How Employers Can Improve Employee Culture and Morale

Here are 8 tips to add positivity to your workplace and strengthen your company’s culture while facing today’s challenges.

two employees laughing
Ideas for boosting employee morale — such as being transparent, updating your benefits, and gathering feedback

With a global pandemic, an economic downtown that has meant layoffs and the like left and right, an uncertain educational future for kiddos, and a contentious election on the horizon, things have been … tough to say the least. This pervasive stress and anxiety can easily seep into the workplace and wreak havoc on company culture and morale.

It can seem like a daunting task during such stressful times, but it’s absolutely possible to strengthen company culture and boost employee morale while also staying true and honest to the challenges of the moment. Of course, every small business’s needs are different. As you review these suggestions, consider how to tweak and tailor them to make the most impact at your company.

Create and maintain growth and professional development

Employees are always concerned with opportunities for growth and development and today that’s more important than ever. Whether that’s hosting regular trainings on digital tools like Zoom that have become central in the pandemic’s remote work environment, or it’s updating how and when promotions will work in 2021, making sure that your employees have access to the tools and opportunities they need to grow in their positions and advance at your company still matters — a lot.

Making sure that your employees have access to the tools and opportunities they need to grow in their positions and advance at your company still matters — a lot.

Be open, honest, and transparent about company changes

Everything is unstable at best these days. You can’t eliminate that instability, but you can be sure to communicate openly, honestly, and frequently about your business’s status. Also, share what your company’s future looks like as it evolves. Knowledge is power; when people know as much as they can about what to expect, stress goes down and productivity can go up.

Make leadership (including yourself) available

In addition to companywide communication, it’s a good idea to make you and your leadership team more available to employees. Beyond the general company information they’ll be receiving, they’ll be able to check in ideally in a 1-on-1 manner with their bosses, managers, and others in leadership positions to address their individual concerns stemming from their individual challenges these days.

From kids learning remotely at home, to caring for loved ones who are sick, to managing money after salary cutbacks and the like, you can’t go wrong by creating as many ways for your employees to address their concerns as possible.

Give employees tools to succeed in today’s unique environment

Work has changed dramatically in a very short amount of time. Now that we’re a few months into what will likely be your small business’s new way of working, it’s a good time to take stock of what you can do to make this new reality work for your workers. Luckily this can be as simple as subscribing to or investing in communication apps like Connecteam or Slack that help to keep teams in touch at a distance.

Rounding up apps and tools that your employees might not be aware of can help to make sure they have access to the things they need to be successful.

If your small business isn’t in the position to make an investment right now (hey, no one can blame you), rounding up apps and tools that your employees might not be aware of can help to make sure they have access to the things they need to be successful as well. Think of apps like Asana and Trello that help organize tasks, to time trackers and the Pomodoro method for boosting productivity and minimizing procrastination in a distraction-filled environment like most people’s homes are.

Update your benefits to match the moment

Even gym rats are staying home these days and opting for virtual workouts instead. The stress of the time is probably leading more people to finally find a therapist for the first time. Financial stress might mean that your employees could benefit from financial services.

To the extent that you can, consider updating your health and wellness benefits to give employees what they really want. From making telehealth therapy available to finally integrating mental health days into your PTO policy, consider surveying your employees to uncover their needs and do what you can to meet them.

Consistently gather employee feedback

Gathering employee feedback is more important than ever when it comes to company culture and employee morale.
Speaking of employee surveys, gathering employee feedback is more important than ever when it comes to company culture and employee morale. You’ll only know what is and isn’t working for your people by asking them in one way or another.

You can:

  • Send out employee surveys
  • Offer 1-on-1 meetings with leadership
  • Have team ambassadors who are charged with communicating their group’s needs to management

Keep up with team building activities

Just because most people aren’t working in-person with their teams anymore doesn’t mean that team building activities have to disappear. There’s a reason that teams have taken to virtual happy hours and the like — they still want to connect with the people they work with, even at a distance. This is a good opportunity to get creative with team building activities. Trivia is easy to carry out at a distance as are a-sync activities like TV brackets. Consider having March Madness but for your team or company’s favorite TV shows instead!

Be generous with praise and recognition

One of the easiest ways to boost company culture and employee morale is being extra generous with praise and recognition. With all of today’s challenges, it’s important that your employees know that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

On the company culture side, ensure your leadership team is taking recognition and praise seriously and gives it out consistently. On the employee morale side, few things feel better that direct, companywide praise from the boss. As the leader of your company, consider implementing a modern version of the employee of the week program. This could take the form of adding individual or team recognition in a weekly company email or digging into your own pocket (if you can!) to spring for gift cards to show those who make your business run that they matter to you.

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