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Improving Staff Morale in The Workplace

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 25 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Improving Staff Morale Staff Motivation

Although most of us would far prefer to be out enjoying our leisure time or on holiday than working for a living it’s also far better to enjoy our work than to loathe it.

There are many ways in which an employer can motivate their workforce and boost morale but it’s a sad fact that many of them choose not to then wonder why it’s always costing them thousands of pounds to recruit and retrain new staff and why there is an above average Level of Absenteeism.

However, if they were to look closely, they would probably find that the reasons predominantly lie within the fact that their staff feel little motivation to remain in work there and it only takes a couple of people to start showing signs of low morale and it can then spread like wildfire throughout the whole workforce. Therefore, it’s important that employers try to cultivate an environment which rewards performance, improves morale and in a setting which people feel comfortable working in.

Encouraging Open Communication

Many companies suffer due to an actual or perceived feeling of - it’s an “us” and “them” culture between the management and the workforce. If workers feel there is an imaginary white line between themselves and management, they will often become resentful so it’s important to have regular meetings between management and members of staff which gives management an opportunity to discuss any new developments that may affect the workers but, more crucially, allows workers to express any opinions or problems that they might have with the work and how it is done.

Whilst this should be a regular occurrence, perhaps monthly or quarterly, an employer should also actively encourage an ‘open-door’ policy so that workers have some kind of access to management any time they choose.

Training Programs

Whilst some jobs require more training than others, having a number of recognised training programs available to all workers is one of the factors that workers often cite as lacking in their decision to leave a company. By offering training, they not only feel more valued but it also allows them to increase their skill base in the hope that they can achieve career progression, hopefully within the same company. This practice makes long-term staff retention far easier.

Consider Workers’ Lives Outside the Working Environment

Many employers tend to overlook the fact that their workers are people first and ‘staff’ second and can forget that their workforce will have other commitments, priorities, issues and problems to overcome outside of work as well as in it. Things like Flexible Working patterns, Working From Home, crèches, gyms etc. can often boost your image as a company and make you seem attractive to work for.

Consequently, your workers are likely to reward you in return with increases in their level of performance or productivity and your workplace will seem a much happier and motivated place to work in.

Teambuilding Exercises

The dynamic between work colleagues is often at the centre of a successful workforce. It only takes one or two cynical, sullen team members to bring the whole team crashing down to earth and ruin morale so Team Building Exercises are a good way of ensuring this doesn’t happen.

They can be fun days out too. Go-karting, paintball games, ropes courses, a night at the pub or a good meal all make a welcome break from the traditional working day from time to time and are usually rewarded by better team camaraderie and performance.

Recognition Schemes

If we’ve done well at work, we’re most likely to get a pat on the back from our immediate manager or even the employer themselves. This is always good for our ego but in having a recognition scheme, it allows our peers to acknowledge our achievements too which can be even more valued by a worker and this also creates an environment in which others can aspire to achieve recognition as well.

Suggestion Schemes

Workers often feel more of a kinship with their workplace if they are able to have some kind of input instead of simply being told what to do. Suggestion schemes enable workers to come up with ideas that might improve the way in which a company does something which the management team might have overlooked. If implemented, the suggestion will then usually benefit both the workforce themselves, e.g. it could make their work easier and it will benefit the employer too, either in staff morale improvements, maybe financially or even both.

Monetary Rewards

We all go to work to earn money, yet it should always be remembered that money and the potential to earn more via incentives, bonus payments, commissions etc., is not always at the top of our lists of things we seek in an employer or choice of job. Balancing work and personal commitments, opportunities for career progression etc. will often far outweigh money a lot of the time and employer’s should remember this.

Obviously, certain professions such as sales rely heavily on financial incentives to motivate the sales force but if you do decide you’re in need of improving staff morale, don’t consider money even near the top of your options. You could find it doesn’t improve things much and, in some cases, can actually cause resentment.

One of the best ways of finding out how to boost staff morale if you are an employer is to speak to your staff first. Getting some feedback from them will usually show you the kinds of schemes or incentive programs you might wish to consider introducing to boost staff morale and increase motivation.

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