Employee morale is a critical contributing factor to your company’s overall productivity and talent retention. When employees are satisfied with their jobs and maintain a positive outlook, they’re more likely to perform at their best. This attitude has a definitive impact on your company’s bottom line—for example, low morale can increase employee turnover, thereby costing the business approximately one-third of the employee’s annual salary, according to reports from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

To boost company morale and improve the workplace for everyone, try implementing the following tips.

7 Tips for Improving Employee Morale

1. Welcome employee input.

Give employees a safe space to discuss improvements and offer feedback without the risk of retaliation. Polling can be organized directly through human resources or by individual teams, but employees should also have opportunities to speak up during day-to-day interactions unprompted.

Encourage managers to ask questions like:

  • Do you have the resources you need to complete [project]?
  • Do you feel like you have enough time to get everything done?
  • Should we discuss the timeline together?
  • Are there any changes you would make to this proposal?
  • Is there anything I could do to better support you?
  • How are you feeling?
  • What do you think about [assignment]?

Managers can also offer feedback and advice to one another. Facilitate interdepartmental communication and training with quarterly lunches and mentorship programs for managers and business leaders.  

2. Give employees autonomy and decision-making power.

Micromanaging hurts employee morale and creates an environment of mistrust. Unfortunately, it’s a common mistake among new managers. To help business leaders appreciate the significance of individual autonomy, create policies of accountability instead of interference. Ultimately, if business leaders trust their employees, it will create more opportunities for them to focus on the big picture.

“Micromanaging displaces the real work of leaders, which is developing and articulating a compelling and strategically relevant vision for your team,” explains Jennifer Chatman, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

3. Create new opportunities to socialize.

Companies are experimenting with unconventional tactics to keep employees engaged while offices practice social distancing—events include, for example, wine tasting led by professional sommeliers, a ukulele-building workshop, family-friendly exercise classes, trivia nights, and standup comedy. If you’re not sure where to start, try crowdsourcing ideas from your team.

4. Be transparent about career advancement opportunities.

To give employees the opportunity to excel, they need to know what’s expected of them. Work with department heads to formalize promotion tracks and training programs. A clear structure will help motivate employees and give them a sense of direction and self-determination.

When positions open up, managers should also consider announcing open interviews for internal staff. This method will likely increase the applicant pool and can encourage employees to take on new responsibilities.

5. Celebrate milestones and high performance.

Everyone enjoys recognition for their work. Make sure the reward is commensurable to the employee’s experience and contributions. If a team member reaches an important anniversary, for example, they deserve a personalized gift—not a branded plastic keychain. If possible, tailor the recognition to the individual’s personality and position.

6. Embrace work-life balance.

Company culture factors into your employees’ schedules. Management teams should enforce consistent office hours and model healthy behaviors, like taking breaks throughout the day, logging off on time, using their vacation days, and not responding to emails outside normal working hours.

Business leaders should also routinely evaluate performance metrics and ensure they’re attainable within existing time and resource constraints. If an employee consistently works overtime, meet with them one-on-one and create a graduated plan to help them catch up. Try to be understanding of any outside factors that could affect productivity temporarily and be patient with the employee.    

7. Take a holistic approach to employee wellness.

Employees with comprehensive benefits feel appreciated, which in turn changes how they view their employer. To establish a meaningful alliance, business leaders must show they care about their employees as individuals. Health benefits, in particular, can be one of the most effective ways to improve morale and offer the following advantages: 

  • More productivity
  • Fewer sick days
  • Fewer workplace accidents 
  • Higher sales
  • Improved creativity

Successful businesses understand the correlation between profit and dedicated employees. To cultivate loyalty and lasting reciprocity, business leaders must proactively address employee morale.