Tag Archives: employee morale

Keeping Employees Happy Without a Raise

It’s all about the money. Or is it?

Getting a raise is obviously enticing to employees. It plays a role in keeping them happy and for minimizing turnover. But sometimes it’s just not in the cards for your company. Fortunately, there are several other ways to keep your employees happy without a raise.


Offer Flexible Scheduling

Flexible working arrangements like telecommuting, compressed workweeks and reduced hours are very alluring to modern employees. One of the best alternatives to a raise is to offer flexible scheduling. This enables your employees to achieve more of a balanced work-life schedule.

In fact, some employees are even willing to earn less in order to telecommute. According to a study from Harvard University that surveyed roughly 7,000 job applicants, “Workers were willing to accept eight percent lower pay, on average, to work from home.”

With more and more workers suffering from burnout and fatigue, flexible scheduling is a huge perk. Not only can this increase overall employee satisfaction, it can help your business tremendously from a recruiting standpoint.


Offer More Vacation Time

Maybe a raise isn’t feasible, but increasing the amount of vacation time for your top employees may be. Even a 10 percent increase in vacation days can be appealing. Keep in mind that you don’t need to do this for everyone — just your superstars who consistently perform at a high level.


Make Gratitude Part of Your Culture

Employee recognition plays an integral role in job satisfaction, productivity and overall morale. Unfortunately, it seems to be something that’s overlooked by many employers. A study from Socialcast found, “39 percent of employees don’t feel appreciated at their jobs, and 69 percent say they’d work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.”

Although you may not be able to increase someone’s salary, you can make a concerted effort to consistently show your appreciation and recognize their efforts. Making gratitude a part of your culture should keep your employees more engaged and reduce the likelihood of them jumping ship. As Socialcast suggests, be sure that you recognize your employees in a timely manner and avoid playing favorites.


Create a More Pleasant Working Environment

Companies like Google, Facebook and Flickr are known for their fun working environments. They are workplaces where the “work hard, play hard” mantra reigns supreme. Given the success of these companies, there are definitely advantages of creating an atmosphere that’s pleasant and where employees feel comfortable.

Here are some specific ways to spruce up your workplace.

  • Incorporate elements of nature – According to the Human Spaces Global Report, “Employees who worked in environments with natural elements reported a 15 percent higher level of well-being, a six percent higher level of productivity and a 15 percent higher level of creativity.”
  • Provide games for employees in the break room – A foosball table or video games are great ways to relax and encourage bonding.
  • Offer free food and drinks
  • Ditch the cubicles and opt for an open working environment


Employee satisfaction should be a top priority. More money certainly helps, but there are several ways to keep employees happy without a raise. In some cases, these strategies can actually have a bigger impact than money and encourage your top performers to stick around.

Top 5 Ways to Maintain Employee Morale

Happy employees are more productive employees. There’s concrete evidence that proves it. According to research from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, “Happiness made people around 12 percent more productive.” Achieving high morale is only half the battle. The real challenge is figuring out how to maintain employee morale.


1. Encourage Feedback

Transparency and openness are two contributing factors to positive change. You most likely provide your employees with ongoing feedback on their performance, so why not give them the opportunity to offer feedback as well?

Open communication ensures your employees’ voices are heard and issues aren’t allowed to fester. It should reduce any underlying frustration from building. Encouraging feedback can also lead to potential breakthroughs because fresh ideas are continually flowing.


2. Make Employee Recognition a Habit

The act of recognizing an employee’s hard work and contributions is simple. Yet it can have a profound impact on productivity and retention. Research from a Workforce Mood Tracker Survey found, 78 percent of U.S. workers said being recognized motivates them in their job, and 69 percent of employees would work harder if they were better recognized. So make it a habit of recognizing the accomplishments of your team and celebrating their successes.


3. Consider Flexible Scheduling

There’s been a fundamental shift in the way most employees view their work-life balance. The overwhelming majority of millennials value flexible scheduling and many even demand it.

PwC’s NextGen: A Global Generational Study found, “Millennials have a new approach to workplace productivity and flexibility. This generation does not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office but rather by the output of the work performed.”

Offering flexible scheduling options such as telecommuting, compressed workweeks, or reduced hours can have a tremendous impact on employee morale and make for a much happier team.


4. Offer Development Opportunities

Hardly anyone wants to be stuck in a dead end job with zero opportunity for advancement. This is a recipe for low morale and high turnover. Ideally, practice internal promotion where dedicated employees can work their way up the company ladder. It’s also helpful to offer some type of training to facilitate professional development.


5. Create an Element of Play

Everyone needs a bit of downtime to take their mind off of work and recharge their batteries. One way to facilitate this and maintain employee morale is to give your employees a chance to “play” during their breaks. For instance, Google offers its employees ping pong and foosball tables and video games. They’ve found this to be an excellent way for employees to unwind between intense coding sessions.

It may sound silly, but you can’t deny that Google’s recipe works, and they’re known for having some of the happiest employees in the country. An added plus is that playing like this can be the catalyst for relationship building and deeper chemistry.

It should be every employer’s objective to maintain employee morale. Doing so can have a host of benefits including increased productivity, lower turnover, and higher profitability, which all contribute to improving your overall bottom line.

The Wake of Layoffs: How HR Can Manage the Message

Layoffs are an unfortunate but inevitable part of running a business. It isn’t pretty, but downsizing is often a necessary evil for optimizing a company’s efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Nonetheless, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, and surviving employees are likely to be on edge. So how can HR manage the message in the wake of layoffs?


Prepare for a Backlash

There’s a great quote from Dave Denaro, vice president and site leader at Keystone Associates, regarding the reaction of surviving employees. “In general terms, a layoff isn’t personal. It’s a purely professional decision taken to protect the business. That doesn’t mean it won’t make your employees nervous; even the possibility of a restructuring can send a shiver down a worker’s spine.”

Seeing their colleagues terminated can leave surviving employees feeling nervous, uncertain and even resentful. Even though they still have their jobs, it’s hard not to question your company’s stability and their intrinsic value in your company.

This can result in turnover and your key talent may “head for higher ground” out of fear that they could be the next to go. You should be prepared for employees to walk and may want to have a temporary staffing agency lined up in the event that you need to quickly fill vacated positions.


Keep an Open Line of Communication

The best thing you can do is keep your employees in the loop. Be honest and transparent about the situation. Don’t simply leave everyone guessing what the future of your company looks like and what their role will be in it. Your employees are likely to have plenty of questions, so be willing to give an honest answer to quell their concerns.

Most importantly, let your employees know that they’re genuinely valued. Open communication like this should resuscitate morale and will hopefully prevent a mass exodus.


Show Respect and Empathy

Layoffs can create an ominous atmosphere in your workplace. Out of nowhere, your surviving employees’ livelihood comes into question, which can lead to a sense of disillusionment and distrust. As an employer, it’s crucial to demonstrate genuine respect and empathy.

Ideally, you’ll provide a forum that enables them to vent their emotions to prevent rumors or hostility from spreading. Make it clear that you understand their position and thank your staff for bearing with you during this turbulent time.


Pick Up the Slack

Layoffs are obviously disruptive to operations. All of a sudden, there’s friction and it’s harder to cover the workload. One of the best ways to reduce this friction and boost morale is to implore management to pick up the slack until the dust settles. For instance, you might ask your managers to temporarily cover extra duties to keep the wheels turning.

There’s no denying that layoffs are difficult. Even though your remaining workers still have their jobs, it can be incredibly distressing. By managing the message correctly and handling the situation with tact, you should be able to reduce conflict and get things back on track.



Improve Morale By Eliminating Performance Reviews

Employee morale is incredibly important and affects multiple areas of business including productivity, profitability, retention and turnover. The problem is that many companies are shooting themselves in the foot by latching onto a particularly antiquated HR policy. By eliminating this policy, you can improve morale dramatically.


Performance Reviews – A Source of Fear and Loathing

At first glance, performance reviews probably seem like a positive thing. They’re a time-tested means of providing employees with feedback and addressing problem areas. Their roots can be traced all the way back to the Industrial Revolution when there was the ongoing need for improved work methods to boost productivity and product quality.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and performance reviews are still practiced by plenty of companies across a variety of industries. However, multiple studies show that it’s time to rethink performance reviews.


An Outdated Practice

One particular study from Adobe found that performance reviews do more harm than good and can have a tremendously negative impact on employee morale. Here are some highlights:

  • Nearly two-thirds of employees and managers believe performance reviews are an outdated practice.
  • Managers spend an average of 17 hours planning for each individual employee’s review.
  • One in five workers admit to crying after a review.
  • 37 percent say they have looked for another job.
  • 20 percent say they have quit.
  • To avoid the stress and heartache, more than 60 percent of millennial workers say they would switch to another company with no performance reviews.
  • Both office workers (55 percent) and managers (66 percent) say it’s time to change or get rid of reviews.


The Implications

These statistics tell us three main things. First, performance reviews have become old-fashioned and are out of touch with the modern workforce. While they may have been viable in the 1950’s, it’s clear that they simply don’t have a place in the twenty-teens.

Second, they’re time-consuming. Although not every manager will spend 17 hours planning a performance review, this study suggests that they can be a major time drainer.

Third and most importantly, employees hate them. If performance reviews lead to your employees crying, looking for a new job or quitting, this obviously isn’t doing any favors for morale. In some cases, it can be the catalyst for excessive turnover and even damage your brand reputation.


The Solution

So what should you do if performance reviews are your company’s primary means of providing feedback?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Switch to on-the-job feedback. Rather than using a rigid, antiquated system like performance reviews, you’re far better off providing feedback in real-time.

Not only should this improve morale, it tends to be more effective because it’s easier for your employees to understand and implement information when it’s presented in this manner. According to Adobe’s study, this is the preferred mode of feedback with 80 percent of office workers preferring feedback in the moment.

It’s amazing to think that you can dramatically improve morale by ditching just a single HR policy. Eliminating performance reviews and opting for on-the-job feedback is a smart move that can pay dividends for your company.


motivates your employees

What Truly Motivates Your Employees?

Employee engagement is directly linked to motivation. Highly motivated employees tend to be more motivated and therefore more productive. Unfortunately, employee engagement levels are by no means ideal.

An infographic from Office Vibe states that, “70 percent of U.S. workers are not engaged at work.” To extract the most from your workforce, it’s crucial to know what motivates your employees.


Main Motivating Factors

In his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink suggests that there are three things that truly motivate employees.

  1. Autonomy – the freedom to choose task, time, technique, and team
  2. Mastery – the desire to get better and better at something that matters
  3. Purpose – the desire to pursue a cause larger than ourselves

According to Pink, most workers have an innate desire for empowerment and seek to continually grow in their career.

An article from Psychology Today also examines employee motivation and highlights some key factors that motivate workers to go the extra mile. In a study, participants were asked to identify major motivators:

  • Camaraderie, peer motivation (20%)
  • Intrinsic desire to a good job (17%)
  • Feeling encouraged and recognized (13%)
  • Having a real impact (10%)
  • Growing professionally (8%)

As you can see, there’s a considerable amount of overlap with these factors and the ones mentioned by Pink. When you break it all down, most employees want to feel a sense of purpose and that they’re genuinely contributing. They want to grow and progress and not merely be cogs in a wheel.


Is it Time for a New Approach?

In the past, many employers assumed that in order to run a company successfully, they needed to maintain a high level of control. Employees needed to clock in and out at a certain time, be given specific tasks, be told to follow exact directions and so on. There was little wiggle room, and employees were often regarded as subordinates or simply resources.

As of late, more and more employers are switching tactics and choosing to take a results-oriented approach that’s all about the bottom line — getting things done and being as productive/profitable as possible. A new approach revolves around viewing employees as trusted partners, not resources.

Some managers even give employees freedom of when they work, how long they work, the tasks they work on, etc. as long as everything is completed correctly and on time.


Finding Middle Ground

While it’s probably not realistic for most employers to give their employees this type of freedom and the logistics may not compute, it shows that perhaps a new approach is in order. If Pink’s thesis is correct, it would be in an employer’s best interest to give employees some level of autonomy and allow them to develop mastery in their career and realize their purpose.

Rather than viewing the whole process like an assembly line and controlling every aspect of operations, it would make more sense to treat employees as trusted partners and provide them with the tools needed for empowerment.

I think what Pink is trying to say is that employees don’t want to be managed by a strict taskmaster controlling their every move. Knowing what motivates your employees is the key to unlocking their full potential. By letting go, being flexible and giving employees some degree of autonomy over their work, this can increase engagement and create a more unified workforce where everyone contributes in their own unique way.