Keep Your Team Happy: How to Improve Employee Morale

Employee morale is a must for a successful organization. It goes beyond employee happiness and fuels engagement and loyalty. Knowing how to improve employee morale is what keeps your organization going. 

This article explores the meaning of morale and its business impacts. You’ll learn what shapes morale, from leadership and culture to growth opportunities and work-life balance. Discover morale-boosting strategies your company can use. 

Importance of employee morale for business

Employee morale is necessary to keep engagement high. According to research from Gallup, engaged employees have lower turnover, lower absenteeism, and higher productivity. 

When employees feel appreciated as individuals and connected to the company’s purpose, their loyalty compounds and their effort grows. Leaders need to create a healthy environment to lift people and profits. 

9 ways to boost employee morale

Ready to figure out how to improve employee morale in your organization? Try these 9 strategies. 

1. Align your employees with your company values

When employees understand what you’re aiming for, they can feel more confident about how their work fits in. Here’s how you can establish your values and goals.

Define clear company values and mission statement

Set the stage by developing concise, meaningful statements of your organization’s core values and higher purpose. Start employee onboarding with this in mind, but be sure to reinforce this information, too. 

Hiring an employee? Check out our New Hire Training Checklist and Onboarding Guide

Communicate how each role contributes to the company

Connect the dots between individual jobs and your guiding principles. Explain exactly how each team member’s efforts bring the company values to life.

Involve employees in value-creation

Invite staff to brainstorm ways they can individually and collectively uphold the values each day. Also, get them involved in the conversation about how the company will work toward important initiatives.

Celebrate behaviors that exemplify company values

Remember to offer praise when people are doing things right. Recognize those who are role models of your values. This can help reinforce the behavior you want.

2. Create an open line of communication

Giving your employees the space to be heard is critical to helping them thrive. For more than 40% of workers, poor communication reduces their trust in their leaders and their team. The key is having the right communication systems in place.

Establish multiple channels for communication

Provide options like email, Slack, text, and in-person meetings for staff to connect. This makes it easy for employees to reach managers.

Hold regular meetings for updates and feedback

Schedule consistent touchpoints to share progress and gather input from staff. Keep the door open for questions and concerns.

Encourage management to be approachable and available

Train leaders to be receptive sounding boards. Have a policy allowing employees to voice issues freely and teach leaders how to manage the issues that may arise. 

Train leaders in effective communication skills

Empower managers with solid listening, empathy, and conflict-resolution abilities. This may require additional training or upskilling if your organization is overhauling communication.

3. Build a culture of positive thinking

Positive leadership and management create a positive work environment that boosts morale. Here’s what you need to know to improve the company culture from the top down.

Train leaders in positive leadership techniques

Managers need to give their direct reports feedback on their performance, but that isn’t limited to criticism. Equip managers with skills for motivating through encouragement as well. 

Incorporate positive messaging in internal communications

If all of your communications are negative, employees may start dreading your notifications. Weave in uplifting language, focusing on strengths and possibilities in as many communications as possible.

Recognize and discourage negative behaviors

Redirect conversations that dwell on problems without solutions. If you do find that some employees communicate negatively, work toward managing unconstructive attitudes by connecting with those people.

Foster an environment of support and optimism

Creating a psychologically safe workplace is essential for keeping morale high. Promote compassion and emotional safety. Celebrate wins and reinforce the belief that the team can accomplish great things.

4. Organize team-building activities

Research shows that 84% of employees would be motivated by the promise of socializing with teammates, while 85% of workers would be motivated by rebuilding team bonds. 

Here’s how to use team building to motivate and engage your people. 

Plan regular social events and outings

Schedule activities like bowling nights or yoga sessions to connect outside of work. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask your employees what would appeal to them the most.

Use team-building exercises to strengthen cooperation

Do activities that require trust-building and collaboration. For example, consider options like escape rooms or team sports that require people to work together.

Encourage cross-departmental collaboration

Create opportunities for different departments to brainstorm and socialize together. Breaking down these silos and allowing people to build more relationships can help them feel more connected to the workplace.

Provide opportunities for informal social interactions among staff

Team building activities don’t only have to happen during outings. Set up comfortable spaces for employees to chat and unwind during breaks. This way, relationships can develop organically.

5. Create an employee recognition program

Saying thank you is always appreciated, but it’s not always enough for employees to feel that their employer values them. Developing a strong employee recognition program can help with that.

Design a system for peer-to-peer and management recognition

Offer ways for employees to recognize each other’s accomplishments. This could be through badges, shout-outs, or reward nominations.

Regularly celebrate accomplishments and milestones

According to Gallup, 40% of employees said they are acknowledged just a few times a year or less. Note promotions, completed projects, and service anniversaries. This way, you can make praise frequent and tie it to meaningful actions.

Recognize a diverse range of contributions

If your leaders have a narrow definition of success, employees may not get the recognition they deserve. Having a recognition program that praises employees for all the work they do will help your organization celebrate them more often.

Make recognition public

Showcase shout-outs and accomplishments in your newsletter or at all-hands meetings. Public praise can enhance morale and encourage employees to call out good work when they see it. 

6. Give performance-based incentives

Employees who achieve their goals and are rewarded for them are often more satisfied with their company and role. Here’s how you can create a plan for performance-based incentives.

Implement a fair and transparent incentive program

Set clear expectations so employees know how to earn their incentives. Communicate how goals link to company objectives and how rewards will be determined.

Tie incentives to clear and achievable goals

Goals in these incentive programs shouldn’t be out of reach. Base targets on realistic benchmarks. Also, ensure employees have the tools to succeed. Outline tracking progress.

Offer a mix of financial and non-financial rewards

While money is a great reward, it’s not the only motivator. Blend monetary bonuses with extra PTO, gift cards, or a choice of assignments. 

Regularly review and adjust the program

An incentive program isn’t something you should set and forget. Evaluate effectiveness and get feedback to continuously improve.

7. Prioritize employee mental health

Research shows that untreated mental health conditions reduce productivity while increasing absenteeism. Since morale and mental health go hand in hand, it’s an important topic to address. 

Offer resources for mental health support and counseling

Make support easily accessible so people can take steps to improve their mental health. Provide access to employee assistance programs, free counseling sessions, and referrals. 

Encourage work-life balance

In a time where we can always be connected, employees may struggle to manage work and personal life. Allow flexible schedules and remote work options when possible, but encourage employees to step away when work hours end.

Provide training on stress management and resilience

A survey from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health shows that 40% of workers reported that their job is “very or extremely stressful.” Help with this by teaching techniques for managing time, boosting emotional intelligence, and preventing burnout.

Create a culture that destigmatizes mental health issues

Promote open dialogue and understanding around mental health. When employees are struggling, they should feel supported in the workplace. 

8. Implement a health and wellness program

Employees can have high morale when holistic well-being is part of the picture. Here’s what you can do to support health and wellness. 

Provide gym memberships or on-site fitness options

It’s easier for people to be active when they have access to the right equipment. Cover gym memberships or convert unused space into an exercise room.

Offer workshops

Providing useful education helps people get a sense of direction regarding their health. Bring in experts to teach classes on managing mobility, healthy cooking, and fitness. 

Organize company health challenges or competitions

Any goal employees work toward can be easier when they do it together. Rally people around team step count contests or sports tournaments. Make fitness social and fun.

Include mental wellness activities

Remember to incorporate mindfulness training and mood-boosting breaks. Mental health is also a factor in physical health.

9. Encourage employee development

Even your best employees may only want to stay in their current role for a while. Make sure you help them establish upward mobility.

Offer access to learning and development resources

Provide subscriptions to e-learning platforms and access to conferences. This will help remove barriers to growth and move the needle on employee happiness.

Support career progression with clear pathways and mentoring

Create roadmaps for advancement and outline objectives for the path ahead. Consider connecting employees with mentors to help them gain skills.

Encourage cross-training and skill diversification

Allow employees to learn roles outside their function. This way, they can gain new abilities to help them in their next role.

Invest in continuous education and certification programs

Offer tuition reimbursement, certifications, or training seminars. Show long-term commitment by helping employees continue their education.

How to improve employee morale: Getting employees invested

You can put these strategies in place, but that isn’t the only answer to boosting employee morale. 

Getting employees to feel emotionally invested in their work and your company is a key driver of morale. Start by being transparent about company goals and challenges. Then, provide opportunities for staff to give input on decisions and shape initiatives. 

Want to increase employee morale in your small business — and attract and retain top talent? From building trust and transparency to offering easy earning advances to your team, Homebase can help make your place a great place to work. Get started for free today!


Why is employee morale important?

High morale boosts productivity, retention, and company culture. Engaged, committed staff provide better customer experiences, and morale affects brand and profitability.

How can managers quickly improve employee morale?

Recognize hard work. Communicate openly to build trust. Provide feedback and development opportunities. Ensure reasonable workloads and work-life balance. All of these actions can make a difference.

What are the signs of low employee morale?

Factors like increased absenteeism, lower productivity, and high employee attrition are signs of low morale.

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