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Tips for Improving Employee Morale and Performance

Are you concerned about your employee morale? Tough economic times, coupled with pay cuts, downsizing, and layoffs have negatively affected employee morale and productivity. What should managers do?

With a slow recovery and an impending double-dip recession in some sectors of the economy, employee morale and performance are plummeting. Workers are increasingly dealing with difficult family and budget issues at home, and supervisors struggle to keep employees focused, happy and productive. Managers at all levels experience decreased employee performance, lack of focus, and sub-standard work products. The key to empowering any organization in these tough economic times is improved employee communication and appreciation.

Regular Email Appreciation Messages

Once a month, send a short email message to employees summarizing milestones and accomplishments. Include numbers and statistics of products sold, customers assisted, or other relevant metrics.

Regular All-staff Meetings

Hold division-wide meetings once a month with upper management and employees. Devote at least half of the time to an open forum, or question and answer session. Always begin the meeting with announcing the most recent accomplishment, award or employee recognition. If there are no notable organization or employee accomplishments to report, take the time to recognize an employee’s non-work-related achievements. Do not cancel the monthly meeting due to uncertainty about upcoming events. Employees need to be reassured during times of trouble that management is listening, even if the answers are unknown at the time.

Celebrate Employee Accomplishments Outside the Office

Encourage employees who have recently traveled or accomplished something of value outside the office to share their experiences in lunchtime brown bag meetings. Employees and managers who learn more about their coworkers’ personalities and accomplishments outside the office can do a better job of understanding and encouraging them in the work environment during stressful times.

Quarterly Potlucks

Hold four potlucks per year. This low-cost, team-building get-together keeps things light, encourages social interaction, and increases overall productivity. Rotate which units or sections bring the food, and have some breakfast potlucks, as well as lunch and dessert potlucks. Have a pie making contest or other fun theme, which employees help choose. Have managers cook dishes and staff guess who brought which item.

Hire a Professional Team Builder or Counselor

Know when your organization has reached its limit on in-house resources for employee communication and morale. Hire an outside professional to help lead team building or counseling sessions, if needed. Realize that not all employees will be equally motivated to participate, but if even a few employees have a positive experience, that positivity will spread throughout the organization.

Maintaining an organization’s consistency is critical to success in tough economic times. Employee morale is a huge factor in the organization’s performance and those who feel underappreciated, even in a bad economy, will be looking for other opportunities. Making employees feel appreciated requires regular celebrations of accomplishments in and out of the office, chances to interact between management and employees, and in some cases hiring a professional to help.

Reduce Employee Turnover

Employee retention is especially critical to businesses and organizations with limited training and hiring budgets. Some level of vacancy should be expected due to retirements and promotions within the organization. Learn what your organization can do to minimize the number of personnel that unexpectedly leave for outside opportunities.

Conduct Exit Interviews

When employees do leave the job for other opportunities, conduct an exit interview. What questions should you ask in an exit interview? Ask how long the employee had been wanting to make a career change. Find out if the employee was seeking things outside that could have been offered at the organization. Ask if the employee had been approached about a similar opportunity within the organization. Find out if the supervisor had conducted annual performance reviews and regular workload meetings.

Regularly Reward Employee Performance

Certain milestones should be celebrated with individual employees and groups as they occur. However, this should not take the place of regularly recognizing individual employees or teams with certificates of appreciation, lunch, or another type of reward. The reward serves several purposes beyond the obvious. It motivates other employees to perform, and creates a workplace culture where all employees feel valued. This being said, feeling valued won’t prevent someone from taking a promotion elsewhere, but it will slow the rate of transfers into equivalent outside positions.

Motivate Employees with Challenging Projects

Do not hesitate to assign challenging projects to staff. However, do make sure to give adequate guidance to employees when delegating more difficult tasks. When staff feel adequately challenged, they are less likely to look for other opportunities.

Conduct 360 Degree Performance Appraisals

Evaluate the entire organization, including employees and supervising managers. Have employees participate in evaluating supervisors and encourage customers to submit evaluations of staff and management. You may be surprised at some of the things a 360-degree evaluation reveals, but the benefits are enormous. Not only will you have less people leaving the organization, you will have more customer satisfaction.

Conduct Regular Team Building Activities

Managing supervisors should conduct regular team building activities off-site or onsite. The important thing is everyone should be involved, and the activity should be relatively simple. Look for opportunities to play an athletic game or hire a consultant to lead the group through a formal team-building exercise. Make these events a regular part of the schedule, such as quarterly or seasonally.

The ideas outlined in this article are not new, but they are often overlooked in times of financial stress and limited staff resources. Calculate the cost of losing staff, hiring and training. Then evaluate the resources required to conduct exit interviews, reward performance, motivate, and team builds. Implement what makes sense for your type and size of organization. Start small and build slowly, and you’ll be retaining more employees in no time. Check out this article on engaging your employees.

About the author: Diane H. Wong is a search engine optimization specialist and business coach. Besides, she is a research paper writer DoMyWriting so she prefers to spend her spare time working out marketing strategies. In this case, she has an opportunity to share her experience with others and keep up with advancing technologies.