How to keep up workplace morale in 2021
A new survey reveals employee morale is at an all-time low. As we follow the roadmap out of lockdown, how can you flip the script and create a positive attitude in your team as we look forward to the future?
It’s no news to us that high morale leads to increased productivity, lower staff turnover, and a better working environment for all. But in recent times, your employees have had to navigate healthcare concerns, lower job security, and the difficulties of a changing work environment. All of this takes its toll on morale and optimism in the workplace.
In fact, according to a survey of 2,278 HR professionals, 65% of employers say maintaining employee morale has been a problem during COVID-19.
Here are some effective ways that you can make a positive work environment for your team in 2021.
Prioritise health and safety
Concerns about catching and spreading Covid-19 are of course one of the biggest factors affecting morale this year. Your employees may have many questions about what working will be like now that UK lockdown is lifting. By putting safety measures in place, you can reassure your staff that you are taking their safety seriously and actively working to minimise the risk of spreading infection.
This could include providing PPE, enforcing social distancing and setting up delayed start and finish times to reduce touchpoints. Also, make sure your sick leave policy is up-to-date and covers areas related to Covid-19, such as self-isolating.
If you need any additional support with your health and safety, check out our health & safety services brochure.
With nearly 50% of people working from home in isolation (as opposed to just 5% pre-pandemic), employees may be feeling disconnected from their company and not necessarily acknowledged for their hard work or successes. Recognition is a very simple but effective way to show employees that you notice – and more importantly, care – about what they do day-to-day, which is hugely motivating.
But how to recognise your employees? Here are three simple ways to introduce it:
- Shout-outs on your workforce platform e.g. Microsoft Teams. An easy way to give kudos to colleagues is to have a company-wide noticeboard (real or digital) dedicated to informal praise and thank-yous to those who have done a great job.
- Awards. Monthly and annual awards for best performers are a great way to bring recognition into your business in a consistent, organised way. Employees who have worked hard can look forward to it, and perhaps you can tie this into a prize or benefit to make it even more appealing to aspire towards.
- Sharing positive reviews. If your business is listed on a review platform like Trustpilot, then make sure to share the success stories from there, and notify any employee mentioned in the review.
Provide stress relief with an employee assistance programme
A happy mind is a happy employee. In the last year, employees have been open to many new stressors that may be impacting their mental health and productivity. Having a safe space to talk about this can be a source of comfort and relief, and mean your employees feel more optimistic about times ahead.
An employee assistance program (EAP) is essentially a listening service that helps employees work through any issues causing stress or impacting their mental health, both at home or at work. Finding a suitable EAP scheme can be hard, download our Employee Assistance Programme brochure to see how we can help.
Boost your employee benefits
With everything going on right now, who can refuse a perk? Employee benefits build goodwill between you and your employees, and can support their hobbies. Whether it’s health, wellbeing, finances or highstreet bargains, employee benefits are tax free savings for both of you and your employees.
Perhaps now is the right time to take a closer look at what you offer your employees and make sure there is something that appeals to everyone. Organising quarterly socials, providing discounts to popular brands, and enrolling your staff in schemes to help save money, get fitter or look after their health are all fantastic investments.
Build career growth
Time to climb that ladder! When an employee does the same job day-in, day-out, with no room to learn, grow or rise in the ranks, they can become demotivated. Left unchecked, you might find stagnating employees looking for jobs elsewhere that offer more challenge. That’s why building clear, aspirational career paths for your team is important to maintain morale.
Ask yourself, do your employees know:
- What other opportunities are available at your business?
- Where there is to go from their current role?
- What your expectations are of them / what are their KPIs?
- What should they be learning about right now?
- What successes or experience do they need in order to get promoted?
If any of these are unclear to your staff, career goals may seem unattainable and their attitude might suffer as a result.
Listen and grow
The pandemic has forced a lot of processes to change, and you might have had to move fast when it came to decision making. If your employees are isolated from decisions and new directions, they may feel less “part of the team” and therefore less in-line with your company ambitions.
Therefore, managers and leaders in your business must stay vigilant in inviting and processing feedback to make sure employees are heard.
Ways that you can collect feedback include:
- One to ones with line managers. Managers can use regular catch-ups to temperature check how their team is feeling, and if there are any improvements that could be actioned.
- Company-wide surveys. For example, anonymous annual feedback surveys can let you get a birds-eye view of the situation across all teams.
- Focus groups or round tables. Try mixing a group of people from different departments and asking them how they think the business as a whole is doing and how it can be improved.
When asking for feedback, don’t forget to communicate back how you’re going to address the issues raised, and most importantly, do those things!
A calm culture
Yes, being busy is great for a while, but pedal to the metal all the time leads to burnout. Providing a calm workplace with a healthy work/life balance will reduce stress for everyone, meaning your employees will be less likely to take time off due to stress or even quit entirely.
Breaks are also really important to improve creative thinking. Encourage employees to take a few minutes every hour to pop the kettle on or have a stretch to stay refreshed and energised.
At the end of the day, maintaining employee morale is low cost and high impact for your business. We hope this article shed some light on some easy ways that you can encourage a positive relationship for your employees.
If you’d like to delve into this topic further, read up on the secret to delivering a great employee experience. You might also want to find out how to manage stress at work.