Workplace morale describes a combination of a number of factors within your workplace. Our clients are often looking to use visual management to improve workplace morale by being able to more effectively communicate with and engage their workforces. In this post, we’re going to explore workplace morale as a whole and look at strategies and tactics to improve workplace morale.
Too busy to read this post? Here’s our rundown of how to improve workplace morale:
Start with your business culture
Work on creating a positive working environment
Use visual management to improve communication
Lead from the front and recognise achievement
Set targets and goals and communicate the score
Use teamwork to build harmony
In an average person’s lifetime, they will spend 90,000 hours at work.
Ensuring that those hours are spent somewhere they want to be should be at the top of every employer’s list. Taking the time to improve workplace morale will lead to happy employees that will have higher productivity, achieve more and remain loyal to the business… Three things which we are sure are at the top of your priority list for qualities you’re looking for in a workforce.
Conversely, low workplace morale leads to negativity that can spread among staff, infecting even your most productive employees.
Employees with low morale generally have poorer co-operation, lower productivity, a higher absence-rate and, generally, increase your staff turnover. Recruitment and training are costly and requires a huge amount of time, time that could be better spent working towards your goals with the staff that already know your systems and processes.
Focusing time and effort into improving workplace moral lets your staff reward you with improved progress, performance and results.
It is quite clear to see why you need to improve workplace morale, but what can you do? As a leader, you can’t simply give it out, but you can impact the factors which influence the morale of your team. Here at ClarityVM Consulting, we have compiled our list of 6 crucial factors that are key to improving workplace morale.
Start With Culture To Improve Workplace Morale
The culture of your workplace plays a huge part in improving morale within your team as it influences your employees day-to-day. Introducing the following key aspects into your team’s culture will ensure your team increases its positive outlook and improves the moral.
- Recognition – We will revisit recognition in other sections too as it is key to high workplace morale. From a cultural perspective, ensuring that the team will happily sing each other praises, rather than knock them down, is important to keeping everyone happy.
- Support – A supportive culture involves a team that wants every member of it to succeed. Helping another member when they are struggling and genuinely wanting them to reach their goals. Imagine the thrill of working in an environment where every member of the team is excited about helping another succeed. This is absolutely attainable if you integrate this into your culture.
- Work/Life Balance – This is something that lots of employees will admit is responsible for their morale at work. Creating a culture where your home life is respected as much as your work life is important. Draw the line on what is appropriate in terms of contact outside working hours and ensure that this is stuck too, this will undoubtedly improve the morale in your workplace.
- Development, Learning and Improvement – Create a culture with learning at its heart and you will ensure that your staff are always performing at the top of their game. More often than not, CPD time at work is considered a waste of time or unimportant. Ensure learning in your workplace is celebrated, encouraged and shared.
Check out our blog on creating a culture of continuous improvement at your workplace for tips on how to integrate a new culture in your team.
Work on Creating a Positive Working Environment
A survey of 1,000 office workers found that shorter winter days had a profound effect on their motivation and energy, it’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This shows that your environment is key to your moral, attitude and general wellbeing.
It’s proven that changes in the seasons can drastically impact our mood and is often as a result of the amount of light we are exposed to. Starting work in the darkness and leaving in darkness can be demotivating for even the most tenacious member of staff!
You cannot impact the light outside, but you can affect it inside. Make your work-space pleasing to all the senses to combat the seasonal mood.
Is it dark and cold outside right now?
Make your office space bright, warm and welcoming. Think about including adaptive work-spaces, not all tasks lend themselves to desks. Do you have space away from the desks for meetings, quiet work (and most importantly, creativity?)? Breakout areas help staff to stay on task as well as giving them a much-needed break from the screen.
Finally, try to budget for small treats for the team. Little things like drinks and biscuits can make staff feel much more positive about their working environment. Could you provide a free or subsidised breakfast by keeping the kitchen stocked?
Could you even provide lunch for your team?
If you don’t have that kind of budget, think about introducing ‘Free Cake Wednesday’ to help your staff get over that mid-week hump.
Small perks like this can often make the biggest of differences in how your employees feel about your company and a little can go a long way!
Use Visual Management To Improve Communication
Clear and transparent communication amongst your teams is, in many ways, so simple to achieve yet is all too often a pain point for many organisations.
Are you keeping your team in the know, or are you letting the rumour mill take hold?
A common issue in businesses with low workplace morale will often find communication (or lack thereof) at the root of this problem. Lots of shut door meetings lead to miscommunication, which, in turn, turns into a lack of trust within the organisation. Simple visual management is a great way to ensure your staff stay in the know.
Hold regular meetings with your team to ensure the channel of communication is always free-flowing. Make sure you treat communication as a two-way street. If your staff are not happy then you want to hear about it first, rather than it travelling around the whole organisation first.
Lead From The Front and Recognise Achievement
Lack of confidence in the leadership of an organisation will always lead to low morale. As a leader, it is your responsibility to communicate your vision to your team clearly and ensure your team feel heard, respected and valued.
How are you recognising achievement in your organisation?
Lots of people do this differently and it’s important to choose a route that best works for you. The key here is to have a clear recognition process in place. Here are just a few suggestions on how you can recognise success with your employees:
- An employee of the month
- A bonus scheme
- Half day holiday rewards
- Company perks scheme
- Points schemes
- Even a simple – “Well done you did great!”
With recognition, it is important to be consistent, fair and to reward the behaviour or progress you want to see. Get this right and you will most certainly improve workplace morale.
Be genuine! This sounds like a no brainer but you would be surprised at how often a leader thinks they are saying all the right things but their staff know it is not genuine.
Here’s a great example:
There was a leader who used to make an effort to ask how his employees were, or if they were having a good day when he saw them. The problem was, he always said it while he was mid-walk and had already passed by them before they had a chance to respond.
If you don’t stick around for the answer, then you clearly didn’t want one. But, this leader thought they were being personable and friendly and doing the right thing!
However, to the staff, it became somewhat of a running joke as they used to try and get their answers in really fast, or shout them down the corridor before they were completely out of earshot. Be genuine, if you want to appear friendly and personable then BE friendly and personable.
Trust is a huge factor in workplace morale and it needs to come from both sides. Your staff need to trust you to be fair and consistent and are looking to you to do a good job as much as you are them.
As a leader, you must trust your staff to do the job you pay them to do. Leaders who have little to no trust in their staff tend to micromanage and bury their staff in pointless administration to evidence their worth. If you can’t trust your staff then it’s important you look at the root cause of why. The results should speak for themselves and might not even have anything to do with the people who have been subject to your poor management.
Consider flexible working arrangements. With flexible working a hot topic in every industry sector, you do not want to lose fantastic staff to another opportunity who will allow school drop-offs into their schedule.
Trust plays a huge part in this again, as you need to trust your staff to work from home or to work on a different timescale to you. Employers, however, have found that staff are so grateful for this opportunity that the staff working flexibly are more productive than the staff that aren’t. Proving once again that morale plays a huge factor in work output.
Finally, as a leader empower your staff, make their development your priority and help them to progress through your company.
Set Targets and Goals and Communicate the Score
Do your team know their targets and how they impact them?
Do you just tell them at the start of the year and then at the end (when they inevitably haven’t achieved it)?
There is nothing more motivating than seeing the work you are doing having an impact on the final result. Staff do not want to feel like they are doing something that doesn’t matter or make a difference, but that is so easily done when their impact isn’t communicated.
Interactive target boards, regular updates and recognition all come into play here. Communicate the score, show the impact your team are having and celebrate the results!
Make sure you communicate both the bad and the good to allow them to make any changes required. All too often we have seen the end of year reports talking about how things were not achieved that staff had no idea about. Let your staff make the difference you pay them to make. It will help you achieve your goals, improve workplace morale and will help them to feel like they matter.
Use Teamwork to Build Harmony
Happy, harmonious teams don’t happen overnight, but are key to a happy workforce.
Work relationships can often be the difference to your day.
Even with all these steps in place, there will still be bad days when things don’t go your way, but when you are surrounded with the right people, they will pick you back up again. Not everyone wants to be best friends with their colleagues, but positive relationships are still achievable. Make sure your break areas lend themselves to social interaction. Laughter and talking at work should not be seen as a bad thing, as long as the work is done.
Consider timetabling team building activities into your year. Some companies will build this into a giving back programme and organise charity days, where staff will spend a day out at a local charity.
Fundraising events in the office such as bake sales also help with this.
Recognise important milestones. Work anniversaries, birthdays and targets achieved are all things to be proud of. Celebrating together is a simple way to make your staff feel valued and to bring comradery to the team.
Finally, get to know each other. Someone in your team could have a secret skill not necessarily relevant to their job role, but it might be to yours. Knowing your team’s strengths and weaknesses will help when it comes to delegating, internal training and project management.
Learn their goals. What do they want to achieve? Can you help them achieve it?
Often, you will find something you are sat struggling with, is something someone else is amazing at. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you will learn something new and someone else will feel valuable. A win-win for everyone.
How to Improve Workplace Morale
So there you have it, six steps to improve workplace morale and foster a happy team that is motivated to achieve more for your business. If you’re a business leader or leader of teams, use the tactics we discussed here to develop the moral of your workplace. Remember that happy teams yield positive results!
What did you think to this latest post? Are you team engaged and motivated for success or have you found inspiration here to take back to your own workplace?
Let us know in the comments!
Struggling with workplace morale?
Here at ClarityVM Consulting, we coach clients both far and wide about how they can use Lean and visual management to achieve their goals, exceed their targets and make financial savings which would otherwise be lost to waste. We work with our clients to create a bespoke strategy that ensures Lean is set up for success before providing specific, high-quality visual management products to sustain the initiative and make Lean work in the organisation long-term.
You can read more about the work we’ve undertaken with our clients by browsing through our Visual Management Case Studies
Further reading on the Clarity Blog:
- Developing an Effective Standard Operating Procedure
- Assessing Goals and Auditing Strategies
- Aldeburgh Lifeboat Station – Saving Lives With Lean Thinking
- A Visual Management Definition You Can Rely On
- Kaizen Events: Clarity Consulting’s Secret Weapon
- Why Your Workplace Communication Fails (…and How To Improve It)
- Why Lean Programmes Fail
- 6 Simple Solutions to Battle Workplace Stress
- How To Make Your Process Improvements Stick Around
- How To Create A Culture Of Improvement In Your Workplace
- 6 Challenges For Effective Business Leadership
- Our Favourite Lean Quotes…
- Beat Procrastination and get Motivated