By: Jen McKenzie
When your employees are directly and fully engaged, you will notice that their morale and overall level of job satisfaction are high. They are motivated to work harder and smarter for your company, and the result is high productivity and perhaps less employee turnover.
However, some business owners and managers only focus on improving employee engagement sporadically. When this happens, you will notice that morale, job satisfaction and productivity plummet. Keeping employees fully engaged is a continuous responsibility if you want your company to be as successful and profitable as possible through the efforts of a happy, productive team.
Let Them Know What to Expect
If your goal is to improve engagement and morale throughout the year, it is imperative that your team understands the professional goals that the company is trying to accomplish. More than that, they need to have a clear understanding of why these goals are important and how their own personal effort is critical to the accomplishment of the goals. This holds true for every single person in the organization regardless of how basic their job responsibilities are.
In addition, you should always be a leader and practice what you preach. Avoid doing something that would be perceived as contrary to the company’s goals because this could give mixed messages that bring morale down. As a further effort to boost morale, only set realistic work goals and requirements for your employees. When they are overworked or frustrated, morale can sink. Each employee needs to feel as though goals are realistically attainable.
Get to Know Your Workers
Another excellent way to keep employees fully engaged is to add a personal touch to your relationship with them, but at the same time, keep the interactions professional at all times. Always remember their names and greet them by name when you pass them in the office.
Remember to offer congratulations or even send gifts for a birthday, a wedding or other special occasions. Ask about things that are going on in their lives, but don’t delve too deeply into their personal business. Always smile and be cheerful so that they feel as though you are happy to see them. This can make them feel welcome and as though they are a valuable part of the team.
Be Supportive and Flexible
Understand the importance of promoting and enabling your team members to have a healthy work-life balance. You should create a supportive and flexible work environment that allows employees to take time off as needed for vacation and personal days without guilt, and you may even encourage employees to take vacations so that they can be rejuvenated from time to time. Remember that employees who have a healthy work-life balance and who feel rested and relaxed may be more productive.
To promote a good balance between work and their personal life, consider offering the option to telecommute at least partially. Through telecommuting, your employees may feel less stressed and more productive overall. Rather than focusing on making employees punch a time card and measuring their performance on how many hours they work, measure performance on the results that they produce.
Help Them Grow
When many employees feel as though they are not improving their skills or advancing their careers in some way, morale may drop. Some may even look for employment elsewhere, and this could decrease overall productivity even further. To keep morale high on a regular basis, encourage each employee to grow in their careers, and offer them educational opportunities and career advancement within your organization.
For example, you could offer massive open online courses, technology-based training, seminars or even foreign language courses. Then, recognize their new skills and knowledge by enhancing their responsibilities accordingly or even by offering a promotion. Employees who feel as though their careers are on an upward path may work harder for you and may be more satisfied with their current jobs.
Give Feedback and Acknowledgement
Some managers and business owners only offer negative feedback when a worker messes up in some way, but employees need to be rewarded and acknowledged when they do a good job as well. Positive comments may encourage employees to work harder and smarter, and this could boost morale and increase efficiency in the workplace.
There are many ways to acknowledge employees who work hard or who have made special contributions to the company. For example, you can take them to lunch or offer a gift card for a free lunch. You could also create an employee of the month award. The highest honor that tells employees that you are happy with their extra effort is a promotion or career advancement within your organization. When negative feedback is necessary, always provide it in private and in a constructive way.
Promote Team Spirit
Your employees should never feel isolated in their positions, and instead, they need to feel as though they are a part of a team. A team environment may generate positive attitudes and overall work efficiency. They also may be motivated to spend more time and energy on important work tasks.
There are many great ways to develop a team spirit within your organization, such as encouraging group volunteer work or planning a special team-building event. In some cases, recognizing team effort rather than individual effort is important to do.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Work should be something that employees are happy to do, and in order to encourage this, work needs to be mentally equated to fun in some way by each of your employees. While there is real work that needs to be done during the day, you can always plan special events to create a fun, happy atmosphere.
For example, you could institute casual Fridays or plan periodic office parties or happy hour get-togethers. Special teambuilding activities, such as paintball or a game night, could also be effective. Many of these activities can boost morale while also giving your employees a fun or relaxing way to get to know their co-workers and team members more fully.
Many factors come together to create a positive work environment and to boost employee morale. As you can see, daily efforts on your part can make a big difference in how your workers feel on the job each day. When morale is constantly high rather than bouncing back and forth at different levels, your workers may be happier to come to work and more motivated to accomplish the goals that you have set for them. Because high morale yields enhanced engagement and a boost in productivity, keeping morale high in your office should be an on-going endeavor.
By Jen McKenzie
About the author
Jen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words, business, education and cutting-edge. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie
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