How to Improve Employee Morale for an Enjoyable Workplace


Guided by the notion that morale is the galvanizer of employees’ motivation, satisfaction, and overall attitude towards the workplace, you are confident your company is implementing the best available practices. And yet, subtle symptoms like growing absenteeism and lack of enthusiasm tell you there is a cloud on the horizon. 

In case you are struggling to find new and ingenious approaches on how to improve employee morale and eliminate the workplace toxins brought by disengagement and unhappiness once and for all, you are in luck.  We offer some popularly priced remedies and creative morale boosters for you to consider. Take a look!

1. Nourish workplace connectedness at all levels.

69% of employed millennials feel lonely at work.

Connectedness is the key to boosting workforce morale. More importantly, the only way your staff can share the same zeal for your company’s growth and success is if they feel connected to its goals. One way to improve employee morale is to work on establishing strong connections from within.

A good start would be to ensure senior staff spend quality time with their colleagues, know who they are and keep track of their progress. But make sure it is done without imposing authority or seniority. Plus it’s an excellent opportunity for the two groups to engage in conversions which will pave the way for creating more comprehensive feedback. 

Starting a green-friendly project in the workplace is also one of the most effective ways to improve employee morale and make newcomers feel less lonely and more connected. A Toronto-based company recently implemented their “Let it Grow” project by providing employees with sunflower seeds, soil, fertilizers, and a pot to plant them. They also encouraged them to grow the sunflowers right at their desk and decorate the pots. 

In a matter of days, they witnessed genuine connections being made in the office. Staff were sharing tips and tricks on plant growing and watered the plants of their colleagues when they were out of the office, etc. Boosting employee morale is not always related to higher paychecks. As a budget-friendly project, “Let it Grow” shows you don’t need money to build lasting workplace connections.

2. Let employees know their work is more than just a job. 

52% of workers would enjoy work more, 45% would be more efficient at work, while 40% would feel happier if their job had more meaning.

While most organizations are working very hard to instill values of a meaningful work culture in their employees as a means to boost employee morale, many of them make the mistake of assuming their employees have no other interests outside the company. 

If your company is making a meaningful impact on the world, do not mention this only once every twelve months but try to discuss it in different ways throughout the year. Perhaps you are donating to charities working for causes the majority of your staff is passionate about. Make this fact known to them. A recent employee morale survey concluded that investing in staff’s interests pays off big time.

But if you still can’t figure out how to boost employee morale, a good starting point is to organize a competition and challenge the staff to make their best chocolate dessert. They can also be encouraged to put a price on their creations and sell their cooking skills. The head of the company can be the “celebrity” judge to declare the top three sweet delights. 

All the money collected can be donated to a charity or the company can make a contribution to a community outreach program chosen by the staff. In the meantime, you as the employer will know how to boost employee morale and motivation and learn more about what other tactics work on your people.

3. Recognize and appreciate employees’ accomplishments.

Lack of recognition is what drives 44% of employees to look for a new job.

Employee recognition is one of the most prevailing factors affecting employee morale so being appreciative of the hard work of your ‘busy bees’ could be the secret to scoring high on the employee retention charts. Plus with the raging war for talent at all times, developing recognition processes aimed at increasing employee morale will save you the trouble of paying twice the wage per employee to replace them. 

Creative morale boosters like, for example, keeping an ‘accomplishments jar’ at the desk of every employee where colleagues can give a marble to celebrate every success could be a fun way to go. Every member of the team, no matter the level of seniority would give marbles to their peers so, at the end of the year, a raffle can be held as one of the more creative ways to boost employee morale. Of course, the times an employee’s name would be thrown in the hat for prizes will depend on how many marbles they have.

4. Spice up your organization’s meetings.

An overwhelming 91% of employees daydream during meetings, 96% miss meetings, while 47% believe meetings are the number one time-wasters in the office.

Meetings contribute to low employee morale and taking into account that unnecessary meetings cost up to $37 billion a year the question arises: how do you improve employee morale and motivation in regards to meeting attendance?

Deserting the traditional way your company organizes meetings could be a smart move to shake things up. Quarterly brainstorm sessions where everyone will be allowed to share their ideas on how to make things more enjoyable and set the agenda for the upcoming period can go a long way toward boosting employee morale. 

Organizing fun employee morale activities like bowling or other sports activities once a week with the winners being charged to shape the contours of the next meeting would definitely help boost employee morale. 

Another fun way to make meetings more fun is to hold a “guess the baby” photo contest before the start of every meeting as a sign of appreciation of colleagues who have gone above and beyond to contribute to the company’s success. 

5. Help your employees grow by training them to develop positive attitudes. 

A staggering 76% of employees want more career growth opportunities, while 68% believe training and development is the most important policy.

A positive attitude is what gets the job done and motivates others to do the same. And although many aspects define employee morale, in order to truly understand how it relates to maintaining a positive attitude, you must consider an employee’s overall satisfaction in association with the company they represent but also their attitude about themselves. 

This is a very complex process that is also linked to employee morale and productivity. Giving your employees a sense of growth and progress is one way of showing them they have something to look forward to on the job. But this doesn’t mean that you have to relate it to promotions or higher paychecks. 

Among activities to increase employee morale and train them to stay positive, you can organize watching and discussing inspirational videos like Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address or Lance Amstrong’s comeback from cancer. These can be a major morale booster and spreader of positive vibes in the workplace. 

A “wall of wowness” where the successes of the team would be displayed is also an awesome idea. Or you can treat them with personal growth courses or webinars that will help them with their professional skills.

6. Offer employees ways to do good out of the office.

A whopping 70% say volunteering does a better job at boosting employee morale than company-sponsored happy hours.

Employees stand united that businesses that sponsor volunteer activities, rather than drinking parties, have a better working environment, and they are not wrong. In fact, a recent employee morale survey showed that companies with an established employee volunteer program have outstanding workplace culture but also happier and more productive staff. Consequently, volunteering does not only alleviate the symptoms of low employee morale but also makes your staff take pride in the company.

If you are still trying to figure out how to boost employee morale and want to create a solid employee volunteering program, here is an idea – “Paint a Playground” in an area of your city that could use some new colors. Or tell your staff to research ongoing volunteering projects and charitable initiatives in your community and then tell you which cause they prefer. 

To avoid favoritism as the number one low employee morale trigger, just divide them into groups and set them on their venture to spread goodness. The opportunities and ideas to boost employee morale are endless, as long as you are willing to commit to it. 

7. Tell employees you are grateful for their awesomeness. 

70% of staffers say their motivation and morale will massively improve if their seniors said ‘thank you’ more.

If you want your employees to be happy, start by thanking them in real-time for a job well done. It costs nothing but has an immense impact on employee morale and productivity. What is more, gratitude does not only boost employee morale but employees value it more than money as surveys show it positively affects performance and retention rates. 

And although it is a rather cool idea to give away an award for ‘most helpful employee’, there are more creative morale boosters and awarding ways to express gratitude on a daily basis as opposed to once a year. Small gestures of appreciation such as buying Popsicles on a hot summer day or writing thank you notes and drawing smileys on the paychecks usually prove to be priceless.

Another thoughtful way of improving employee morale and saying thank you is to buy a bulk of movie tickets and distribute them among employees who go above and beyond in their duties. And finally, you can always ask them how they would like to be validated. Many employees would be perfectly happy with a quick thank you email.

Final Remarks

Some things, like employee morale, cannot be bought with paychecks alone but must be earned by giving attention, showing appreciation, and offering purpose to the most valuable resources – your staff. And although figuring out how to improve employee morale is a perplexing and even challenging task, it gets easier once you discover what drives the occupants of your workspace. After all, only a company with a deep understanding of the importance of employee morale can resonate with exceptional service and continuous team success. 

Resources: Wall Street Journal, Society for Human Resource Management, HR Technologist, Atlassian, HR Exchange, Business News Daily, Rise People