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The 9 Best Employee Morale Boosters That Really Work

7 min read   |  
Last Updated on

Everybody has got their good and bad days- including your employees. Chances are, they just need a bit of motivation and a nudge to reorient themselves. That's precisely where morale boosters come into place.

For your employees to do their job well, it's crucial to keep them happy and engaged.

Gallup found in a survey that low morale costs companies almost between $483 – $605 billion each year in lost productivity.

Scary, isn’t it?

Low morale is a prime reason for high turnover, low productivity, and higher absenteeism rates in a company. So, companies can’t afford to blindside the topic of low employee morale for too long.

To make the job easier for you, here is our compilation of 9 great tips to boost morale and increase your business productivity in the long run.

9 Employee Morale Boosters That Won’t Break The Bank

1. Bring back the laidback lunch breaks

Boosting morale can be difficult, especially when 20% of employees skip lunch because they're worried their bosses will think less of them. This in itself is a recipe for disaster.

Without proper nutrition, it is likely employees feel more cranky and stressed. Subsequently, from the lack of lunch breaks, productivity and mental well-being also begins to suffer.

Ultimately employee burnout is bound to occur.

Managers should encourage their teams to take regular lunch breaks or even short breaks throughout the day. It might be for a short walk, coffee breaks, or simply stepping away from their desks for a while.

2. Paid Birthday Leaves

No one deserves to work through their birthday and getting swamped by the usual stress.

Even if your employees love their co-workers, there are people they instead are cutting the birthday cake with. Getting to relax with your friends and family on your birthday feels overwhelming good.

By encouraging employees to celebrate, you're showing that you care about them on a level deeper than their work output.

Plus, giving employees their birthdays off (and paying them for it!) shows how much you actually care. It makes them much happier, and happy employees are 12-20 percent more productive.

A single day off will not magically decrease the everyday work stress. But it will undoubtedly give them a little "me" time to relax and come back more engaged.

Some Great Tips To Remember:

  • Your employees might not come in during their birthdays but be sure to send them a quick birthday email. It will help reinstate that the company cares about its employees.
  • Show your employees some more love by giving them a birthday gift. Gift cards seem to be a popular and convenient option for many.

3. “Failure” Day Of The Week

Every employee fails or experiences some sort of setback on their day-to-day workdays.

The problem is everyone feels they are the only ones. This, in turn, creates a culture where employees are afraid to be more creative and innovative.

An unlikely way to boost morale is to set aside a day of the week for the team members to discuss their day-to-day failures.

When a team shares their shortcomings with their team members, it shifts the way people think about their own failures.

Additionally, it is an excellent team-building activity to build relationships among team members and collectively boost team morale.

Some Great Tips To Remember:

  • Employees feel better when their supervisors are open and communicative. Be sure to share your own difficulties and setbacks. It's a sure-shot way to build relationships and increase employee morale.

4. Break Room

A great break room is an incredible morale booster to reinforce your employee engagement efforts.

It will be the space to build relationships that matter. Day-to-day stress is relieved, and people feel free to connect with each other.

Here are some great tips to make your break room seem even more inviting:

  • Good coffee is a great mood booster and energizer. Having a coffee machine in the break room is a great initiative.
  • Invest in some warm colors and lights to elevate mood.
  • Some big comfortable chairs, rugs, and tables can make a huge difference.
  • Placing some indoor plants around has numerous benefits, including improving the air quality, boosting overall morale, and also helping to build a more focused environment.

5. Encourage Employees To Pursue Side Projects

To boost morale, start with side projects.

It’s easy to think that a side project will interfere with an employee’s productivity. On the contrary, side projects help to avoid burnout which ultimately results in greater productivity and output.

Here is an impressive bit of tidbit:

Gmail, Google Maps, Twitter, Slack, and Unsplash all started as being a side-project.

In fact, Stack Overflow’s 2019 survey of over 88,000 developers found more than 80% of them have side projects.

When you allow people to follow their passion, they tend to be more engaged.

Side projects allow employees to have better control over the decisions taken. This invigorates them to be more creative.

This, in turn, helps release stress, facilitates personal development, be more confident, and has a more positive outlook towards their daily workday.

Some Great Tips To Remember:

  • Set some boundaries. The side projects should be just that- a side project. It should never interfere with the usual office tasks. You can start by setting aside an hour for employees to work on their pet projects.
  • Keep track of the ongoing side projects. You never know what might become helpful in the future.
  • Encourage new innovations by organizing competitions such as hackathons and show-and-tells. This ensures that the hidden genius in your office emerges from their nest.

6. Recognition Actually Works

There isn't any such thing as "too much recognition."

Rewarding employees for stellar performance is typical. But it is essential to recognize that simply making an effort is the sign of a great employee.

According to a Glassdoor appreciation survey, 53% of employees stay at their jobs longer if they get appreciation from their boss. Subsequently, 76% of employees in a Psychology Today study identified peer praise as highly motivating.

Something remarkable happens when an employee gets recognized. Employees feel more valued and appreciated. Additionally, it builds a sense of trust for the company- and for you.

Some Great Tips To Remember:

  • Private recognition is good. But public recognition still remains one of the most effective ways to boost morale. Public recognition among their peers( such as in social media) makes an employee feel valued and appreciated. Subsequently, it creates an environment of positive peer pressure to do better.
  • Make recognition more meaningful by giving suitable rewards: bonuses, gift cards, or after-work dinners. Rewards make a lasting impression and help to retain your top talents.
  • Provide future personal development opportunities like e-learning or further training. It ensures that the employee gets to hone their skills, which benefits your company as a whole.

7. Ask For Effective Feedback

A positive boss-employee relationship still remains one of the most important factors for employee morale. What is better than to reinforce it by asking for regular feedback.

A feedback culture is where employees have a say in how things are run in the organization.

Regular feedback promotes an environment of openness and transparency. You can increase employee morale, build a better company, and improve job performance without breaking the bank.

For example, Google uses a survey called the "gDNA initiative" to gather feedback from employees about company issues. Then it recruits volunteer groups to tackle and solve the company's biggest problems.

Some Great Tips To Remember:

  • A survey program is the best way to best utilize the given feedback. Subsequently, it's a great tool to measure the level of employee engagement in your organization.
  • Considering that half of the workforce consists of millennials, social media is another great medium to collect feedback. Polls on Facebook and Instagram are a great way to engage your millennial employees.
  • Your employees might have a fear of speaking up against you. This results in feedback that isn't necessarily honest. Change this perception by encouraging all types of constructive feedback, no matter the source.

8. Offer Sabbaticals

Offering sabbaticals is one of the underused perks to keep employees happy. Sabbaticals provide the much-needed rest and rejuvenation that an employee needs to prevent stress and ultimately breakdown.

Companies like Intel, Adobe, and The Cheesecake Factory effectively use sabbaticals to boost morale and increase employee engagement levels.

Based on their service time, an employee deserves some time off to pursue their passions or simply spend time with their family.

This kind of extended leave ensures that employees don't leave your organization because burnout occurred or because they felt unmotivated to work at the organization.

9. Team Building Activities

Team building activities are diverse, fun, and fantastic for the team members to bond without the pressure of the roles.

Team building activities also help build relationships, boost team bonding and morale, and support more productive teams.

Here are some incredibly easy to conduct team building activities that won't break the bank:

The Trust Fall: It is one of the most classic teamwork games when an individual falls back and has to "trust" that the other team members will catch him or her. This game helps to build trust among the team members along with lots of laughter and fun.

Scavenger Hunts: Scavenger hunts are fun, engaging, and act as an excellent exercise. Create a theme for the search and then leave clues that lead to the next clue until the final clue is reached and can be answered. This game builds camaraderie, helps break up cliques. Additionally, it improves strategic and creative thinking.

Charades: This is a competitive activity that is perfect for playing between two teams. One member of the team is given a card with a prompt by the rival team. That person has to act out the prompt or draw it while the other team members have 3 minutes to guess. The team that guesses correctly the most number of times wins.


Do you have any great tips which helped you to motivate your employees? If so, please send us an email. We would be delighted to include your suggestions on this list.

This article is written by Barasha Medhi who is a part of the marketing team at Vantage Circle. Barasha can be found either searching for interesting HR, company culture, and corporate buzzwords to write about or looking at pictures of cozy Bel Air mansions. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com.

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