The concept of employee morale is, at its core, the belief that employees deserve to be satisfied with their jobs and workplaces.
It’s a combination of how employees feel about their job positions, whether they feel respected by their managers, and how happy they are throughout the day while they’re at work.
When businesses make an effort to improve employee morale, they benefit from:
Improved company reputation
The Obvious: Reward Great Work with Great Pay
Valuable employees won’t take long to realize they’re useful, and it’s only a matter of time before they get a higher-paying job offer. To keep great employees on board, you’ll need to pay market rate or above.
Even so, pay raises and bonuses do not have a lasting effect on productivity. They’re are vital for keeping high performers in your midst, but a padded paycheck they won’t instantly boost morale. In this University of California study on farm workers, monetary bonuses had the greatest positive effect when they were random and unexpected.
Structured incentive programs were found to be even more successful than lumpsum pay raises, as long as they were well-designed and kept employees’ needs in mind.
On some farms, a piece-rate incentive worked very well – employees who could pick more apples got paid more, or could work fewer hours.
Also successful were farmers who rewarded their workers for quality, not speed. Those who brought in riper or larger apples received incentives.
Your best incentive program has to be designed to truly benefit employees and motivate them to work harder. Just as important, it needs to help your business grow and be worth the time and cost.
Listen to What Employees Really Want
Maybe there’s a downside to working at your company that you could easily address, if only someone spoke up.
Walmart has made an effort to improve employee morale across their footprint in an interesting way: by playing less music by Justin Bieber and Celine Dion in Walmarts nationwide. They are also giving store managers more control over the thermostats in each store.
“There is nothing I like better than hearing about your jobs, your ideas, your hopes and dreams, and frustration, and listening to how we can make your lives easier,” said Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran to store workers.
Maybe there’s a Celine Dion soundtrack in your workplace, making your employees suffer in silence. You’ll never know until you ask. Give your employees a specific way to voice their ideas, troubles and annoyances. They should know who they can talk to whenever they have a suggestion.
Don’t Talk About Morale
Employees don’t want to hear about how your company cares about morale – they want to see it in action.
Too much talk of morale is not very interesting or motivating – in fact, it’s one of ten ways to be downright condescending in efforts to improve morale.
Patty Azzarello, author of Rise: How to be Really Successful at Work AND Like Your Life recounts when a member of her staff “declared a morale problem for the whole division. She was going on and on about it so much that employees came to my office saying, ‘I didn’t know I was supposed to have a morale problem. I wasn’t unhappy. Now I’m thinking that I should be.’”
Sudden, short-term efforts to improve morale won’t stick in the long run. It takes constant effort and excellent listening skills to create a workplace culture that your employees love.
The Best Way to Improve Employee Morale
Showing your employees compassion and taking time to get to know them is the most important thing you can offer that will have a tremendous impact on morale. Compassion is shown to increase employee commitment, accountability, and performance.
Appreciate everyone who makes your business possible. Thank them whenever you can, praise good work, and show empathy. It’s as easy as asking how their families are doing.
An effort to improve employee morale is a win-win for your business and your team. But, it needs to be seen, not heard. Only make promises to your employees that you can (and really intend to) keep, and make sure they all have a say in deciding what those promises will be.
Find Partners Who Think Like You
Even if you build the best company culture in the world from within, employee morale can take a hit if team members are forced to work all day with third parties who don’t share your values. You need partners and vendors you can trust, and that’s where we come in. As your true credit card processing partner, we pledge to make payments as easy possible for your team and to provide them with the resources they need to stop problems before they start. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website – we’d be happy to show you exactly what we mean.
PS – Make sure you’re hiring the right team in the first place! Check out these tips.
PPS – Low morale can lead to increased employee fraud. Here’s how to protect yourself.