Most of us begin the new year with the best intentions, creating a handful of resolutions that we target in the first months of the year. What have you done so far to work toward your goals?

It’s already February, and as an HR leader, you should evaluate your employee morale to ensure 2020 is your best year yet. So, what can you do to transform your employee morale this year? First, let’s start with the basics.

What is employee morale?

Employee morale can be defined as the overall outlook, and satisfaction workers have in the workplace. Once employee morale is high, one’s performance and productivity improve. 

On the other hand, if there’s low employee morale, employees often lack motivation and just force themselves to work. In the long run, this leads to conflict, subpar performance, and loss of revenue.

Why is employee morale important?

Over the last few years, most companies have come to consider employee morale as an important factor.

In fact, you should never underestimate its importance when it comes to building a successful business. Employee morale has a direct impact on the wellbeing of your employees, as well as their performance and quality of work. 

Workers with high morale are more productive, deliver better results, and stay longer in the company. If your organization undergoes a crisis, they’ll work hard to make it thrive and achieve its goals. 

It also leads to lower turnover rates and attracts top talent. People would want to work for organizations that invest in their employees.

9 Ways to Improve Your Employee Morale

If you want to reinvigorate your employee morale, you need to take some steps to change your work environment. Here are nine ways to help improve your employee’s working environment.

1. Cultivate Interpersonal Relationships

Strong interpersonal relationships between coworkers will not only make the workplace more pleasant, but lead to better higher satisfaction and engagement as well. 

That’s why you should focus on providing a positive work environment that encourages everyone to interact and have open communication.

Create a lounge area where your employees can socialize and get to know more about each other. You can also organize team-building activities and company picnics.

Once you build stronger teams within your company, you will create a strong support system among your employees, strengthening the culture of your company.

2. Establish a Retirement Plan

Employees need to know whether or not they will have financial stability, which affects their morale at work. Establishing a retirement plan for your workers helps reduce employee turnover because your employees know your company is invested in their future. Additionally, it provides peace-of-mind for employees, which transforms your culture from one of tension to one comprised of motivated, driven individuals who are invested in your business for the long-haul.

With the help of your auditor and accountant, regularly evaluate the current financial situation of your company. Then, calculate various age pension rates to see what you could provide for your employees’ stability in the future. 

It’s crucial that you decide on a financial plan that suits both your company’s budget and meets the needs of your employees. We suggest that HR teams align with your Finance team every quarter to ensure you’re meeting all needs.

3. Let Employees Be Autonomous

Every great leader knows when to step back and let their employees handle more responsibilities.

When you entrust your workers with more demanding tasks and let them make their own decisions, you’re showing that you trust them and that they’re an important part of the team. 

If you don’t regularly give them challenges or tasks to take on, you’re giving the message that you don’t trust their abilities enough, which can be discouraging on their part. 

You should also give your employees autonomy. Employees who have more autonomy are more likely to provide creative ideas and more innovative solutions to your key business challenges.

4. Redecorate Your Office

Do you have a dimly lit office with a monochromatic tone? This might have a significant effect on your employees’ collaboration, the flow of communication, and creativity. 

Both lighting and colors tend to elicit certain responses. So, for your office design, opt for a balance of cool and warm tones.

Cool tones have a calming effect, but to prevent your space from feeling too icy, try incorporating warmer hues through accent walls and office furniture. 

Moreover, ensure that you equip your office with adequate lighting and make it look natural as much as possible to reduce eye strain, headaches, and improve productivity. Fluorescent lights are directly linked to a decrease in employee productivity, so ensure the lighting in your office is up-to-par.

For a quick fix to improve your office environment, try bringing in some plants. They help bring moisture to the air, reduce stress, and improve the air quality in the workplace. Make sure your office is immaculately cleaned as well to avoid seasonal office sickness that could impede your employees’ productivity.

5. Incorporate Sustainability

The term “going green” won’t only benefit the environment — it can also help you save on operational costs.

Using styrofoam cups, unnecessary color printing, and food waste are common unsustainable practices. These are easy habits to change if you want to promote sustainability in the office. 

There are hundreds of great ways where you can reduce your office waste. At the end of the day, make sure that everyone turns off machines and equipment to conserve energy. Use energy-efficient light bulbs in the office, and ensure your office has a recycling and composting bin. Replace those styrofoam cups with paper cups and see your sustainability rise and your operational costs reduce.

6. Take on a Charitable Initiative

Giving back is not only good for your company, but it’s also good for the soul. Feed your employees’ spirits by providing opportunities for them to engage in charitable work.

You can start by letting them serve in communities that your company supports. Encourage them to donate to charity, organize company volunteer days, offer paid time off for service work, and so on. 

By providing your employees with various pathways to service, you don’t just add to your community. You also help boost company morale and provide leadership opportunities for your team members.

As an added bonus, it will create a lot of goodwill for your company.

7. Recognize Hard Work

Career advancement opportunities and competitive salaries are all important if you want to attract and maintain the top talent in your industry. 

Your employees are your company’s most important asset. If you don’t make them feel valued, then don’t be surprised if one day, they’ll quit. Recognizing their efforts, maintaining a strong line of communication, and staying transparent with them are some of the ways to make your workers happy, and keeping turnover rates low. 

8. Reward Top Performers

Your employees aren’t simply resources for your company. They’re integral in your company’s success, no matter what role they play. You need to empower and encourage your team to work hard.

Nothing is more discouraging for an employee than an employer not appreciating their effort or ignoring all their hard work and diligence. Without employee rewards, you risk losing your employees’ interest, leading to poor job performance and satisfaction. Take the time to acknowledge good performance.

You can start by creating a reward system for great job performance. From paid time off and monetary bonuses to gifts and free dinners, there are plenty of ways to show your employees that you recognize all the hard work they do. 

By rewarding and recognizing employees for their efforts, they’d be encouraged to do their best every single time.

9. Offer Flexibility

Company culture has evolved over the years, yet there are still some companies that refuse to adapt. Some companies look at their people as expendable resources and expect them to work at their desks all day long. These organizations tend to have high turnover and spend millions on recruiting and employee onboarding.

This is a problem, especially for millennial employees that value flexibility. People who have more flexible working hours experience greater productivity, simply because they have more time in their hands to do other important tasks. In fact, according to a Zenefits study, 78 percent of employees say that flexible work arrangements made them more productive. 

Remote work and working from home is becoming more common, and not offering these options is detrimental to your employee retention. Offer greater flexibility in the workplace by introducing flexible working hours, remote work options, and work from home options.

Over to You

This year might be the one to change your company culture by incorporating these tips.

Keep in mind that there’s no finish line. Improving employee morale takes time, and as your company evolves, you need to incorporate these necessary changes.

Raymond Chiu is the Director of Operations for Maid Sailors Office Cleaning Service NYC. Maid Sailors provide a wide range of cost-effective, yet high-quality office cleaning services that are sure to delight their customers.