While we cannot deny the fact that most employers and managers understand just how critical a motivated workforce is to the bottom line of a business, judging by recent studies, very few businesses have a workforce that feels motivated enough to do a great job.
According to an employment satisfaction survey conducted in 2012, only 19% of the participants reported being satisfied with their current jobs. A shocking two-thirds admitted they were not happy with their jobs. An earlier study that had been conducted by Mercer found out that 28% to 56% of employees across the United States wanted to leave their jobs badly.
It is quite clear then that there is a big morale challenge with the U.S. employment sector, and as expected, this has created some major problems within our organizations. With an economic unrest that seems to get worse by the day, it is obvious that employees are working in environments they'd rather not be.
Before we get to the discussion on how to boost employee morale, let's look at some of the benefits of a motivated employee population. Job satisfaction is one of the major benefits of boosting employee morale. When a worker feels that his or her needs are being satisfied, he or she is on the whole happy. Managers, particularly, tend to experience job satisfaction when their jobs are a bit challenging.
Boosted productivity is also another benefit that comes with a motivated workforce. The productivity of an employee is determined by two factors – his or her willingness to be productive, and his or her capacity for work. Since the willingness to become productive depends on how happy or an unhappy an employee is at work, it is safe to say that with proper motivation comes productivity.
1. Improving communication - It is only by keeping your employees updated on the developments and objectives of the company that you can make them feel part and parcel of the team. When employees feel like they are important to the company, they tend to treat the business with the respect it deserves. Making changes and issuing orders without asking for their opinions brings their morale down. But worse, it makes them experience job insecurity. To make them feel motivated and valued, hold weekly meeting to discuss progress and other issues that need to be discussed. Another tactic is to use bulletins and newsletters to celebrate achievements and to keep them on top of all developments.
2. Offering praise - A simple "thank you or "well done" comes at no costs and may, therefore, seem unimportant to most managers. But the truth is that these words can totally change the way an employee works when uttered in a sincere manner. You don't always have to rely on gifts and official appraisals to let your employees know you appreciate their efforts. Only an employee who works for an ungrateful boss knows just how demoralizing it can be.
3. Providing a comfortable work setting - Managers who don't have an idea how the working environment they expose their employees to can affect their motivation and productivity don't have the slightest idea on how to boost employee morale. To ensure your working environment is comfortable enough, start by making sure that it's clean and safe and that your bathroom facilities are on point. Providing decent toilet and rest facilities shows you respect and care for your workers. A comfortable work setting doesn't call for posh furniture and expensive gadgets, as long as it is clean, comfortable and safe, you can expect it to have a great impact on employee motivation and production. If possible, allowing them to personalize their desks or offices may motivate them further.
4. Allowing more autonomy - Employees like to feel like they are in charge to some degree. Occasionally giving them more autonomy over tasks and decisions will make them feel trusted and valued enough to treat the business as if it were their own. Also, when they know they are accountable for the consequences of their decisions, they are likely to put more effort in their work.
5. Offering bonus schemes - For some managers, boosting morale through bonus schemes has always worked well. While offering material gifts is not obligatory, financial gain is, without doubt, a very effective enticement, especially when accompanied by a simple "thank you". However, financial gifts and bonuses need not be extravagant. Reward your workers with bonus schemes for achieving goals, upping their performance, and being punctual.
6. Offering flexible schedules - A perfect example of managers boosting morale is through flexible scheduling. In fact, because this strategy gives employees opportunities to spend time with their families and friends, it can be considered as one of the most effective tricks for managers who think their workforce could use some motivation. Flexible schedules have been discovered to reduce stress, to increase motivation, and to boost productivity. They are also a great way to show respect for your employees, who will in turn show respect not only for you but for your business as well.
7. Offering training opportunities - Employee development equals business development. It shows you care for your employees, and it also improves retention. Invest in good training programs and you will inspire them not only to stay in the business but to also work harder.
8. Listening to employee concerns - When employees start feeling like their concerns don't matter to management, they will assume they don't really matter to the company. After all, if the company doesn't care about them, whey should they care about the company? To avoid encouraging this line of thought among your workforce, never ignore or dismiss their concerns, especially when it comes to their requests. Be open, visible and approachable. A manager who bullies drains his workforce.
In conclusion, you may be armed with all the tips you can get on how to boost employee morale, but don't expect to motivate your workers if you are not willing to set an example on how you want them to behave and work. Be a good sport and your employee will not hesitate to get on board.