It’s hard to define exactly what morale is - you can’t really see it, hear it or touch it. Yet you can sense when it is there and when it is lacking. It is also vital to the success of a business. Studies by Warwick Business School have found that happy employees are on average 12% more productive. That’s a huge boost in productivity and one that would be hard to achieve in any other way.
Morale is also very important in saving the business money in a more tangible sense. Happy staff are less likely to leave, and as any business knows, turnover can end up costing a fortune. For a regular staff member rapid turnover can cost around 30% of the annual salary. For more senior members of staff and executive positions, that can be as high as 400%. So, it’s clear that boosting morale is very important. But just how do you go about doing it?
- Lee Iacocca
The good news is that it is often relatively easy and cheap to boost morale. It just takes a bit of hard work. Here are five ways to make your staff happier and your office a better place to be.
Recognition and results
One of the primary reasons for job dissatisfaction is feeling undervalued. If people work hard, they want it to be recognised. A little bit of praise, gratitude and encouragement goes a long way. If a staff member or team does something well, achieves great results or goes above and beyond the call of duty for their work, then make sure everyone knows about it.
Micro-managing can be very destructive. Most people like nothing less than feeling like they have no responsibility and that they aren’t trusted. Give your employees the room to impress you and be prepared for them to fail without being too hard on them. Trust is a fundamental part of office morale.
Recognise the individual
Your staff are not pieces of office equipment. A human being is always more important than the copy machine so why treat them the same? Know everybody’s name, recognise their individuality and show that staff are valued as people above all else. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
Everyone worries about their job sometimes, and this is never worse than when you don’t know what is going on. Keeping people in the dark leads to rumours, uncertainty, paranoia and loss of productivity. If something is happening, let people know what it is, whether it is good or bad news. No news is not always good news, especially in an office environment.
Make the office fun
OK, this doesn’t mean you have to dressing up days, or other trivial, ‘forced fun’ activities. However, try and make the office a fun and exciting place to be. Encourage the exchange of ideas, create ‘break out’ spaces where employees can kick back properly. The tech companies of Silicone Valley realised long ago that making work fun was essential and they haven’t done too bad over the last quarter century.
Organise bonding activities and try to socialise outside of work with events, sports teams and family days. The aim of a fun office is to include everyone and make staff feel more comfortable at work. Get this right and it can be the biggest of all the morale boosting exercises we’ve mentioned.
As you can see, nothing we have described here will cost a fortune and yet it could provide dramatic results. In the long run boosting morale will be far more effective than scaling back and jobs cuts. So why not give it a go?
Sarah Atkinson is a digital marketing professional and blogger based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She is currently working with serviced office provider Easy Offices and has a special interest in workplace motivation.