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How to Improve Workplace Morale
July 26th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz  Posted in In the Workplace

How to Improve Workplace MoraleMaking your workforce happy probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list - but it should be! Happier workers tend to have fewer absences, less health problems overall, and higher productivity rates. In short, it just makes sense to try to keep your workers happy.

So, how can you do that? Read on for a number of tried and true methods to raise morale - while improving your company’s bottom line.

Reward, don’t punish. Motivation is a funny thing. If your employees get in trouble every time something goes wrong, their main motivation is going to be not to get yelled at. This might enable you to keep succeeding at a minimum level, but it will never go beyond this. In contrast, if you focus on rewarding good behavior and successes, employees will be more likely to try their very best.

Offer bonuses. Similar to the first suggestion, bonuses are a concrete way of showing employees that doing an exemplary job will be rewarded and encourage everyone to try harder. Not quite able to offer monetary bonuses with the economy the way it is? Try other kinds of “bonuses” like working out discounts at local businesses or allowing people to earn more time off.

Build in playtime. People burn out if they work too much, leading to apathetic workers whose only goal is to get through the day and go home. Often, these same workers will even try to escape from the drudgery of the office during work hours by surfing the net or playing games. It may seem counterintuitive, but don’t discourage this behavior - encourage it by building “playtime” into the work schedule every day for a set period of time. Some offices have even gone so far as to add foosball tables or arcade games to the office so that employees can blow off steam and clear their heads.

Encourage personal growth. The best way for companies to keep their talent is to promote from within, and in this increasingly technological society, often that means more training. Offering free training that your interns need to become assistants, and your assistants need to become managers will go a long way toward keeping them happy and hard-working, while enabling you to avoid turnover. Some companies even take this a step further, offering continuing education that enables their employees to study subjects that have little to do with their job or the company - all in the name of keeping a happy workforce.

Show you care. Fewer things encourage more loyalty in employees than companies’ willingness to be flexible where their families are concerned. Sometimes this may mean allowing a person to work part time or telecommute when a life change occurs. Other times, it might entail last minute schedule changes to allow for unexpected situations. Whatever the case, if you can show your employees that you see them as individuals and are willing to try to work around their lives to some degree, it builds a lot of loyalty.

Ask for suggestions - and use them. The number one way to boost morale is to show your employees that you actually care about what they have to say. This doesn’t mean that you have to tailor the entire company around them, but telling them their needs matter can’t just be lip services either. If you have a suggestion box or an open door policy, make it a point to actually use some of their suggestions. This will let people know that you’re listening and do care about their desires.

Ultimately, it’s about respect and feeling comfortable. If your employees feel like they can talk to you and actually make a difference in their workplace, you are far more likely to have an environment with high morale and good productivity.
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Tags: office-culture, relationships-at-work, at-work, tips, advice, in-the-workplace
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