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How to Keep Up Employee Morale

Barista with high employee morale
May 1, 2020
Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team
May 1, 2020 | Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team

How to Keep Up Employee Morale

Maintaining a high level of company morale can be a major challenge for any business, especially when uncontrollable events, like the outbreak of COVID-19, disrupt day-to-day operations. 

Now more than ever, companies are turning to morale boosting mechanisms to keep their employees motivated and ready to meet the daily challenges of an economy that has moved southward. Even if you’re looking to hire during a crisis, retaining a dedicated, content employee base can have a significant effect on the performance of any business. 

For instance, it:

  • Decreases employee turnover rates, ensuring continuity of labor and maintaining a unified appearance to customers, clients, and other stakeholders
  • Limits the risks associated with a disgruntled workforce, ensuring employee loyalty and a high standard of service for building customer relationships
  • Stimulates efficiency and enhanced performance of employees and the business as a whole
  • Reduces costs associated with employee absences, trainings, and human resources issues

Simply put, a high level of morale among employees keeps an engine running smoothly. But, how does a company promote a positive atmosphere and work environment for employees? With these six tips, we’ll show you. 


1. The Key Is Transparency 

Employees value honesty and integrity from their employer above all else. That’s why it’s essential that your company maintains transparency, especially during difficult times. 

Your employees are intuitive and emotional. They understand the challenges every company can face during certain epochs. When well-informed, they’re in the know, ensuring that they understand the way the boat is rocking (even if they don’t know exactly what the current looks like). 

Thus, it’s incredibly important for managers and business owners to be transparent with their employees. Below are a few ways your company can lead with transparency: 

  • Be forthright – Whether your company is going through leadership changes, switching to remote work, or adopting new rules, make sure you’re forthright with your employees and inform them in advance of any changes that may occur. 
  • Trust their judgement – Your employees can handle a lot more than you might assume, so don’t hesitate to share important information with the group. They will be much better equipped to handle new developments if you trust their judgement. 
  • Include employees in changing management – If your business is considering big changes, then don’t exclude your employees. A business that seeks the advice of their team will be better at adapting to change.
  • Be honest about tough decisions – While no one likes to be the bearer of bad news, it’s best to lead with honesty when making tough decisions. If you do have to make difficult decisions, team members will respect management for being honest about why a certain initiative has been taken. 


2. Recognize Standout Employees

If an employee is making an excellent contribution to your business, then it’s crucial that you recognize their efforts. 

Not only will recognizing standout employees motivate others to work harder, but it will also contribute to a meritocracy that drives professional development and increases success across the business. 

Some useful thoughts on recognizing employees include the following:

  • Consider using a metrics-based approach towards monitoring employee contributions.
  • Reward good performance consistently and in the short-term to ensure employees are consistently motivated (example: a weekly gift or award based on performance).
  • Don’t dumb-down performance bonuses. Provide your employees with real motivation through cash prizes, commissions, or other valuable rewards.
  • Provide a clear upward mobility path. If everyone knows exactly what they need to do to get promoted, then they are more likely to achieve those goals.


3. Check-in with Each Employee Individually (Make Them Feel Heard

Individual communication is paramount in establishing trust within a work environment, especially when the future appears uncertain. Take the time to meet with every employee in person to address comments, concerns, or just to see how they’re doing. In addition to this, ask employees what motivates them. If an employee values recognition, you can make an effort to acknowledge the great work they’ve accomplished. These small interactions carry a lot of meaning when your employee feels valued

If your business employs a large team, ensure that your managers are trained to handle individual employee queries effectively and meet with each member of their teams on a consistent basis. 

It’s about finding the balance between working as a collective, but recognizing the individual. 


4. Monitor Mental Health

One of the best ways to foster a healthy work environment is to remind employees that management always has their best interests at heart. For this reason, it’s critical for every business to consider their employees’ mental health. 

Thus, take a look at some of these options to help create a mental health-conscious company culture:

  • Send out regular HR announcements that include updates on specific mental health-related benefits
  • Encourage employees to take breaks or days off when necessary
  • Create a culture of trust between managers, HR, and employees
  • Offer optional counseling sessions


5. Organize Activities

Everyone loves a good activity that helps them ease stress, rebalance, and shift away from work for a moment. If you want to motivate your employees and keep up morale, let your team take a break with an organized activity. 

The key to this exercise is to organize the activity during company time, not on the evenings or weekends. While outside activities can also boost performance and team building, they should be organized in addition to “on the clock” events. 

From a short team building game in the afternoon to a weekly staff pow wow, on the clock activities demonstrate that management is not solely focused on work and values a vibrant organizational culture. It also provides your staff with a much needed break! 


6. Maintain Compassionate Policies During Difficult Times

Whether your company needs to restart during a crisis or your employees have been firing on all cylinders for a huge deadline, a compassionate and caring company culture can be the difference between profitability and failure. 

If your employees know that the company cares about them when it matters most, they will work that much harder on behalf of the business. Life-altering events like COVID-19 present an opportunity for companies to show that they care about their employees, fostering loyalty and a commitment to excellence that extends far into the future. 


Boosting Company Morale

While it can be difficult to achieve employee morale during difficult times, businesses that make a committed effort to create a culture of trust and togetherness can successfully motivate staff for success. Be sure to remember the following six tips to get your employees on board:

  1. Be transparent when making big decisions
  2. Recognize your standout employees
  3. Check-in with your staff on an individual basis
  4. Monitor and support your team’s mental health
  5. Organize activities on company time
  6. Maintain a compassionate working atmosphere, especially in difficult times


Using Nextdoor To Help Employee Morale 

Nextdoor is the neighborhood hub that connects locals with each other and the businesses in their area. From restaurants to activities to local businesses, if you’re looking for a place where you can bring your team together and celebrate them, look no further. Learning how to navigate business during COVID-19 is difficult for many businesses, but there are options out there that can help. Sign up for free, browse the various offerings and recommendations in your neighborhood, and find the perfect spot.


If you are a local business, claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. Resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers during coronavirus, pertinent news affecting businesses, and more, are available in our Small Business Guide for Coronavirus Relief.

Claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. For resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers, pertinent news affecting business, and more, follow us at @nextdoorbusiness on Facebook

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