In this article we’re going to take a look at 25 really easy ways you can improve team morale.
The workforce is currently dominated by millennials and generation X, but sadly they’re also the people that feel the most unappreciated and unfulfilled at work.
Just 68% of Gen X workers are happy with their jobs.
And 63% of millennials say they plan to look for a new job within the next year.
Your employees spend a lot of time at work and they deserve to be happy.
Plus, the happier they are, the better their work output is likely to be – it’s a win all around!
Let’s take a look at 25 easy ways you can start boosting team morale today…
1. Acknowledge a job well done
Let’s get the simplest one out of the way first.
If your employees do a good job, tell them!
Recognition can go an incredibly long way. And it’s an easy thing to give. All it takes is a thank you and a pat on the back.
37% of employees consider recognition most important for boosting their productivity levels and helping them feel engaged at work.
2. Be accommodating
Your employees give a lot of their time to your business. But they can’t give all their time. Asking people to stay late, overworking them, and disrupting schedules is a surefire way to cause morale to plummet.
Instead, be accommodating of people’s schedules. If you do need people to work late to finish an important project, then be understanding of their existing commitments.
For example, if an employee’s daughter has swimming lessons on Monday evenings – don’t ask them to work Monday evenings.
And this shouldn’t apply only to parents. If an employee has a Wednesday morning yoga class – don’t ask them to come in earlier on that day.
When you accommodate your team’s work-life balance, they feel more appreciated and are more likely to help out when they can.
3. Learn from each other
Learning and development is incredibly important to employees. According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.
A fun way to improve team morale and give your employees the opportunity to learn more is to put on regular sessions where employees can share their skills.
Employees from different teams can give presentations or demonstrations that teach others how to do their role.
Not only will this allow your team to learn from each other, it may also give them a deeper appreciation of each other’s roles.
4. Give compliments
Giving compliments is a quick and low effort way to have a positive impact on someone’s day. And it can also make you feel pretty good too!
Being on the receiving end of a genuine compliment has the power to activate the reward pathways in a person’s brain and this can also enhance their performance.
Try setting yourself a personal goal of giving out 3 compliments per day to your team – see how it impacts morale and also see if it improves your mood too.
5. Create fun competitions
We all understand the importance of work-related targets and goals, but setting fun goals can also be helpful for encouraging team participation and improving morale.
This can be as silly as “whoever makes the most cups of tea today can go home 15 minutes early” or a competition for the best Halloween costume.
But fun goals and competitions can also have more depth to them and work towards boosting team productivity (while encouraging everyone to have fun at the same time).
At our sister company Wyzowl, we implemented a “comment bingo” game in which team members competed to see who could check off the most positive words in their client messages over the course of a month.
This encouraged people to be more attentive to their clients and also sparked a little friendly competition in the team, creating a hot talking point and boosting morale in the process.
Giving your team a fun goal like this to work towards in the short term can be a really great way of injecting a little more excitement into everyone’s day.
6. Defuse confrontation early
While it’s nice to imagine a workplace where morale is high all of the time and everyone gets along perfectly, that’s not realistic.
Unfortunately, confrontations happen. It’s unavoidable.
However, you can deal with confrontations in a way that impacts morale less. The best way to do this is identify and resolve confrontations early.
Listen to the people involved, identify points of agreement and points of disagreement, and then develop a plan to resolve the issue promptly and thoroughly.
7. Live by your mission statement and values
A mission statement is a short statement about why your business exists and what your overall goal is. And your company values are the shared principles that drive everyone in your business towards that goal.
A mission statement and solid values are great for building the culture you desire for your business, and can even help you to hire the right people.
When everyone embodies your mission statement and abides by your values it’s easy to keep team morale high.
To keep values at the top of everyone’s mind, it can be a good idea to host a regular competition where you vote for who embodied each company value the most in a given time period.
8. Be flexible
One of the best ways to improve team morale is to let your employees know that you value their time. It’s common knowledge that most people spend a third of their life at work, a third sleeping, and the final third with family and friends.
Offering flexibility to your team will improve their work-life balance and can also give you an edge as an employer – it’s a benefit that can help you attract more talent.
9. Take feedback on board
To improve morale you need to know what reduces morale in the first place. The only way to do that is to ask your employees and give them the opportunity to offer feedback on the business.
This will then give you key insights into positive changes that you could implement to ensure you keep everyone happy and productive.
At Project.co, team members are regularly given the chance to submit anonymous feedback that is then discussed in a full team meeting. We call these meetings AAA (ask anyone anything). Here’s the anonymous form that employees can use to leave their feedback:
In addition to these regular opportunities for feedback, we also send out an end of year survey. This allows employees to drill deeper into what would make them happier at work and also allows the business to track any trends that may instantly improve morale across the board.
For example, if a large number of people mention the same issue then it quickly becomes clear that this should be resolved immediately.
10. Surprise people
Who doesn’t love a random act of kindness?
In addition to implementing business processes to improve morale, you can keep your employees on their toes by surprising them every now and then.
These surprises can be anything from bringing in a box of donuts on a Friday to letting people go home an hour early.
Thoughtful acts of kindness like these will show your team that you care and it gives them a positive story to tell their loved ones when they get home, deepening their appreciation for the business even further.
11. Acknowledge life events
It’s likely that you’ll see your employees through many times in their lives. Celebrations, such as marriages and births. But also difficult times, like illness and bereavement.
It’s important to be there for your employees during these times. Celebrate with them, but also show support when it’s needed.
This is easy to do by sending cards and/or gifts to them from everyone in the business, and also by mentioning life events in your newsletter (if you have one):
12. Just listen
When it comes to improving team morale, you don’t always need to change your business processes and implement new things.
The simple act of listening can improve morale because it makes people feel heard, safe to share their opinions, and also like they can make a positive difference in the workplace.
So, just listen. Let your team know that it’s always safe for them to come to you with issues. Take their feedback on board and then respond honestly and with empathy.
13. Offer training and progression
Training and progression gives your employees goals to work towards and also allows them to visualise a future with your business.
According to LinkedIn, 79% of millennials value receiving personalised course recommendations based on their career goals and skills gaps.
So, setting aside time for training can be a great morale booster. There are many online tools you can use to offer training and progression to your team. One such example is LinkedIn Learning.
There are thousands of courses to choose from across a variety of different sectors, subjects, and skills.
It’s easy to search for your chosen topic, and courses are broken down into bite sized chunks so that your team can continue their learning at a pace that suits them.
14. Have fun together regularly
The word ‘morale’ refers to the enthusiasm and/or spirit of a group at a particular time. One surefire way to boost enthusiasm and spirit: FUN.
We all know that work can’t be fun all the time, but if it can be fun some of the time then this will keep your team happy and give them activities and events to look forward to.
Fun activities can be things like team days out and parties. Here’s some of our team members at a recent trip to GoApe:
But of course, splurging out on activities and parties all the time is going to be a huge drain on your budget!
Luckily, there are many other (smaller) ways that your team can have fun together, such as:
- Movie nights (or movie long-lunches)
- Game tournaments (table tennis, Mario Kart, etc.)
- Secret Santa (or another gift giving activity)
- Trophies or a success bell (to signify a job well done)
Note: when planning fun activities, it’s important to consider everyone’s different personality types. Not everyone in your team will find the idea of ringing the success bell and having “all eyes on them” a fun activity. Don’t push anyone to do something they don’t want to as this can quickly have the opposite effect on morale.
15. Lead by example
It’s inevitable that you’re going to feel stressed or have off days at some point – we all do! And it can also be difficult to hide stress and frustration, or even tempting to share your woes (misery loves company, after all).
However, if you want to improve team morale then you need to lead by example. This means maintaining a good attitude, spreading positivity, and conquering tough projects and difficult periods with a smile on your face!
16. Create an open communication
According to Glassdoor, workplace transparency is incredibly valuable for businesses. It increases trust, improves morale, lowers job-related stress, and – considering it costs nothing – has an exceptional ROI!
Giving regular workplace updates can help your staff to feel more secure and in control. It makes sense. No one likes to be kept in the dark and your employees are adults – they can handle the truth, even if it’s a hard truth. If your business is going through a tough time then an open communication could actually encourage people to get stuck in and help out as much as they can.
This transparency should work two ways. Let your employees know that they can come to you with their thoughts, opinions, and feelings without fear of being laughed at or facing consequences of any kind. A “no stupid questions” approach can really help people feel comfortable and this can improve team morale.
17. Schedule regular 1-1s
In addition to fostering open communication, schedule regular chats to catch up with your employees on a one-to-one basis.
Not everyone will feel comfortable voicing their opinions in meetings or sending you an email out of the blue. By scheduling regular one-to-ones you give these people the opportunity to come to you with any issues or queries they may have.
A one-to-one can be an in-person meeting or a video chat, in which an employee has the opportunity to discuss anything that’s been on their mind with their direct manager. It also gives managers an opportunity to ask employees about how they’re handling their workload and what they are working towards for the future.
18. Involve the team in decision making
So, you have transparency. You have regular 1-1s. Next, it’s time to put those things into action.
If a team member has a great idea or thinks business operations can be improved by doing things differently, be brave enough to take those ideas on board and make changes in your business.
When people see that they can make a positive impact on the business and their decisions are being implemented, they feel more connected to the business, and this can be a huge booster for morale.
19. Don’t micromanage
Micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes (and sometimes even controls) their employees.
This style of management can increase stress levels among employees as it shows a lack of trust and also gives employees a reduced sense of freedom in the workplace. A disastrous recipe for team morale!
Show your employees that you trust them to use their initiative by giving them the freedom and responsibility to make decisions on their own. For more on this, check out our article: How to Manage Creatives – WITHOUT Stifling Them.
20. Evaluate your perks and bonuses
If team morale is low and you’re not sure why, perhaps it’s time to evaluate your perks and bonuses. And maybe implement some new ones.
According to Zofia Bajorek, senior research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies in Brighton, ‘people are beginning to see beyond “come and work in our jazzy office” or “fruit Fridays”.’
Employees are no longer dazzled by gimmicks. They want perks with substance. A report by MoreySmith found that employees now want office provisions like good-quality showers and bike racks.
To find out what your employees want, you can use Google Forms to send out a free survey. Creating a form from a blank template is quick, easy, and allows you to evaluate the most popular choices at a glance:
21. Bring your pet to work day!
According to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of U.S. households own a pet, with millennials being the largest pet-owning demographic.
Pets are part of the family and more workers are looking for jobs that either offer flexibility for pet owners or allow people to bring their pets into the office. A survey by Banfield Pet Hospital found that 1 in 3 millennials would actually consider leaving their job if their workplace was not pet friendly.
So allowing your team to bring their pets into work occasionally can be a huge perk. And, according to C Suite individuals who have implemented this, 28% think that pets keep workers calm during stressful work days and 23% agree that workers are more productive with their pet as a desk mate.
If you work from home, you can still implement a “bring your pet to work” day. You could organise an optional video call for your team where they can meet each other’s pets.
This will be sure to put everyone in a good mood and could give your team a little boost for the rest of the day!
22. Be charitable together
When we do good, we feel good. It’s a fact! According to Cleveland Clinic, health benefits associated with charitable giving include lower stress levels, increased self-esteem, and greater happiness and satisfaction.
Hosting a fundraising event is a wonderful way to boost morale while also doing your part for the community. It’s a win-win situation.
Even better, you can alternate the charities that you raise money for to allow everyone to choose a cause that is near and dear to their heart.
At Project.co, we love to participate in the Macmillan Coffee Morning for cancer support. Team members are invited to bake cakes and make donations.
At the end of the day, we all vote for the winning baker, who receives a trophy that they can keep until the next contest.
23. Workout together
There’s no getting around the fact that office jobs are stagnant. Workers spend the majority of the day sitting down and this can negatively impact people’s health and mood.
Creating opportunities for your staff to workout together and take fitness breaks can be a great way to boost morale and productivity.
According to EMD UK, workplace exercise can boost mental well-being by 12% and emotional stability by 26%.
And it’s not like you need to hire an instructor or spend thousands creating a state-of-the-art gym, there are lots of free resources online that can get your employees moving.
An example is the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. There are tons of videos all covering different topics and varying in length. Here’s a great one for office workers:
24. Eat lunch together
For many, the lunch hour is a sad affair usually spent alone in front of their desk, aimlessly scrolling online or checking emails. According to a study by Bupa, 71% of workers don’t take a proper lunch break.
Instead, they eat at their desk and respond to calls or emails. Even more concerning, 28% of workers admitted that they never take any kind of breather throughout the working day.
This is worrying because missing a lunch break is bad for morale and people’s health. The same study found that 40% of workers who don’t have a proper lunch are less productive, and 30% feel physically ill from the lack of a break.
An easy way to solve this is to implement regular team lunches into your business. These can be paid-for events that encourage everyone to order a nice meal and sit together to enjoy it in each other’s company.
Human beings are a social species, so eating as a group can have many positive benefits including reduced depression and improved self-esteem.
25. Let employees create their own rewards
If you run competitions and contests, or give out rewards for accomplishments, you can make it more exciting by letting employees choose their own rewards.
This way, everyone is working for something they really want and so they’re likely to be more focused on the task at hand.
You could make a list of rewards, for example, a gift voucher, a day’s holiday, or a long lunch, and let the winner choose their favourite.
Improving team morale is so important. When your employees are happier, they’re also more productive!
Hopefully the 25 methods outlined here will be easy to implement into your business.
Another thing that can improve morale is simply giving your employees the tools they need to be successful.