The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
- William James
Morale suffers at the hand of layoffs, job cuts and dips in profits. Since low morale is linked to low productivity, it can lead to continued disappointing profits—a self-fulfilling prophecy. All of this is to say that while keeping your troops motivated and positive is good for their well-being, the ulterior motive is to keep productivity as high as possible in an unstable period. Read on to learn ways of boosting the spirits in your work environment.
Employee Recognition. William James' sentiment, "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated," is right on the money. Employee recognition shows appreciation, and can help melt the chip of negative, anti-productive attitudes. Let’s face it; we all want others to recognize the value of our knowledge or service. Even more, employee recognition often pays off more than financial bonuses do, so this is a small investment with a good payoff.
Start an employee award program. Think of ways in which you can link awards to tangible accomplishments. If this is possible in your situation, begin simple and make it attainable.
Give out certificates of recognition. This method works better in settings where awards systems don't apply. And how should you give a certificate of recognition? In front of the employees’ peers. Take a few minutes to mention the tangible efforts, knowledge or accomplishments that brought about the recognition.
Send "Appreciation Email." Add time in your schedule each week to send out an email to someone who is persevering through a challenging situation, or who has just kept plugging along, even in the face of low profits and morale. This method may be one of the most impactful. Why? Because it conveys sincerity.
Integrate fun. Surprise everyone by bringing food and inviting them to take a break in their day. When everyone gathers, thank them for all they are doing. This kind of recognition works in two ways: it makes employees feel appreciated and builds the team identity. These little events and traditions are high-impact, and go a long way to building team spirit and eventually morale.
Implement some (or all!) of these methods to give morale an instant boost. These tactics will propel your team in the face of a challenging environment. Phillip B. Crosby, author of "Quality Is Free" may have said it best when he stated, "Genuine recognition of performance is something people really appreciate. People really don't work for money. They go to work for it, but once the salary has been established, their concern is appreciation. Recognize their contribution publicly and noisily, but don't demean them by applying a price tag to everything."