10 Strategies to Build Team Morale in the Workplace
Are you struggling to keep your employees motivated and engaged in the workplace? Are you facing high levels of absenteeism, poor performance, or high turnover rates? These are all signs of low employee morale, which can be detrimental to your organization's success. The good news is that building and maintaining high employee morale is possible with the right strategies in place. By investing in your employees' happiness and well-being, you can create a positive work environment that drives productivity and success.
Positive team morale can be the difference between a high-performing team and a team just going through the motions. It can create an environment fostering innovation, creativity, and collaboration, increasing productivity and employee satisfaction.
On the other hand, low team morale can have a domino effect, leading to decreased productivity, higher turnover rates, and even a toxic work environment. As a leader or manager, understanding the factors that influence team morale and implementing strategies to maintain a positive work environment is essential for the success of any organization.
Lack of employee engagement is one of the biggest factors in decreasing team morale. According to Gallup's recent State of the Workplace report, many employees are not fully engaged. Specifically, 85% of employees are either unengaged or actively disengaged.
This doesn’t mean disengaged workplaces are the only reason for diminishing employee morale. There are many other factors at play, too, some of which we will talk about later.
We will also delve deeper into the significance of team morale and provide some creative approaches for boosting it within your team or organization. But first, let’s start with the basics.
What is Team Morale?
Team morale refers to the overall mood, attitude, and satisfaction level of a group working together towards a common goal. It reflects the degree of motivation, engagement, and enthusiasm team members have for their work and being part of the team.
Positive team morale is characterized by camaraderie, mutual respect, and a willingness to collaborate and support one another. Conversely, low team morale can lead to feelings of disengagement, negativity, and even conflict. Understanding and maintaining positive team morale is crucial for building a cohesive and high-performing team. Studies have proved that higher team morale increases employee engagement which has a clear impression on productivity.
An ideal work environment fosters high morale regularly to motivate employees to go above and beyond. Low team morale is a reality in workplaces. Organizations go through times of low morale under various circumstances. Your real struggle as a manager is about what you can do to make a difference by genuinely impacting your team. Although employee satisfaction is hard to quantify, it must be measured before it becomes a problem.
Why is Team Morale Important?
Positive employee morale and engaged employees can increase profitability by 21%.
The statistics above tell us automatically how important team morale is in the workplace and to what lengths companies are ready to go to boost employee morale. Employee morale can significantly impact employees' productivity, job satisfaction, and retention rates.
So here are some reasons why employee morale is important:
High employee morale leads to increased productivity. When employees are happy and motivated, they are more likely to work harder and more efficiently, leading to better quality work and higher output.
Health and Well-being
High employee morale can lead to better physical and mental health for employees. When employees feel valued and supported, they are less likely to experience stress, burnout, or other health problems that can affect their performance at work.
Reduced Absenteeism and Turnover
A positive work environment with high morale can reduce absenteeism and turnover rates. When employees are happy and engaged in their work, they are more likely to show up to work and stay with the company for longer periods of time.
A company with high employee morale can have a positive reputation in the community and industry. This can attract top talent and customers who want to work for or do business with a company that values its employees.
A positive work environment with high morale can provide opportunities for leadership development. When employees feel supported and encouraged to grow and develop their skills, they are more likely to take on leadership roles and contribute to the company's success.
High employee morale can lead to higher employee engagement. Employees engaged in their work are more likely to be productive, innovative, and satisfied.
Factors Negatively Affecting Team Morale
How can a leader identify and tackle the factors that negatively impact team morale?
Low team morale can devastate productivity, employee satisfaction, and even the company's bottom line in any organization. Leaders and managers must identify and tackle the factors that negatively impact team morale to create a positive work environment.
- One of the most common factors is poor communication. When team members don't feel heard or valued, it can lead to frustration, lack of motivation, and even disengagement. Leaders can improve communication by creating an open-door policy, holding regular meetings, and actively listening to team members' feedback.
- Another factor is a lack of recognition or appreciation. Employees who feel like their hard work goes unnoticed may become demotivated and lose their sense of purpose. Leaders can combat this by recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions, providing professional growth and development opportunities, and celebrating team successes.
At Vantage Circle, we understand that a lack of recognition and appreciation can significantly impact employee morale and motivation. That's why we've designed our employee engagement platform to help leaders combat this issue and build a culture of recognition and appreciation within their organization.
With us, you can customize employee recognition and rewards programs to fit your organization's unique needs and ensure your employees feel valued and appreciated for their hard work.
- Another great way to improve employee morale is by introducing surveys that ensure employees are heard and acted upon. Vantage Pulse is one such tool that offers accurate eNPS-based surveys designed to help organizations collect employee feedback and insights and measure employee engagement levels.
The tool allows organizations to create and customize surveys based on their specific needs and objectives, with various question types and survey templates available, not to forget real-time insights and analytics.
- Introducing corporate wellness apps is another way to influence employee morale, as the whole team comes together for team challenges. It sets the tone for group challenges converging the various together. It promotes healthier lifestyle choices among employees and helps them adopt behaviors that can improve their physical and mental health.
Platforms like Vantage Fit offers gamification features that make wellness activities more engaging and fun, such as earning rewards or competing against colleagues. This can motivate employees to participate in their health and well-being actively.
Another factor that deters employee morale is workplace conflict. Tension or unresolved conflict within a team can create a toxic work environment that leads to low morale and decreased productivity. Leaders can address workplace conflict by fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity, providing conflict resolution training, and facilitating open and honest conversations.
Other factors that can negatively impact team morale include overwork, lack of work-life balance, and unclear expectations. By identifying and addressing these factors, leaders can create a positive work environment that fosters high team morale, productivity, and employee satisfaction.
How to Measure Employee Morale
Measuring employee morale is essential for understanding a team's engagement, satisfaction, and motivation. There are several ways to measure employee morale, including conducting surveys or assessments, analyzing employee turnover rates, tracking absenteeism and tardiness, and monitoring employee performance and productivity.
By consistently measuring employee morale, leaders can proactively address issues and maintain a positive work environment that fosters productivity, innovation, and success.
10 Strategies to Build Employee Morale in the Workplace
1. Acknowledge or Recognizing Hard Work
The efforts of your team must be appreciated. Let your staff know their hard work makes a difference even during a crisis. To encourage them to perform admirably, rewarding them for their support and extra efforts are significant.
During a recession, companies often decide to go for an operational cost-cutting. In those situations, they choose to discontinue team rewards and recognition programs.
According to HR experts, continuing such acknowledgment programs can inspire employees to remain active even through difficult times. The features and customizations available through these platforms offer the perfect opportunity for organizations to reward and recognize employees, thus increasing their significance in the organization. And let’s all just agree that who doesn’t like attention?
Let us understand this better with an example;
Assume you want to recognize the best team leader, or say, you want to recognize and call out the years of service for your oldest employees?
Wouldn’t you say it is better to rely on a platform that knows what to offer and when to offer, depending on your requirement. With Vantage Circle, you can continue your team rewards and recognition programs, ensuring your employees stay motivated and committed to the company's goals. It offers a plethora of innovative features like customization options, badges, advanced analytics, service awards, social recognition, to name a few.
In fact, our advanced AI-powered features make appreciating your team's efforts easier and more efficient. One of the delightful innovations among this is our AI-powered service yearbook has a predictive text that helps you craft better appreciation messages, making the process more efficient and seamless.
Recognition programs can be an effective tool for motivating and engaging employees in the workplace. When implemented effectively, these programs can help improve employee morale, increase job satisfaction, and reinforce the company's culture and values.
2. Organize Team Building Activities:
Organizing team-building activities can effectively boost team morale and foster a sense of unity among team members. Such activities range from simple icebreakers to more complex group challenges requiring collaboration and problem-solving skills. These activities help team members to get to know each other better, build trust and respect, and develop a deeper understanding of each other's strengths and weaknesses.
An incredible 2,500% more companies have adopted a virtual team-building approach since COVID-19 struck, team-building industry statistics suggest.
Team building activities come in many forms, such as icebreakers, trust exercises, problem-solving challenges, outdoor activities, and creative activities. They promote teamwork, communication, and collaboration among team members. The right activity depends on team needs and goals and can create a positive work environment where individuals feel valued and motivated to achieve common objectives.
Managers should remain worried about team emotions. During a positive change, employees remain confident without any trust issues. On the other hand, negative emotions can lead employees to feel mistrusted.
Let us understand the importance of this step with a unique example;
Tesla is one company that exhibits amazing team-building events where corporates come together to have fun and understand each other outside the professional walls. Its team building event, ‘Rent a Tesla’ in Zagreb, Croatia, focussed on bringing together the employee and teams to have fun behind the wheel of the latest Tesla while navigating the course being on the same page.
The event may involve a scenic drive or tour, with team members taking turns driving the Tesla and experiencing the car's unique features. Such activity can also promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainable practices among team members.
Thus, we can safely say by bringing people together in meaningful activities, team building generates a powerful synergy that unites diverse personalities and talents, creating a cohesive and high-performing team leading to an appreciative company culture.
3. Embrace Conflict Head-on
“It is not the presence of conflict that damages teams but a fear of conflict.”
- Patrick Lencioni
Facing conflicts head-on is vital for building strong team morale and achieving success. Avoiding or ignoring conflicts can lead to festering resentments, deteriorating communication, and a toxic work environment. On the other hand, confronting conflicts constructively and respectfully promotes transparency, mutual understanding, and trust among team members.
Most employees (60%) have not received conflict management training in the workplace. Still, those who have (95%) reported positive outcomes in navigating conflicts and achieving mutually beneficial solutions, as stated by CPP Inc. in 2008.
By addressing conflicts directly and proactively, teams can find mutually beneficial solutions, strengthen their relationships, and learn from each other's perspectives. This approach encourages employees to improve team morale and enhance productivity and creativity. So, when conflicts arise, don't shy away from them. Instead, face them head-on with open communication, active listening, and a willingness to collaborate toward a common goal.
Let’s see an innovative example of a mammoth company that made conflict resolution a buzzword in the industry.
Airbnb's has a very unconventional approach towards conflict resolution. The activity is called Elephant, Fish, and Vomit activity, has captured the attention of many. This activity asks team members to share an "elephant in the room" - a significant unaddressed issue. They then share a "fish in the room" - a minor issue bugging them. Finally, they reveal "vomit in the room" - something that has been bothering them for some time, and they want to get off their chest.
By doing this, team members can acknowledge and address any issues hindering their productivity and morale. This approach encourages transparency, empathy, and mutual understanding among team members, improving communication and stronger relationships.
4. Gather Employee Feedback:
Gathering employee feedback is critical in building a positive and motivated team culture. By regularly soliciting input from team members, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to employee satisfaction and well-being. This feedback can help identify areas for improvement, such as communication breakdowns or ineffective leadership, and foster a sense of ownership and empowerment among team members.
Companies that invest in regular employee feedback have 14.9% lower turnover rates than organizations where employees do not receive feedback.
Measuring employee feedback can be done through surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and feedback boxes. These methods can provide valuable insights into employee experiences and opinions, enabling organizations to identify areas for improvement and create a more positive and productive work environment.
By using Vantage Pulse's user-friendly platform, you can easily collect valuable insights from your team members, empowering them to share their thoughts and concerns in a safe and secure environment. These insights can help you identify areas of improvement and implement strategies to address them, ultimately leading to a more positive and productive team culture.
Let us see a glimpse of how this can be done,
Vantage Pulse's real-time analytics also enable you to respond to feedback quickly and effectively, showing your team members that you value their input and are committed to making positive changes.
5. Communication Will Go a Long Way
Effective communication is a powerful tool for building team morale and driving success. By creating a culture that values clear and open communication, organizations can establish trust and respect among team members, resulting in higher engagement and productivity.
When team members feel heard and valued, they are likelier to share ideas, collaborate effectively, and work towards a common goal. Effective communication can also help to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts, which can hurt team morale and productivity.
In a poll with 241 respondents, over half said their communication was either “lacking the ability to really engage” or “uninspiring”
Effective communication is not just about exchanging information; it's about understanding and connecting with your team members personally. By actively listening and responding to feedback, leaders can demonstrate that they value their team members' opinions and ideas, which can have a positive impact on team morale.
A good communication strategy can also help create a culture of accountability, where team members feel empowered to take ownership of their work and collaborate to achieve common goals. Considering the remote employees, too, clear communication goes a long way. Having a clear strategy will ultimately result in higher turnover, better morale, and a robust workforce.
An example of a company that got the internal comms right is Netflix.
In large companies, communication can often become convoluted and unmanageable. However, Netflix has solved this problem by adopting simple and effective internal communication best practices. Rather than relying on long and complicated email chains, the company primarily communicates through brief online memos.
This allows for quick and concise exchanges of information and questions, which can be easily stored and accessed for future reference. By streamlining communication, Netflix can maintain clear and efficient communication between board members and management, facilitating better decision-making and ultimately driving business success.
Thus, By making communication a top priority, organizations can create a workplace where everyone can thrive and contribute to the organization's overall success.
6. Encourage Innovation & Creativity:
Encouraging innovation and creativity is critical to building team morale and driving business success. In today's fast-paced and rapidly changing business landscape, organizations that fail to innovate risk being left behind by their competitors. That's why it's essential to create a work environment that values and rewards creativity, experimentation, and collaboration.
To foster innovation and creativity in the workplace, it's important to provide opportunities for brainstorming and idea-sharing. This can be done through regular team meetings, workshops, or online collaboration tools. Encouraging team members to share their ideas openly and without fear of judgment can lead to new insights and innovative solutions to old problems.
You can also provide access to the right tools and resources is critical for fostering innovation and creativity. Whether through training programs, access to technology, or funding for research and development, providing the necessary support can empower team members to pursue new ideas and approaches.
A great example of a company that encourages a thriving, innovative environment throughout is Microsoft. It encourages innovation through the Microsoft Garage initiative by providing employees with a space to experiment, collaborate, and bring their ideas to life. The Garage allows employees to work on projects outside of their regular job responsibilities, allowing them to explore new technologies and ideas that they may not have been able to pursue otherwise.
The Garage provides employees access to the latest technologies, including software, hardware, and equipment, and a supportive community of fellow innovators. This enables them to experiment with new ideas and technologies in a risk-free environment without the pressure to deliver a final product.
7. Develop Coaching Culture
A coaching culture is essential in building team morale as it enables employees to grow and develop professionally while receiving regular feedback and guidance. In such a culture, employees are encouraged to take ownership of their work and personal development, which leads to higher job satisfaction and engagement.
By providing regular coaching and feedback, employees can identify areas of improvement and work on developing new skills, which leads to a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work.
A coaching culture promotes accountability by setting clear expectations and goals for employees, creating a sense of responsibility among team members. This, in turn, can lead to increased productivity and performance as employees are motivated to achieve these objectives.
Let us take a quick example;
Schindler's approach to establishing a coaching structure is an excellent example of how investing in your people can positively impact the entire organization. The company's approach was simple yet effective – providing internal coaches to high-potential employees laid the foundation for a coaching culture that would spread throughout the organization. The key to this strategy was identifying the right people to become coaches and investing in their development.
By doing so, Schindler created a group of individuals who were not only knowledgeable about coaching but also passionate about it. These coaches then worked towards growing a coaching culture in their respective departments, sharing their knowledge and experience with their colleagues.
What's impressive about this approach is that it's a grassroots movement – it starts small but grows organically, spreading awareness towards coaching and its benefits. By empowering employees to take ownership of their personal and professional development, Schindler created a culture of learning and growth that inspires individuals to reach their full potential.
The bottom line being; by creating a coaching culture that empowers individuals to grow and develop, you can create a workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated to achieve their goals.
8. Provide Proper Tools
Providing the right tools and resources to employees is like giving them a superpower. With the right tools at their disposal, employees can work more effectively and efficiently, unleashing their full potential and creativity. This, in turn, can lead to a sense of pride and accomplishment in their work, which can significantly impact team morale.
Corporate wellness apps can be one such tool that helps employees manage their stress levels and improve their mental and physical health. With features such as guided meditation, exercise routines, and nutrition tracking, these apps can help employees take control of their well-being and make healthier choices in their daily lives.
Corporate wellness apps can also be used to promote team bonding and collaboration, which can positively impact team morale. By participating in wellness challenges and sharing their progress with each other, team members can build a sense of camaraderie and mutual support, strengthening their relationships and creating a more positive work environment.
Moreover, providing the necessary tools and technologies can promote a culture of innovation and continuous improvement within the team. When team members have access to cutting-edge tools and resources, they are more likely to experiment, take risks, and think outside the box, leading to better morale and a positive work environment.
Vantage Fit is one such corporate wellness app that can help organizations promote employee well-being and build team morale. With a range of features that includes personalized workout plans, meditation sessions, and nutrition tracking, Vantage Fit can help employees take control of their health and make positive lifestyle changes.
One of our successful implementations of Vantage Fit's challenge is the 6500+ km distance covered by the company during the Allston Annual Fitness Program using Vantage Fit. Vantage Fit has been instrumental in helping Allston employees participate in the "Healthy Steps for Caring Hearts" program, with the recent walkathon challenge being a prime example.
The challenge, which lasted for four weeks straight, was designed to motivate employees to improve their step count each day, thereby promoting better health and wellness.
- The virtual marathon was made possible thanks to the Vantage Fit platform, which allowed employees from all around the world to participate seamlessly.
- The HR admin was able to keep a close eye on the competition thanks to the Vantage Fit HR Dashboard, which provided real-time data and insights on employee performance. Participants had access to a gamified scoreboard that enabled them to track their daily and weekly step counts, thereby improving their chances of winning the challenge.
- Moreover, employees who completed the challenge were rewarded with redeemable Vantage Rewards, thereby further incentivizing them to participate.
Overall, Vantage Fit has played a critical role in promoting employee wellness and engagement at Allston, and has helped make the "Healthy Steps for Caring Hearts" program a great success.
9. Avoid Disrupting Schedules
When employees are constantly required to work beyond their scheduled hours or are frequently interrupted outside of work, it can decrease team morale. Organizations need to take steps to minimize disruptions to employees' outside-of-work schedules and ensure that they are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
One way to achieve this is by setting clear expectations around work hours and communication outside of work. Employers can establish guidelines and protocols for after-hours communication and ensure that employees are not expected to be available or respond to messages during non-work hours.
Additionally, employers can offer flexible work arrangements that allow employees to adjust their schedules to accommodate personal obligations, such as family commitments or appointments. This can help reduce stress and promote work-life balance, leading to higher job satisfaction and more positive team morale.
10. Strong Company Culture is a Must
A positive company culture is not just a "nice-to-have" element in an organization - it is a critical ingredient for success in today's competitive business environment. Without it, companies risk losing their most talented employees, facing low productivity and engagement levels, and ultimately, failing to achieve their business goals.
On the other hand, when employees feel supported, respected, and valued, they are more likely to go above and beyond in their work. A good work culture can foster a sense of belonging and purpose, leading to greater employee satisfaction, high turnover, and engagement.
A strong company culture can have a ripple effect on external stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, and partners. Customers are more likely to do business with companies that demonstrate a commitment to ethical practices and social responsibility. A positive culture can also enhance collaboration with suppliers and partners, leading to stronger relationships and more innovative solutions.
One of the amazing companies that exhibit a great working culture is Hubspot. It is not just a company; it's a family that believes in the power of trust, teamwork, and transparency. They have created a unique culture that values employees' well-being, growth, and work-life balance.
But that's not all!
Hubspot's culture also revolves around giving back to society. They organize various social initiatives and fundraisers to support the underprivileged and contribute to the community. The company celebrates diversity and inclusivity and provides equal opportunities to all employees. They have created a positive work environment that motivates employees to perform their best, encourages innovation, and fosters creativity.
Hubspot's commitment to celebrating diversity and inclusivity and its culture of giving back to society provides a strong foundation for implementing a rewards platform.
A rewards platform can be a powerful tool for recognizing and incentivizing employees who promote workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Hubspot can encourage employees to prioritize and work towards these values by setting specific DEI goals and metrics within the rewards platform.
- Allow your team to do the best of what it can do without any hindrance.
- Accept your employees' mistakes as a part of the process.
- Make sure they have everything they need to be successful.
- Please encourage them to take chances.
- Be available to resolve queries.
- Let them lead the day-to-day stuff.
Suppose you notice a decrease in energy and excitement among your team. In that case, you might be going wrong with your motivational skills. Keeping the team morale high is undoubtedly one of the keys to increased productivity, but figuring out how to do post-crisis can be challenging. There is no big magic to keep the workplace active and exciting; the right tricks can improve team morale in virtually any situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can a leader identify and tackle the factors that negatively impact team morale?
Answer: Leaders can identify and tackle the factors negatively impacting team morale by improving communication, implementing recognition and appreciation programs, addressing workplace conflict, promoting work-life balance, providing clear expectations, and offering support and resources to alleviate overwork. Open and honest conversations, conflict resolution training, and employee feedback can also help in identifying and addressing these factors.
2. How can employee morale be measured?
Answer: Employee morale can be measured through various methods, including conducting surveys or assessments, analyzing employee turnover rates, tracking absenteeism and tardiness, and monitoring employee performance and productivity. Regularly measuring employee morale helps leaders proactively address issues and maintain a positive work environment.
3. How can acknowledging hard work boost employee morale?
Answer: Acknowledging hard work and recognizing employees' efforts can boost employee morale by making them feel valued and appreciated. Rewarding employees for their support and extra efforts, even during challenging times, inspires them to remain motivated and committed to the company's goals. Recognition programs can be implemented to improve employee morale, increase job satisfaction, and reinforce the company's culture and values.
4. How does effective communication contribute to team morale?
Answer: Effective communication is essential for building team morale as it establishes trust and respect among team members. When team members feel heard and valued, they are more likely to share ideas, collaborate effectively, and work towards a common goal. Clear and open communication can prevent misunderstandings and conflicts, ultimately improving team morale and productivity.
5. How can team-building activities improve team morale?
Answer: Team-building activities can improve team morale by fostering positive relationships, enhancing communication, and promoting a sense of unity among team members. These activities provide opportunities for team members to interact outside of their regular work tasks, build trust, and develop a deeper understanding of each other's strengths and skills. By participating in team-building activities, team members feel more connected, engaged, and motivated, leading to improved teamwork, collaboration, and overall team morale.