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How to Improve Employee Morale

Updated on September 30, 2012

Why Is Employee Morale Important?

Employee morale is an important aspect to a business and a manager must always be concerned with where their staff rates in this category. Why is it so important that an employee is happy at work? Because a happy employee is a productive employee. Yes, even unhappy employees do their job, but they don't do it at the same level as someone who is glad to be at work.

Not only does the quantity of work suffer when an employee is unhappy, but the quality is often not as good. When you multiply one employee's dissatisfaction by everyone in the department, your business is in trouble.

Another issue is turnover. When an employee is not satsfied with where they work, they will look for a place where they will be happy. This is understandable. Who wants to spend 8+ hours somewhere that makes them miserable?

What Can a Manager do About Employee Morale?

As the manager, you are responsible for your employee's job satisfaction. While that doesn't seem fair, it is the truth. If you have one unhappy employee out of 20 or 30 staff members, then it is probably just not the right place for that one employee. However, if more people share their sentiment, you might want to look at the situation more closely to see what is causing the drop in employee morale.

However, preventing a problem is a lot better than trying to fix one. Here are some suggestions to ensure the morale at your workplace is positive.

Small gifts show your appreciation.

Office gifts can be fun to get.
Office gifts can be fun to get. | Source

Offer More Praise than Criticism

It's not just for kids that the rule was made to give 10 words of praise for every one word of criticism. Employees need to hear more about what they did right than what they did wrong. This doesn't mean you can't discipline them; it just means you should also let them know when they do a good job.

If you're not a demonstative person and give verbal praise, you can do what one of my former bosses used to do. She would pick up some little gift and attach a note to it. It was never anything extravagant, just a new pen or colored post-it notes. There also wasn't a lot of emotion in the message, just something like "thanks for the great work" but it let us know we did a good job. And we didn't get it every day; it was saved for when we stayed late to deal with a catastrophe. But it made everyone feel appreciated.

Encourage Development

Encourage your employees to develop their skills even if it means they will be moving to another department. When you see an opportunity for promotion, don't hesitate to mention it to them. Even if they aren't interested in moving on, it will make them feel good to know you think they are capable.

Allow your staff time to take classes or attend a seminar if the job permits it. This shows you care about them as individuals and not just what they can do for you.

Have Fun

Make work a fun place to be. Allow staff to have special food days or to celebrate birthdays. The few mintutes this takes away from their job will be made up in the rest of their work time. They will feel more productive if they have a few minutes to socialize and plan for events.

Of course, you have to enforce rules around social situations, but it is important that people have a chance to laugh together and enjoy a break. This becomes even more important if they work in offices or cubicles alone.

You can even plan an outside-of-work event once or twice a year for fun with co-workers. You could go bowling or have a picnic. The result of these events is that people feel a stronger bond with each other, their boss, and the company.

Be the Morale Booster

You can't always control one employee's attitude, but you do have influence on the atmosphere of the workplace for the group. Do your best to make work a place your staff wants to be rather than a place they have to come to each day. Your company will benefit from your efforts.


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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, JM,

      Oh how true this hub is and what a fine job of presenting it! Voted up and away. In my working days, I worked in a newspaper office and I have witnessed what you say in this hub for real. I have seen ONE person infect the morale and at the end of ONE day, you could feel the tension that would lead to mild-friction that was not needed.

      Thanks for your courage to write about this topic.

      I cordially-invite you to check out a couple of my hubs then be one of my followers.

      I would love that.

      Kenneth/ from northwest Alabama

    • Doodlehead profile image


      6 years ago from Northern California

      It will be interesting to see how the Obamacare rules affect employee morale. You may know Sears Foods is now cutting health insurance for (I think) 70,000 people who will now receive a health insurance allowance from Sears. The employer/employee relationship is being affected.

      I would like to know your thoughts.


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