3 Keys to Keeping Your Firm’s Morale Up During Hard Times

Employee morale affects your business in every way. Employees with high morale stay with the firm longer, develop effective relationships with clients, do better work, make clients happier, and say good things about the company publicly, which further increases your customer base and your talent pool. Employees with low morale are the ones who turn off customers, create internal friction, and go onto job search sites and say bad things about you. 

Developing a positive work environment may take a little effort, but it’s not hard. It’s really just applying basic human kindness and manners to a business context. These steps aren’t just for hard times—they’re for all the time. 

  1. Communicate

  • If your company is facing challenges, whether that’s a downturn in revenue or a change in the working environment due to the pandemic, be honest and transparent about the situation and share your plans to weather the storm.
  • Set clear expectations of performance and behavior. Provide clearly defined procedures for communication. Write them down and make them accessible.
  • Use task management software to organize projects, track completion, and handle inter-office communication among team members, thus avoiding lost emails or project delays when awaiting information from another team member.
  • Ask questions, show interest in your employees’ lives, and elicit feedback. 
  1. Appreciate

  • Recognize your employees internally – awarding an Employee of the Month, giving people credit casually in meetings, and generally thanking them for good work.
  • Recognize your employees publicly – post your team members’ accomplishments on social media.
  • Offer incentives and fringe benefits. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Be creative, and find out what employees might actually want or enjoy. It could be a monthly health allowance to cover a gym membership or trip to the spa, maybe a book of their choice for their Kindle when they hit a new benchmark, whatever would make their day.
  • Remember special days – birthdays, the birth of a child, work anniversaries.
  1. Develop

  • Let go of employees who cause friction in the work environment – that might include managers.
  • Train your managers. Listen to employee feedback to see where the managers might improve with coaching. Consider training in providing constructive feedback that aims at developing employees, not tearing them down.
  • Provide clear opportunities for career growth, and hire from within, so employees see they do have the chance to grow with you.
  • Encourage your employees to actually take a real break during the day. Way too many office workers eat lunch at their desks. Our bodies need to move regularly, at least a little. This improves circulation, thinking, and mood.
  • Take a survey about what group activities most employees would enjoy doing for fun together and then do it. People who work together will bond more if they also get to occasionally have fun together.

It may take some time to put these morale boosters into effect, so start with the most critical for your situation. The more you apply, the healthier your employee morale, the happier your clients, and the stronger your company will be.