Updated: The coronavirus pandemic is challenging companies like never before. We know employees are struggling, too. Many of us are working remotely, under challenging conditions, or simply worried about our future. So, it felt like the right time to once more share our post on boosting morale. Learn more about how HealthJoy is responding to the coronavirus.
As a company goes through its natural ups and downs, employee morale will change. That’s normal! If left unchecked, though, negative morale can have a long-term, detrimental effect on your company. Getting a pulse on your employees’ morale on an ongoing basis is extremely important to ensure a strong company culture. We use tools like OfficeVibe and 15Five to continuously monitor our company morale, identify issues, find areas of improvement, and add hard data to the process. Over the last five years, we’ve used ten methods to increase employee satisfaction and boost morale.
Have a great mission
Employees are attracted to companies because they believe in their mission and the kind of work they’ll get to do. A great mission is an essential part of hiring and helps your company stand out. At HealthJoy, our mission is to simplify the healthcare and benefits experience. We help people save time and money, and we’ve even saved a couple of lives along the way. It’s a mission that our employees are passionate about, and we remind them of the importance of their work every day by sharing success stories. Almost every company has a purpose other than just making money and giving people a paycheck. Make sure to highlight your mission and talk about it often with your employees.
The phrase “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” is accurate when it comes to morale, as well. It’s important to give negative feedback to an employee, but you also need to make sure to give praise where praise is due. Even if it’s “someone job,” people want to hear praise for a job well done. Be specific and sincere. Highlight the less obvious; it’s easy to tell the office manager they did an excellent job by getting the office lunch. It’s less common to praise them for going all “Container Store” on your marketing material and making you feel like Marie Kondo came for a visit (thanks Mallory!).
Have fun together
It’s easy to get stuck in professional “work mode” when you have a ton to do, but having fun in the office is a great morale booster. It also allows you to see other team members in a different light. You can plan events or go for a last-minute happy hour. No matter what you do, just have a little fun! At HealthJoy, we do a happy hour twice a month. We’ve gone ax throwing, seen the Cubs play, played WhirlyBall, gone on off-sites on the lake, and much more. People need to be able to grow bonds outside of work.
*Note: Right now, social distancing guidelines mean we aren’t in offices or meeting for drinks. Maintaining high morale is more important than ever, though, so having fun together shouldn’t stop when your office closes. We’ve organized virtual happy hours with trivia and spelling bees, a virtual pasta-making class, and a virtual spirit week. It’s still possible to laugh together from home!
Step up when needed
If you want to boost employee morale, stick up for your employees. If you have an angry client on the phone, take the call instead of leaving it to the entry-level employee. Have a client that everyone hates? Fire them! It might seem drastic, but put your people first. At HealthJoy, I’ve seen the CEO use a toilet plunger. No one is “too important” to do the smallest jobs. Everyone at our company will do anything to help our clients have the best healthcare experience possible.
Let them vent
Sometimes, an employee only wants to be heard. Ask for feedback, and do it often. Don’t just expect people to volunteer feedback; be proactive. You can use a free tool like SurveyMonkey to create surveys and get a pulse on what’s going on. We also use 15Five to get regular, structured feedback from employees and structure 1:1 meetings that open up space to ask what is or isn’t working. HealthJoy has been expanding rapidly – we doubled our headcount last year alone – so we can’t leave feedback to chance.
Celebrate the wins
Want to achieve your lofty company goals? Celebrate the small victories. Realize that big goals aren’t going to happen overnight. If you fail to celebrate the more modest accomplishments, you’ll diminish the motivation you need to stay on the right path. We’ve grown our member base by over 600% by celebrating every small win along the way.
Allow people to pursue passion projects
At many companies, your yearly goals are your only goals. Any work that strays from that goal can be viewed in a negative light, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Side projects can be a useful outlet for creative energy and allow employees to explore new tools and ideas. It can be projects that are done outside of the office or giving people time to explore a concept during work time. At HealthJoy, our employees have amazing interests that we celebrate. Our Customer Success Manager Michael Reynolds is an avid student of flags, and he hosts a Slack channel to share facts with our team. We love giving employees a way to share their interests with coworkers.
We help our members simplify their healthcare every day, and that helping spirit pushes us to volunteer in our community, as well. Volunteering builds teams and increases collaboration. We’ve volunteered as a team at Urban Initiatives, a great program that helps empower Chicago’s youth to become community leaders. We’ve also cooked a meal together at the Lincoln Park Community Center. Researchers have noticed that Millennials are very socially-aware and civic-minded, with 70% of this age group sharing their time with charitable causes. What’s not to like about giving back?
Get rid of a jerk
Have you ever had to deal with a toxic employee at the workplace? They usually decrease the productivity of others, demotivate other employees, and may even put your business at risk. Sometimes this behavior can be fixed by helping the individual understand the issues and putting in steps to remedy the situation. If the problems continue, sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and get rid of them. Getting rid of a bad apple will instantly improve employee morale.
With the constant influx of emails, deadlines, and work, it’s easy to get stressed by work. Some level of stress can be healthy, but continuous pressure will create health issues. Studies have shown that taking a vacation reduces stress, increases immune function, and increases productivity. People are also more creative after a holiday. Adding a generous vacation policy and encouraging people to use them is a great way to boost employee morale. At HealthJoy, we offer unlimited vacation days, but around the New Year; a large percentage of our clients are ready to launch. This leads our Customer Success team to work long hours under lots of stress. After the madness, we make sure everyone takes a few days off and disconnects. It’s vital to both their short- and long-term health and happiness.
Promote a healthy lifestyle
When we launched OfficeVibe at HealthJoy, one of the things that surprised us was our wellness scores. They were lower than we would have liked, so we made a change. We brought in treadmill and bike desks, increased access to healthy snacks, added more fish options to our weekly catered company lunches, and encouraged physical activity. While we’re remote, this remains a priority. We’ve scheduled breaks for yoga and meditation led virtually by local teachers. Our wellness scores have gone up, and we’ve heard lots of positive comments from our employees.
Track the pulse of employee morale
It takes constant work to maintain a dynamic company culture. Even small decisions can have unintended consequences for your employee morale. The only way to make sure you’re headed in the right direction is to track and continuously work on keeping positivity up. That’s more true now than ever!