You’ve worked hard to onboard a team of rockstars, who give each day their all. Recently, however, an obstacle has come along that’s changed the overall mood at work. Maybe there’s been a change in leadership. Or the company is experiencing cutbacks, which may result in layoffs.
In times of adversity, employee morale can often take the hardest hit. Employers aren’t solely responsible for their employees’ workplace happiness. That’s something that each individual has to define and seek out for him or herself. But there are steps that leadership and managers can take to help boost it.
Here are five of them:
- Find a balance between ease and challenge. Establish a balance between allowing employees to work within their comfort zones and helping them stretch beyond it. Maybe that means 75 percent of their projects fall within their wheelhouse, while the other 25 percent requires them to try something new. It can help build their confidence and improve employee morale.
- Focus on work ethic, not on hours worked. Employers often praise employees who come in early and stay late. That can set the precedent that employees need to work long hours to be successful. However, an employee who leaves on time each day may actually be accomplishing just as much as one who stays late, by working more efficiently. “Bragging about the work ethic of your team is a great thing, but not about the amount of hours they work,” says Toni Best, ADURO’s Chief Human Performance Officer.
- Recognize when the extra work isn’t worth it. Some employees are perfectionists by nature. That may cause them to go overboard on projects, doing more than what is required. Managers can help to eliminate unnecessary steps — and employee stress — by defining the “nice to haves” and the “need to haves” for reoccurring projects.
- Remind employees that the race is only against themselves. “One of the things that can affect a person’s morale is how much time they spend comparing themselves to other people,” says Best. Instead, she encourages managers to help employees stay focused on their own goals, milestones, and growth.
- Encourage breaks. Taking breaks at work can actually help to increase work performance, according to Psychology Today. It restores your energy and ability to focus, like recharging a battery. So send out a grumpy cat meme, have coffee with a coworker, or schedule a walking meeting. It’s good for employee morale — and for the company.