foster a sense of security and identity when they’re away from work. Employees will bring the passion that they have for their hobbies and interests into work each day.

5. Non-Business Events

Speaking of taking a step back from work, you can boost employee morale by giving them an opportunity to see you as a person. Invite your employees to low-pressure events and throw any talk of work out the window.

Inviting your staff out to drinks on you, or hosting an employee appreciation brunch, can help strengthen your relationship with them. Sitting in an intimate setting with their supervisor might make them feel like they can let their guard down and offer ideas that ultimately strengthen the company.

6. Personal Accomplishments

Once your employees feel like you respect who they are, and not just what they can bring to the table, take it a step further by celebrating your employee’s personal accomplishments. You should consider celebrating the following events with your team:

  • Births
  • completion of coursework and earning a degree
  • Weddings

7. Work on Team-Building

Are you having repeated conflicts among the staff? Nothing kills morale faster than when your employees dread seeing their coworkers five days a week.

Team building activities can help manage friction in the workplace. Here’s a few cost effective ways to include team building activities:

  • Organize a game like a scavenger hunt and encourage your team members to work with  someone other than their cubicle mate.
  • Allow your employees to vote for employee of the month. If the whole team is taking the time to acknowledge their coworker’s contribution, it can help squash any suspicions of favoritism from the higher ups.

8. Promote Feedback

Asking your team for feedback can help boost morale as it will make them feel like there’s a solution to some of the problems they face at work. When employees feel like their supervisors take a vested interest in their problems in the workplace, they are more likely to be loyal to the company.

Companies that implement the information learned from employee feedback experienced a 14.9 percent decrease in turnover.

The Big Picture

A small to mid-level organization has just as much potential to thrive in the business world as a Fortune 500 company, but the key to success is seeing the morale of your team as a priority, not an inconvenience.

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