25 great tips on employee engagement – morale boosters

25 great tips on employee engagement – morale boosters

In difficult and tough economic times we still need to engage with our employees. While the big budgets may not be available any more there are lots of things that we can do which are effective.

The strategy for boosting employee morale – fast, is based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of five basic human needs. He arranged these needs in the shape of a pyramid with each level forming the foundation for the next level.

Maslow hierarchy of needs

Maslow hierarchy of needs

  1. Self-Actualization needs – realising personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
  2. Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.
  3. Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.
  4. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.
  5. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

Below are ten ideas to start your thinking. many of these are obvious, but they are good to have in your employee engagement and morale-building tool-kit:

  1. Praise people – look to “Catch People Doing it Right”, rather than trying to catch people out
  2. Welcome Ideas – employee morale improves when people feel they are valued. Share and implement their innovations and ideas
  3. Say thank-you. Even when there’s no money that changes hands, it can be extremely rewarding for an employee to know that his/her boss appreciate the work he/she is doing. Use the SMART approach – be specific about what you are thanking people for
  4. Write a letter or email of appreciation. This doesn’t have to be expensive or even on a greeting card that is bought from a shop
  5. Award a certificate of appreciation. The real value to the employee is in the realisation that their contribution is recognised and appreciated
  6. Take the employee to lunch or out for a cup of coffee. Simply spending time together with the opportunity to say thanks and to exchange ideas is valuable
  7. Buy a scratch-card or a lottery ticket (assuming doing so is compatible with everyone’s values) and give it along with a short note or card. Lottery tickets are fairly inexpensive, but can be fun and (in some instances) financially rewarding
  8. Bring in donuts (or a selection of fruit if you’re health-conscious) for your people
  9. Have a pot-luck breakfast or lunch. This is something that everyone can participate in and enjoy. The cost is manageable and it provides an opportunity for some enjoyable interaction
  10. Hold a silly contest. In an office context, for example, you could award a prize for the most cheerful office or around holiday time in December for the most brightly decorated office or office-space
  11. Give a new, interesting assignment. The key here is to make sure it’s something interesting to the employee. Sometimes all that’s needed to boost morale is a little bit of variety and a change of pace
  12. Do a short employee survey to find out what employees like and don’t like about their jobs – and take action (where possible and sensible) to minimise the dislikes
  13. Ensure that all senior managers spend a day on the ‘shop-floor’ or customer-facing once a month
  14. Have senior managers have lunch/ breaks with staff on a regular basis
  15. On hot days arrange for ice-creams or iced drinks to be provided
  16. Have senior people say ‘sorry’ publicly when something has gone wrong (I am sorry – not we are sorry – needs to be personal)
  17. Make time for fun. Incorporating some fun into your workday is a terrific morale booster
  18. Encourage peer recognition. “People like to be recognised personally by their peers”
  19. Encourage people to ‘decorate’ or personalise their working space – people perform better in comfortable surroundings
  20. If deadlines or targets have been met then let people go home early on a Friday (not every week – its supposed to be a reward not an expectation)
  21. Offer stress relief activities. Hire a local massage school to offer free 10-minute chair massages
  22. Help people feel valuable.  Talk with employees about the types of projects, training, or experiences they would like to have. Times may be difficult and tough for people to get jobs, but your best people are also the most marketable
  23. Celebrate peoples birthdays. Empower managers to ‘do something different’ for each person, help them feel special
  24. Measure It, keeping a watch on the levels of morale in your business/ organization/ firm by regularly measuring employee satisfaction
  25. Fire Staff. Sometimes the root cause of low employee morale can be an employee whose negativity brings down the team. Even a top performer can bring down staff behind your back (didn’t see this one coming… or  did you?)

Remember these are meant to be boosters – so the effects they will have are short term individually – but a culture of going the extra mile and doing the ‘little things’ builds engagement. These techniques work best when they are not done to a formula – this feels impersonal and will defeat the objective.

For information on RapidBI’s cost effective on-line (customisable) employee engagement and satisfaction survey - The EESS. Prices between just £19.99 & £1000 for a whole company!

Feel free to add your top morale booster tips as comments:

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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.

Comments

  1. 25 great tips on employee engagement – morale boosters ^nk

  2. Have a special jeans and Tshirt day, especially if the normal workwear is a uniform. This of course may not be practical if the work requires specialiced wear for OHAS reasons.

    I have also found that a special creativity award given for the best idea of the month which can be a simple certificate or as elaborate as use of the the CEO’s parking space for the month. This one was eagerly competed for!

    Michele Keighley AIPFM
    Training Manager
    Trischel

  3. 25 great tips on employee engagement – morale boosters

  4. Some good ideas in that list of 25 points, you’re so right about them being great boosters. What I like is the fact that you give some good ideas for doing things slightly differently.

    Ultimately the one that doesn’t get used enough is the simple “thank you”, and I like the way you point out the need to be specific – it’s vacuous noise.

    Nice blog.

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