As a company goes through its natural ups and downs, employee morale will change over time. That’s normal! But if left unchecked, 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 great company culture. We use tools like OfficeVibe to continuously monitor our company, 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

People want to work for companies because they believe in their mission and the kind of work they get to do. It’s an essential part of hiring and helps your company stand out.  At HealthJoy, our mission is to help employees make better healthcare decisions. 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 everyday 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.

Give praise

The phrase “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” is true with morale as well. It’s important to give negative feedback to an employee, but you 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 good job for 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. It doesn’t matter what you do but 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. It’s important that people grow bonds outside of work.

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. HealthJoy has been growing quickly – we’re doubling our headcount this 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 smaller accomplishments, you’ll diminish the motivation you need to keep in the right path. We grew our member base last year by 600% and 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 like that. 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 lives that we celebrate. Khem Khoeun was the first Cambodian-American woman elected to public office in the United States when she became a Skokie Park commissioner. The entire office went to her swearing ceremony to celebrate her win.

Volunteer

We help our members every day with their healthcare, but that doesn’t prevent us from volunteering as a team for great causes. It’s a good team building activity and increases collaboration. Next month, HealthJoy is volunteering atUrban Initiatives, a great program that helps empower Chicago’s youth to become community leaders. Researchers have also noticed that Millennials are extremely 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 behavior continues, sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and get rid of them. Getting rid of a bad apple will instantly improve employee morale.

Vacation days

WIth the constant influx of emails, deadlines, and work, it’s easy to get stressed from work. Some level of stress is healthy, but continuous pressure can be a health issue. Studies have shown that taking a vacation reduces stress, increases immune function and increases productivity. People are also more creative after a vacation. 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 come the new year, a large percentage of our client’s launch. This leads our Customer Success team to working long hours under lots of stress. We make sure that quickly after the madness, everyone take a few days off and disconnect. It’s vital to both their short- and long-term health and happiness.

Promote a healthy lifestyle

When we launched OfficeVibe at the office, 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. 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 things positive.

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