Employee morale refers to a person’s sense of satisfaction, confidence, and joy in the workplace. It covers their attitude and outlook toward their role, colleagues, managers, and the company as a whole. While it is generally common for employees’ motivation to ebb away at some point, all organizations must strive to keep their people happy and boost employee morale.

Ways to Boost Employee Morale in an Organization

After all, a dip in employee morale can ultimately have a detrimental impact on your business. Each day an employee turns in mediocre work because of low morale, your company loses.

Fortunately, leaders are in the perfect position to help turn the tide and get their people back to the waters. They must start by recognizing that employees are not machines that will work by simply programming them to perform a function. Humans are complex beings. Addressing one need while neglecting the others could only result in recurring problems.

Employees are not machines that will work by simply programming them to perform a function.

To keep employee morale high, it is best to take a holistic approach. A company can develop programs that meet the employees’ various needs and create a healthy culture that promotes overall well-being.

Below are some tried-and-true workplace morale boosters to help your employees keep their drive up.

Promoting Wellness in the Workplace

Health is wealth, and this couldn’t be truer in the workplace. An employee who is often weak and sick may lag behind and not perform as well as others. As a result, they could lose performance incentives and promotion opportunities, dampening their morale even further. This turns into a vicious cycle, as low morale often leads to low productivity and subpar work quality. 

Unhealthy employees may lose their confidence and ability to perform at their best. Therefore, company management should step in and get creative in championing healthcare beyond providing insurance and medicine.

It is highly recommended for organizations to promote wellness as a lifestyle. They can do this by designing activities that boost both physical and mental fitness. Here are some wellness measures that can help curb sickness and bolster employees’ health.

RELATED: 16 Staff Wellness Activities for Creating a Healthier Workplace in 2023

1. Provide Healthy Lunch and Snack Options

Employees often eat whatever is available, particularly when they’re busy. To help them maintain a good diet, consider offering healthy snacks and balanced meals in your office cafeteria.

For instance, replace greasy chips with vegan alternatives and offer health drinks instead of sugary sodas. You may also make nutritionist-approved and curated menus available instead of the fast-food variety.

provide healthy food options for increased employee wellness

2. Set Up an On-Site Fitness Gym

According to a report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, employees who have at least 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week have 4.1 days less absences per year. Unfortunately, many employees do not have enough time and energy to drive to the gym regularly. As such, they tend to skip fitness routines. The solution? Bring the gym to your office.  

Besides the typical gym equipment, you can also add in elements of fun and recreation, like wall climbing. Yoga classes and martial arts training can also help reinforce discipline and focus. Furthermore, organizing fun physical activities that could get people out of their desks for a few minutes is also a good idea. These include laser tag games, team walks, indoor golf, and biking. 

RELATED: 13 Corporate Fitness Programs That Lead the Pack in 2023

3. Consider Smoking Cessation Programs

Smoking kills over 8 million people each year, 7 million of whom are smokers, while the other million are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. 

Do not let your employees become part of the statistics. You can help by facilitating counseling, providing self-help materials, and organizing pharmacotherapy interventions such as nicotine replacement therapy.

Recognizing Employee Contribution

Employees feel more engaged and motivated to work when they know that their efforts are recognized. For this reason, awards and rewards are effective tools to boost employee morale. These give employees a sense of value, reinforcing morale and performance.

Recognition also lets them know that they are on the right track and should stay the course. Service awards can also serve as milestones that remind employees how far they’ve gone and inspire them to keep going. 

When giving recognition, it is best to give it as a surprise, not as an expected outcome of an action. Give it immediately and make it known to the rest of the employees.

The areas or categories where you can base employee recognition include the following:

1. Core Values

Your employees are your de facto ambassadors. Those who walk the corporate talk must be encouraged and appreciated. For instance, if someone took the extra mile to resolve a customer complaint in the wee hours, you can send them a signed note of appreciation. Enclosing a gift is a definite plus. This can also inspire others to go above and beyond.

2. Collaboration

Recognizing collaborative efforts reinforces a sense of teamwork among your employees. When teams win together, it cultivates an atmosphere of sharing, cooperation, and support.

Giving Employees a Voice in the workplace

3. Long-term Goals

Employees who consistently work toward achieving the company’s long-term goals, whether it’s global expansion or expense reduction in the next five years, deserve credit. Acknowledging their focus and contribution can boost employee morale and inspire others to stay on track, too. 

RELATED: How Wellness Programs Can Enhance Employee Commitment

Boost Employee Morale by Giving Employees a Voice

Providing your employees with a platform for sharing their thoughts and opinions can lift their confidence and boost employee morale. Encouraging free expression helps create a supportive environment where thinkers thrive and feel assured to take action.

Encouraging free expression helps create a supportive environment where thinkers thrive and feel assured to take action.

Where ideas flow, best practices grow. Having a progressive work culture can hone brilliant minds and inspire creativity. A good way for organizations to take advantage of this is to collect ideas and pick an “idea of the month.” You can publish a story about it on the intranet. Better yet, include a fun reward such as a bonus or wellness gift pack.  

You may also invite your employees to write their own articles or contribute anecdotes to the company newsletter. These can inspire others and spark meaningful conversations as well.

RELATED: Engaged Employees: How Can a Wellness Program Help

Providing a Safe Work Environment to Boost Employee Morale

Employers are responsible for providing their employees with a safe workplace. Safety policies and measures must be in place whether in an office or a manufacturing plant. Employees who feel safe and secure in their workplace can do their jobs in comfort. Additionally, employee morale increases when people feel that their safety is prioritized.

This must be a continuous practice to minimize risks and injuries in the workplace. Some of the ways to do this are:

1. Conducting Regular Workspace Audits

Companies can partner with a third-party safety consultant who can inspect their workplace and see that it follows safety standards. You can also establish a committee to check elevators, furniture, fixtures, appliances, structures, equipment, and other facilities on a regular basis.

2. Outlining Emergency Situation Guidelines

Organizations must train their employees on emergency protocols. They should also provide access to information and help in cases of accidents, injuries, calamities, fire, sickness attacks, or violence and terror in the workplace.

3. Discussing Safety During Meetings

Checking in with your employees, especially during a health crisis or security threat, can help make them feel secure and cared for. Giving practical tips and advice can also go a long way.

Providing a Safe Work Environment to Boost Employee Morale

Encouraging Employee-Led Initiatives

Among the ways to boost employee morale is to initiate activities that will bring out their leadership capabilities. One way to do this is by introducing a discussion platform for sharing insights. When management listens to its employees, it creates a good flow of communication and an exchange of ideas. This empowers employees to come up with improvement suggestions based on information they gather on the ground.

When management listens to its employees, it creates a good flow of communication and an exchange of ideas.

To keep conversations active and fruitful, make sure to provide instantaneous feedback. You can assign a facilitator to stir and steer the conversation. It is also vital to heed and implement suggestions as promised. Otherwise, they may think that their ideas do not matter.

Giving your employees a space to think, feel, and be themselves may stimulate their creativity and encourage them to initiate projects. A balance of ‘respecting their cocoon’ and ‘getting them out of their comfort zone’ might help them unbox game-changing ideas that can also help propel the company forward.

Organizing Morale-Boosting Activities

It’s always a good idea to keep the workplace interesting and fun without losing focus on serious work. While slacking off is never good, a few breather moments during the day could shake off feelings of tiredness and tediousness. 

When selecting morale-enhancing activities to incorporate into the workplace, choose those that break the routine and expand the employees’ world beyond cubicles and boardrooms. These also give employees a sense of belonging, as well as a venue for their interests. Here are a few examples:

  • Random Jeopardy-like quiz bees to stimulate their minds and showcase their smarts
  • In-office coffee or cocktail hours for casual conversations and snacks
  • A flexible work schedule for work-life balance
  • Relaxation activities to help them recharge
  • Group-based and interest-based activities such as arts and crafts, board games, dancing, photography, flower arranging, and team-building activities, among others
boost employee morale with coffee meetings

There are many fun ways to boost morale at work that strengthen employees’ self-esteem and direct them toward their aspirations. When done right, breaking the monotony can add more value to their hours instead of disrupting their workflow. 

RELATED: How to Use Wellness Programs to Boost Team Morale

Offering Training and Career Advancement Opportunities to Boost Employee Morale

When employees feel undervalued and overlooked, their drive begins to dissipate. They may lose their will to excel because they don’t see the point of it. For this reason, it is vital for companies to provide training and career advancement opportunities. Otherwise, their people might look elsewhere for career growth.

Some ideas to boost employee morale through career advancement are:

  • Skills training and courses
  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Scholarship for furthering one’s education while working
  • Learning opportunities and exposure locally and abroad
  • Career counseling
  • Clear and measurable merit system in performance assessment

Promotions come with compensation and prestige upgrades. When employees know that everyone has a fair chance at moving up the ladder, they feel motivated to perform their best.

Setting Up One-on-One Sessions

Some employees may be secretly struggling with issues such as depression, substance dependence, or family problems that drag their spirit and performance down. Anxiety and stress management can help employees cope with the daily grind at work and in their personal lives. 

Setting up one-on-one counseling sessions with a professional can make your people more receptive to mental wellness exercises. This can provide them with a support channel they can trust.

RELATED: 10 Tips to Implement Mindfulness in the Workplace

Benefits of Maintaining Good Employee Morale

When your employees’ spirits are high, they are driven to take on and finish projects, perform challenging tasks, and contribute to the achievement of corporate goals. Investing in employee morale brings a myriad of benefits, such as:

1. Increased Productivity

Employees who are happy and satisfied at work focus better and do their job without disruption and delay.

2. Better Quality of Work

When employees feel valued and appreciated, they tend to give beyond what is asked of them. Because their job means a lot to them, they deliver excellent work and take pride in it.

3. Innovation and Creativity

Instilling confidence in your employees allows them to share their ideas and come up with innovative ways to help your business grow.

4. Financial Gains

You can expect an enhanced bottom line when your employees are physically and mentally fit as they produce more quality work. Additionally, they incur less insurance and healthcare costs and take fewer sick leaves.

5. Good Employer Branding

Companies with happy employees attract top talents. They also retain employee loyalty as they provide an environment where people can thrive, not just survive.

RELATED: How Wellness Programs Help Improve Employee Morale

Causes of Low Employee Morale

Even the strongest of your employees can succumb to the stresses of life and work.  For this reason, it is helpful to know what factors can trigger a slump in employee morale so you can create programs to address the issues and boost employee morale. 

Causes of Low Employee Morale

Some of the common causes of low employee morale are:

1. Lack of Communication

Employees who do not have the opportunity to express themselves and be heard may feel isolated and undervalued.

2. Lack of Incentives

Being overworked and underpaid makes an employee feel unappreciated and neglected. Financial issues because of insufficient salary can cause stress and anxiety.

3. Lack of Career Growth Opportunities

When an employee feels stuck in a dead-end job, they may think that the only way forward is out.

4. Trust Issues

When an employee doesn’t feel trusted to do a job well, it hurts their confidence and affects their performance.

5. Micromanagement

Being micromanaged makes employees feel that they are being perceived negatively. They might believe that they are not seen as responsible and trustworthy enough to be allowed to work without nagging supervision.

6. Little to No Recognition

When there is no pat on the back or a word of gratitude from the boss, employees tend to lose their drive for excellence, thinking that no one notices anyway.

7. Disrespect and Antagonism

Unresolved conflicts in the workplace can create a negative and stressful atmosphere. This could affect an employee’s attitude and enthusiasm toward work.

8. Lack of Job Security

Being unsure of their job tenure could make employees feel worried and stressed because it affects their financial security and future plans.

RELATED: How To Improve Job Satisfaction In Your Organization

Final Thoughts on how to Boost Employee Morale

Boosting employee morale has far-reaching positive effects that can ripple from the employee to the company, community, and economy as a whole. Boosting employees’ spirits and giving them the push they need could change their lives and help the company grow to new heights.

The employees are among the company’s greatest assets. It is only smart to treat them with care because, in many ways, they help run the show and bring in the profits. 

They are not some mechanical equipment whose value is only measured by its output and nothing more. Your employees have untapped potential and the capacity to contribute more if treated right.

Your employees have untapped potential and the capacity to contribute more if treated right.

They also have human needs that can be satisfied by combining empathy and strategy—from boosting their health and wellness to addressing their psychological and emotional needs.

Ultimately, a holistic approach is the key to maintaining employee morale. To create a space where people can flourish and fuel the company forward, everyone in the organization can join the call to lift each other up.

Join us in a Free Demo and discover how you can put together a wellness program that will not only boost employee morale, but provide many more benefits!

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About The Author

Dr. Steve Aldana

Dr. Aldana is the CEO of Wellsteps, a worksite wellness solution that leads the nation in wellness program deployment and engagement. Dr. Aldana authored over 75 scientific papers and 7 books on health risk management, healthy living, and health promotion programs. He has given over 350 keynote speeches across the U.S. on the ability of good nutrition and regular exercise to prevent, arrest, and reverse many chronic diseases.

1 Comment

  1. This is a great article! One thing that is often overlooked when implementing wellness programs in the workplace is the role art can play in relation to employees’ mental health. However, more organizations are starting the see the benefits of incorporating elements of creativity in their wellness plans.

    In the current climate of hybrid working, I think it is more important than ever to think outside the box when it comes to wellness in the workplace.

    I’m looking forward to reading more; thanks for a great article.

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