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Apply These 9 Easy Steps to Boost Morale at Work in 2021

Apply These 9 Easy Steps to Boost Morale at Work

A 9-5 desk job might be about as exciting as watching a candle drip.

If you have an employee whose only motivation is a paycheck, it’s time to look for ways to boost employee morale.

What happens if you don’t?

Worst case scenario, your employee develops an imaginary dissociative personality and joins a fight club for excitement (not great for the company medical coverage, by the way).

Best case, they quit and live happily ever after.

If your workforce is dragging their feet into the office, let’s turn those office frowns upside down and get office morale high again. 

How do You Improve Employee Morale and Motivation?

Step #1: Recognize and Reward

It’s not enough to say, “I see you’re giving it your best shot.”

Show your appreciation. Verbal compliments may rev the good old dopamine engine, but physical rewards kick their self-worth into overdrive.

Encourage a culture of gift-giving in the workplace.

MsFerryl and Tony C. | Customer Review

A gift as simple as a pen makes an employee feel valued. A personalized pen says, “Hey buddy, I see the work you’ve been doing; here’s a token of my appreciation.”

It’s a functional, well-thought-out gift that takes into account their personality. Engraving the pen is a classy touch, and it takes less than one business day.   
Waterman Expert Black Ballpoint Pen - Gold trim

Waterman Expert Black Ballpoint Pen - Gold trim

Step #2: Listen to Your Employee

Your employee puts in a lot of hours to make your operation profitable. Make your office an open space for an employee to engage you on important office issues.


Stay Interviews

These are periodic interviews that put the employee in a power seat. Ask for their input on what the workplace can change to improve how they operate.

  • What has worked so far?
  • What do YOU feel we should change?
  • What ideas do you have to improve low productivity areas?

Assure your employee that these answers will only positively affect their stay at the company. 

Step #3: Upskill Employees to Boost Employee Morale

It’s okay that your workplace might not offer an employee immediate upward movement. Still, it’s not the only way to boost employee morale.

Upskilling an employee to handle complex roles in their capacity makes an employee feel valued and trusted. When you invest in upskilling an employee, they put in more effort to match their new skill and fulfill their new responsibilities. 

Person holding green plant

Image from: Pexels

Employee upskilling improves long-term company objectives and revenue goals. 

infographic on boosting morale at work

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Step #4: Allow Breaks

Even high performers need an occasional break. Allow your employee some time off. It doesn't have to fall within the designated off days.

Alternatively, have a break room. Employees can use it to recenter themselves — to get their energy flowing again. You’ll get better results from a relaxed employee than one panicking to meet deadlines and running on fumes.

Where employees are putting in extra hours, recognize the effort and reward it with paid time off.

While these steps are helpful on an individual level, the next six steps can help when you’re dealing with a team.

One demoralized employee can negatively affect an entire workforce. So, how do you make sure the entire team is in sync and team morale stays high after a dip?

Step #5: Take Out the Bad Apples.

The workplace is better off sans one Debbie downer who’s always bringing down team morale.

It applies when one employee’s presence is constantly bringing down team morale, synergy, and cooperation.

After thorough analysis, consider a department change, or let them go if mediation fails. 

Step #6: Introduce Casual Days

Your team spends the better part of their days in the workplace. Allow casual days so they can let off some steam.

It shouldn’t always be cubicles, memos, neckties, and reports.

Casual days allow everyone to bring different personalities into the workplace. There is a more relaxed atmosphere, more open communication, and stronger bonds. 

Step #7: Encourage Teamwork

Working on a project as a team can improve team morale, especially when the teams excel. There’s a sense of personal achievement, but there’s also that “We did it, Joe” feeling.

People holding each other's hands showing effective teamwork and office cohesion

Image from: Pexels

Cue the Rocky up the stairs training montage.

Teamwork allows individuals to play up their strengths and learn from co-workers. It wouldn’t hurt to also include bigger rewards for successful team tasks.

Step #8: Invest In Wellness Programs

Workplace mental wellness programs are one of the key solutions to reducing high turnover. Wellness programs don’t have to be in the office.

In fact, they need to be anywhere BUT the office.

If it has to be in office, make sure a professional can help employees talk through personal or professional issues.

Team building programs provide the perfect place for employees to bond as a team outside the office and probably settle old scores.

Step #9: Encourage Work-Life Balance for Positive Employee Morale. 

A work-life balance will boost team morale. Steps as simple as introducing remote working will contribute to better productivity.

A work-life balance allows employees to report to work with fresh mindsets. A clear mind contributes better ideas that add value to the workplace.

What Causes Poor Morale in the Workplace?

Poor Management

Management gets a bad rap most of the time. Sometimes it's unwarranted. Still, bad managers make coming to work sound like Cruella de Vil’s nails on a chalkboard.

Poor management lowers workplace morale. Here are some solutions to common problems.

Problem Solution
Micromanaging Show confidence in your team and let them work.
Terrible conflict resolution Apply emotional intelligence and learn how to de-escalate tense situations.
Unengaged managers Improve manager-employee engagement to boost productivity and morale within the workplace
One-upping employees, especially on new great ideas Let employees voice out their great ideas.

team members feel engaged when managers show recognition. Boosts employee morale
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Unrecognized Effort

Imagine working hard for over 40 hours a week and not getting a single “congratulations.”

It hurts, doesn’t it?

Most times, all an employee needs is appreciation for their effort. They lose the enthusiasm to perform at their best if their effort is neither recognized nor appreciated.

Workplace neglect has the direct opposite effect that positive reinforcement has. 

Appreciation activates the brain’s reward centers.

Zero appreciation demotivates a hardworking employee faster than you can say, “please come in on your day off.”

Such a waste of talent. 

All Work, No Play

“I want to work all day, no breaks, no fun” — said no one, ever.

Too much work kills motivation.

Japan, for example, has a corporate culture so intense that there’s a name for death by overworking.

Too much work blurs the lines between work and social life. It sometimes drops personal non-work interactions to almost nil. 

Career Stagnation

Ever since we discovered fire, humans have developed through constant progress. 

young team members like opportunities for positive employee morale
Screenshot from: careersingovernment

Employees lose the fire in their belly if they feel caged at the workplace with no chance of upward mobility.

Career stagnation leads to high employee turnover and higher costs in rehiring and retraining. 

Poor Communication

Excellent communication is the backbone of a lean, mean office machine. Clear messages with clear expectations make it easy for employees to meet targets.

However, when communication breaks down, the workspace becomes confusing and chaotic. Ineffective communication leads to, among other issues:

  • Misinformation that can grow to mistrust 
  • Poor customer service 
  • Absenteeism
  • Low productivity

These negative issues affect the good intentions of an employee.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Employees won’t always put in 100%. It doesn't mean they don’t want to. Investigate the root cause and use these easy tips to boost morale. When all else fails, check for a nice award gift to kick off talks on how to improve workplace morale.  


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