Skip to navigation
Photo of skydiver midair
6 Min Read

Improving Employee Morale & Engagement – 6 Simple Ways

Baili Bigham
Baili Bigham

Employee morale doesn’t simply translate into how happy your people are; it’s a direct reflection of how healthy your company culture is, how well you and other leaders are communicating with teams, and how effective your managers are.

High morale only occurs when employees feel taken care of by their company. And because this year has been filled with stressful distractions, ensuring your people are getting the support they need to bring their best selves to work each day is more important than ever. 

Here are six ways you can contribute to a thriving culture and continually boost employee morale all year long.

1. Encourage ongoing one-on-ones

One of the most powerful ways to improve employee morale is through frequent communication. In 15Five’s recent Workplace Report, we found that 82% of employees with at least weekly one-on-ones say they’re getting the support they need during the pandemic from their managers, compared to 66% of those with less frequent one-on-ones. But regularly keeping up with your teams and ensuring managers are doing the same with their direct reports can feel impossible without the right tools and day-to-day practices. 

Giving your people leaders a structure for having better one-on-ones will help them make the most of every meeting. They’ll spend less time catching up and more time at the heart of the conversation, which can lead to higher levels of trust, employee engagement, and productivity.

2. Give employees the tools to ask for feedback

Traditionally, the process of feedback has been led by managers as a means to help employees course correct and grow. But in reality, the best way to increase the free flow of feedback is by supporting people to seek it themselves. 

“Asking for feedback is a surprisingly powerful approach to self-development, especially when it’s part of basic performance management. It can even be considered a deliverable—the last step of a project. Regardless, requested feedback allows teams to demonstrate the care that everyone needs to feel engaged,” according to Gallup.

Helping people ask for feedback in moments when they need it most allows them to take the reigns of their development so that they can master new skills and correct certain behaviors in a fraction of the time. And nothing motivates people more than witnessing their own progress.

3. Train your managers to become better coaches

Teaching your managers to seek out the unique talents of their employees will foster an environment that builds on those attributes, which also helps businesses remain agile during challenging times. Managers can put this approach to practice by helping employees create job descriptions that align their passions with the company’s why. This naturally increases employee morale, engagement, and productivity. 

Effective managers don’t just push for high performance, they value helping people discover their natural talents and seek out opportunities to utilize those strengths. Not only does this tap into a deeper, more intrinsic type of motivation for employees, but it also allows managers to increase the capability of their teams.

4. Help your people develop–both personally and professionally

Setting your employees up for success in their role starts with giving them all the tools and resources they need to do their job well. This includes professional training. You can practice this from an employee’s first day and beyond by creating a knowledge base of critical information and best practices for new hires as you grow your team. 

For remote employees, they may not get the same opportunities to ask one-off questions at your desk, so creating a thorough training plan is especially important for getting them ramped up.

But remember, your employees don’t just exist in a professional capacity to serve your organization. For them to evolve both personally and professionally, employee development must be holistic. Help people lead more fulfilling lives by encouraging them to develop better soft skills, such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and communication. This will also prepare them for future leadership roles.

5. Show employees how much you appreciate them

Studies show that high performing teams are far more supportive and complimentary than low performing ones. And when leaders recognize the strengths and contributions of their people, they’re far more engaged, productive, and creative. 

What makes appreciation so powerful is that when it’s shared, it becomes contagious. By sending a quick thank you note or simply noticing someone’s hard work you can help boost employee morale almost instantly. Plus, regular recognition can alleviate some of the day-to-day tension that employees may be experiencing today.

6. Don’t forget to have fun

There are times to be serious and there are times when it just makes more sense to relax, laugh, and connect with your team. 

Find ways to bring more of your true self to work and look for ways to get to know your teams on a more personal level. When you bring more of your authentic self to the office, you become more relatable and approachable. And when you let your teams know that you’re a human being, not just a leader, you also communicate that you see them as more than just employees.

When your employees feel supported and encouraged to do their best work, they can do so with confidence. Take these tips and take the right course of action to keep employee morale high—all year long. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock