Best Practices in HR

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Nathan Figg
  January 1, 1970

6 Simple Ways to Improve Employee Morale

Morale: it’s the lifeblood of any organization. It doesn’t matter how competitive your salaries and benefits are or what exotic perks you offer—if you don’t have a positive workplace culture, you are at a major disadvantage. Gallup estimates that it costs as much as twice an employee’s annual salary to replace them, when you consider the amount of time and effort that goes into training. All told, according to Gallup, US businesses lose a whopping $1 trillion per year due to voluntary turnover. 

The latest research shows that among businesses with 50–500 employees, 63 percent say that retaining employees is harder than hiring new ones. This makes sense when you consider that 70 percent of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated by management. The fact is, morale and recognition are inextricably linked: A survey by OGO noted that a lack of recognition has a monumentally negative impact on how employees feel about their workplace. The survey found that 40 percent of employed Americans would put more energy into their work if they were recognized consistently. All told, more than 80 percent of professionals believe they aren’t adequately recognized for their contributions, a recipe for low morale and chronic turnover.

The simple fact is that the more your employees are engaged, the higher their sense of wellbeing, and the more likely they are to stay with your organization. Here are our top 6 workplace morale boosters to ensure you retain top talent for the long haul.

Top 6 Workplace Morale Boosters

Be Transparent

Perhaps no other factor has more of a negative impact on morale than a perception that management is not transparent. When leaders avoid difficult conversations or hide problems, they are all but asking for employees to run for the exits. Transparency also applies to relationships between employees and their supervisors. For example, one survey found that young workers are driven by performance feedback—as many as 71 times per year.

Organizations function best when their values are aligned at every level. If you want your teams working as a single unit to achieve shared goals, you must be transparent about what those goals actually are. That sounds easy enough, but countless employees report that they are unsure why their work matters, or how their efforts are valued by the company. Being transparent about broader goals, and each team’s place in achieving them, goes a long way to boosting overall morale.

Cultivating transparency also requires humility from leadership. Everyone makes mistakes, from interns to mid-level managers to CEOs. Admitting when you were wrong does not project weakness; on the contrary, employees are drawn to and inspired by vulnerability from their leaders. For one of the fastest ways to boost morale in the workplace, consider how you can improve transparency at all levels of the organization.

Communicate Constantly

Have you ever been blindsided by a major company announcement? It feels crummy to know the higher-ups were planning a big shake-up without consulting you or your team. More to the point, it feels like you lack control and clout.

Not all decisions can be made openly, of course, but the most successful organizations ensure their employees never feel alienated. They understand that when employees are communicated to effectively, they are far more likely to be aligned with the broader goals and shifts of the organization. Effective communication can simply mean circulating a monthly newsletter and sharing regular company announcements. It also means checking in with your employees regularly to gauge their morale. Ask questions like: 

How are you feeling about the direction of your team? How effectively do your values align with your manager’s? Are you facing any challenges at work? If so, how can we help? Or simply: Are you happy?

Regular, open channels of communication go a long way to ensuring your employees feel heard and valued, and it’s one of our tried-and-true ways to boost morale at work.

Recognize Employees

Engaged employees are productive employees. “Highly engaged organizations have double the rate of success of lower engaged organizations,” explains Harvard Business Review. Meanwhile, Gallup found that highly engaged teams show 21 percent greater profitability. The statistics show that organizations cannot afford to ignore employee engagement, with an exhaustive report by The Engagement Institute finding that disengaged employees cost US companies up to $550 billion every single year. Conversely, Willis Towers Watson, reports that companies with high and sustainable levels of engagement have operating margins up to three times higher than companies with low or unsustainable levels of engagement.

According to a joint study by SurveyMonkey and Bonusly, 63 percent of workers who said they were “always” or “usually” recognized by management said they were “very unlikely” to job hunt in the next 3–6 months. Conversely, just 11 percent of employees who said they were “never” or “rarely” recognized stated the same.

News flash: when employees feel recognized for their achievements, they have more self-worth, become more engaged in their work, and productivity increases. Or as Gallup puts it: “Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes employees feel valued for their work. Recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement, but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.”

Recognizing employees for their hard work is low cost and high impact. And with a corporate wellness program like Woliba, it’s incredibly easy. With one dashboard, you can give a shout out to employees who crushed a big project or presentation. The same software can also help schedule reminders for birthdays, wedding anniversaries, work anniversaries, and other milestones that usually fall by the wayside, especially in larger organizations. When an employee is not made to feel special on their special day, he or she will feel less engaged. Your wellness software can ensure these moments are never forgotten. Woliba, for instance, can help admins program a custom calendar of these important days, and can even send out automated emails to ensure everyone feels acknowledged and appreciated.

Establish a Rewards Program

Do you know the only thing better than being recognized for a job well done? It’s being rewarded for a job well done. 

There are countless reasons why employee reward programs pay for themselves many times over. The first reason is straightforward: The promise of great rewards encourages employees to work harder. Whether it’s a reward for completing a wellness challenge or guiding your team through a IT migration, employee rewards are the one of the best ways to prevent the loss of valuable employees. 

Harness Technology

The bigger your organization, the more daunting it might seem to maintain channels of communication and keep tabs on the wellbeing of your employees. And in a time when millions of Americans are still working from home due to Covid-19, keeping morale a priority can seem impossible.

This doesn’t need to be the case. Wellness software like Woliba allows admins to access reward and recognition tools instantly, ensuring top-performing employees are recognized. Ask any HR professional what their least favorite task is, and most will say: “Writing the same email over and over.” Robust wellness software allows you to stop wasting time manually writing out organization-wide emails. Instead, Woliba automatically schedules and sends reminder emails to keep employees engaged and on track.

Technology also allows employees to seamlessly integrate their favorite fitness. Woliba seamlessly integrate with all popular fitness devices and apps, including Garmin, Fitbit, Apple Watch, Strava, Google Fit, HealthKit, Run Keeper, and Withings. This means that Woliba automatically uploads their bike rides, hikes, swims, and other activities, making it easy to earn points and compete in company-wide events and challenges. Woliba also integrates with communication tools like Slack, as well as Google Calendar, iCalendar, Outlook, and Yahoo! Calendar. Our free app is available on the Apple and Android app stores, so you can easily monitor your progress on the go.

Offer Personalized Wellness

Work is for work and personal time is for everything else. For too many years, this was the mantra of the typical workplace. If you wanted to get healthy and fit, you had to do it outside of company time. Fortunately, the modern workplace takes a much more holistic approach to workplace wellbeing, guided by the knowledge that healthy employees are productive employees. Indeed, the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) performed a exhaustive review of programs offering health risk assessments with feedback and health education, finding that for every dollar invested in health intervention, employees recouped between $1.40 and $4.60 in avoided medical- and productivity-associated losses.

Promoting healthy habits isn’t just morally good—it’s good for business, too. Studies routinely show that employee wellness programs lower healthcare costs across the board while curbing the risk of lifestyle-related disease. When employees are physically and mentally healthy, they show up for work engaged and excited for their day. According to a study by Aflac, 70 percent of employees enrolled in wellness programs report higher job satisfaction than those not enrolled. And as APA noted, employees are much more likely to recommend a company that offers a robust wellness program. Organizations that invest in wellness programs routinely see a major decrease in voluntary employee turnover—a key sign that employees are happy and content.

Gone are the days when corporate wellness amounted to a discounted gym membership. These days, your wellness software lets employees take personalized risk assessments, helping pinpoint areas of concern. If someone needs help with weight loss, smoking cessation, mindfulness, healthy eating, or countless other areas, they can turn to their wellness software for help.

How happy are your employees? Remember that the initiatives outlined above benefit individuals at all levels of your organization for the long-term. The actions you take now can help foster a sense of inclusion, setting the bedrock of a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce. For more information about what Woliba can do for your organization, please reach out to our sales team to book a demo.

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