When your organization suffers from poor morale, everything else suffers along with it. Organizations with low morale suffer from more absenteeism and poorer performance than those with the reverse. Gallup estimates that 22 million employees with low morale cost the U.S. economy over $350 billion annually. Still, your company might not have the resources to use the always popular monetary compensation to get things up and running right again. Regardless, you have a number of options for non-monetary ways to improve morale in the workplace.
One thing few managers think to ask disengaged employees is what they need to become engaged. Find out what motivates them and why they come to work every day, other than for just a paycheck. Ask what makes them proud at work.
One reason for employee disengagement is a lack of a sense of purpose. Talking to your employees and seeing what it is that drives them can help you get them engaged again. It's difficult or impossible to motivate others without knowing what motivates them personally.
Michelle Goodman, reporting for ABC News, talks about a company offering a simple, but effective perk. Employees put kudos into a fishbowl for their fellow employees. Every week, a name is drawn from the bowl. The winner gets to head home early on Friday afternoon. The difference in time is usually made up by staying a little late in the week leading up.
This costs the company next to nothing in payroll hours, but has made a big difference on employee morale. Find a little perk you can offer employees. Little things showing that you recognize their hard work go a long way.
No one likes the morning commute. Particularly when your business is in an area known for bad traffic, employees can arrive at work every day surly, agitated and not in the right head space to be fully engaged. Further, with gas prices constantly on the rise, commuting isn't cheap.
Giving your employees the option to telecommute -- even only on certain days -- lets them use the energy they spend fighting traffic in the morning on their work. Taking away that daily frustration can pay dividends for your company.
American Fence has a simple employee recognition program: When employees complete certain tasks or achievements, they are given a certificate. Employees display these certificates above their desks with pride. While a paycheck and fringe benefits get your employees out of bed, in their cars and in the office every day, appreciating what it is they actually do will keep them engaged.
Employee of the month (or week) programs might sound old fashioned, but if you invest time and energy into recognizing employee achievements, this will have a tangible effect on your organization.
- ABC News: Companies Find Cheap Ways to Boost Employee Morale
- Roberts Wesleyan College: The High Cost of Low Morale -- How to Address Low Morale in the Workplace through Servant Leadership
- Phoenix Business Journal: Boosters and Busters of Employee Morale
- Ragan.com: 10 Inexpensive Ways to Boost Employee Morale
Nicholas Pell began writing professionally in 1995. His features on arts, culture, personal finance and technology have appeared in publications such as "LA Weekly," Salon and Business Insider. Pell holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.