50 Proven Morale Boosters (+5 Bonus Ideas)
Are your employees excited to come to work every day? Is office communication up-to-par?
If you answered no to these questions, your organization may need a morale makeover!
Employee morale is defined as the job satisfaction, outlook, and feelings of well-being an employee has within a workplace setting.
High morale organizations consistently demonstrate less stress and better performance. With these benefits, it makes no sense why companies fail to see the bigger picture -they fail to realize that the employees are the key players in generating profits. Employee morale can quickly make or break a company’s success.
Common Low Morale Symptoms to Look For
- High Turnover Rates
- Decreased Productivity
- Poor Performance
- Less Collaboration
- Fewer Employee Conversations
- Low Engagement
Research suggests that actively disengaged employees cost the economy $350 billion dollars per year in lost productivity due to low morale issues. One Stop Wellness found many proven ways to combat this and we’ve compiled a list of the Top 50 Morale Boosters that some of our customers are using to change the culture of their organization – without breaking the bank.
50 Proven Morale Boosters that Won’t Break the Bank (+ 5 Bonus Ideas)
1. Ask Them What They Want
Think about the countless times you’ve been to a company outing that seemed pointless? Instead of having the HR team decide what you will do, ask for suggestions for a company-wide event, then let your team vote for the winner. This allows your employees’ voices to be heard and gives them an opportunity to engage in a satisfying activity.
2. Have More Fun
Fun needs to be incorporated into the workplace culture. A fun work environment is “extremely motivating” to 90% of employees surveyed in this Psychology Today study. Take a half day off to go out as a team to a new restaurant. Maybe go bowling or rock climbing, or even take a trip to an interesting museum. These types of events allow everyone to bond with others in a way that they never would inside the office. Doing this will build a stronger community and allow the entire team to work better.
3.Shots On Us
The office can be a breeding ground for germs. While some of your employees may not like getting pricked with a needle, you’ll be happy that they’re not home sick. Try setting up a flu shot clinic during a health fair. Pharmacies like Walgreens and on-demand companies like Pager will bring professionals to your workplace to administer the shots.
4.Random Acts Of Kindness (RAKs)
There doesn’t always need to be a financial benefit to do something kind for someone else. It simply just pays off to do a kind act without expecting something in return. A recent scientific study reported that an anonymous 28-year-old person walked into a clinic and donated a kidney. It set off a ‘pay it forward’ type ripple effect where the spouses or other family members of recipients of a kidney donated one of theirs to someone else in need.
Think about how much better your workplace would be if everyone was kinder towards each other? Encourage your team to perform random acts of kindness on a daily basis and watch it trickle throughout the entire organization. You can even turn it into a game: Create a RAK card for employees to pass on to each other along with each act.
5.Include The Entire Family
The first thing that comes to mind when incorporating your family is “bring your kids to work day.” However, this isn’t the only way to do it; maybe host a family-friendly outing or host an event during work hours. It’s a great way to share your work experience with your family and helps everyone feel more connected.
6.Thank The Little Guy
Every organization has no problem thanking their best employees and high-profile individuals. But what about the people who mop the floors, cut the checks, or serve the food? These roles often go unnoticed, but thanking the people in these positions is a true statement of your culture.
Next time you want to recognize workers for their efforts, think about the staff who keeps the place running. Gift them a gift card for a coffee or lunch. This will increase trust and loyalty throughout the entire company.
Playing is a great way to de-stress, so much that some innovative companies are actually incorporating recess (just like elementary school) into their work day. This gives the employees time away from their work to reset. Technology Advice did a study and found that the easiest and most effective way to increase productivity is to encourage employees to play more games.
A simple idea is to find an empty room and fill it with some games; buy a ping-pong table ( used is fine) and set up a tournament. Maybe even schedule 1:1 time over a game a pong. How about hiring an improv coach once a month to teach a fun class at the office?
Green-friendly workplaces have been shown to cause a significant increase in productivity. This can be done a variety of ways, but to make it fun, have employees grow their own (genetically modified pollen-free) plants and decorate their pots. How about hosting a pot decorating contest or even see who has the largest plant.
Having to take care of their plants will keep employees more engaged and give them something extra to look forward to each day. This will definitely boost morale and can be done on an extremely low budget.
9.Lend A Hand – Or Two!
Volunteering might be the best way to make employees feel good about their work! According to a recent study, two-thirds of millennials prefer companies that let them volunteer skills while at work. Many large companies have been including these programs into their benefits packages.
For example, Hewlett-Packard offers its employees 4 hours paid time off each month to volunteer. Employees can really gain a lot from helping others in need; it can increase camaraderie & communication and they’ll also see another side of each other that they wouldn’t usually see in the office. To find volunteering activities in your area, check out Volunteer Match.
10. Jam it Out
Music is part of our day whether we notice it or not. It’s usually playing in the background everywhere we go; the supermarket, the mall, or the gym. Nothing gets you in the right mood like music, which is why many people enjoy listening to their favorite jams on their commute everyday. Researchers from Cornell University have found that happy, upbeat music can lead employees to be more productive, cooperative, and work harder for the good of the company or team.
Email is the preferred method of communication at the workplace. It’s used to message colleagues, find customers, and schedule meetings. Even though it seems productive, email can become one of the biggest distractions in the office. A 2014 survey by Salary.com found that 78 percent of employees were wasting at least 30 minutes per day at work – the majority of that time was spent checking email. Instead of communicating with coworkers through email, why not get up and have a conversation. There’s also apps like Slack that will help with messaging between teams which can lessen the stress of email.
12.Welcome The New Kid On The Block
Starting a new position can be intimidating, and if the new hires aren’t familiar with the entire team they try to figure everything out on their own. It’s crucial for new employees to meet everyone and build relationship with the entire staff. A great way to do this is to invite the whole staff to an after work event or game night so they can bond with everyone.
13.Wall Of Wow
Dedicate a wall in your office where employees can post their goals and accomplishments. This can be anything from drawings to positive emails, reports, completed projects, pictures, or even quotes. Employees will see this wall everyday and be inspired by what they’ve achieved individually and as a team. As a bonus, this fun wall will be super attractive for any visitors at the office!
14.Ask About Their Schedule
Believe it or not, your workers have lives outside of the office! This is really important to understand because employees may be distracted and disengaged by personal issues outside of work. Maybe someone has kids involved in sports but miss all of their games due to conflicting schedules. Find out what your employees do in their free time and learn about their family and personal obligations to potentially adjust their schedules periodically to accommodate.
15.Book Club Anyone?
Starting a company book club can help to boost engagement. Once a month, your group can meet to discuss a book. It helps create a safe environment where everyone can freely share their ideas and opinions. A book club can also help with personal growth through the opinions and experience of other individuals which in return can develop a strong culture.
16.It’s Your Birthday
People are happy when they get birthday wishes, especially when they’re not expected. Remember everyone’s birthday, write them a card thanking them for all their hard work and give them the opportunity to spend their day as they choose. They’ll appreciate you much more!
A simple, yet effective way to keep track of your team’s accomplishments is to write them down and put them into a jar. At the end of the month you can meet and go through all of the accomplishments.
We all know that exercise can improve mental focus and performance. Many employees want to be active but lack the motivation or drive to do it alone. Instead of taking the journey alone, be active together – at work! By using a fraction of the workday for exercise, employees can feel a boost of energy and reduce stress. If your management doesn’t agree, show them this recent study!
Some easy ways to incorporate group fitness is to schedule a workout during a short break, take walking meetings, have a personal trainer come in to teach a class, or have an employee who’s certified in group fitness create a workout. Or why not kill two birds with one stone – combining fitness with volunteering: maybe you can participate in a dance-a-thon for charity or, Heart Walk. These activities are great for team-building and easily affordable.
19.Coffee’s On Us
Let’s show your employees that you really care about them. Every Monday, take 1 person out to a local coffee shop to some 1-on-1 time. Here you can discuss your expectations and also learn about your employee and if their needs are being met. The ROI of this treat will be in the form of gratitude, loyalty, and appreciation.
20.There’s An App For That
The on-demand service industry is growing. Many companies have apps where employees can book massages, haircuts, car rides, acupuncture and much more at a reasonable price. Provide a resource of these services so your employees can have access to them.
21.Healthy Office Potluck
Looking for a fun and tasty way to make boring meetings fun? Try a healthy potluck luncheon. Everyone will bring in or prepare a healthy meal or snack. Food will keep people energized and excited about the meeting and they’ll also get down to business with a better mindset.
Work can be super stressful! Spending hours on less important tasks take away from our more important jobs -this is why outsourcing makes sense! Instead of putting all the pressure on employees, encourage them to outsource busy work to freelancers. Two popular companies make it simple and affordable to hire freelancers Fiverr and Upwork.
23.Go Find Yourself
A sabbatical provides an employee paid-time off to pursue a passion, volunteer, travel or spend time with their families. Companies like Deloitte are offering sabbaticals to boost retention. These long breaks are great because the employee can still keep their position when they return.
24.Limit Office Time
Believe it or not, working longer hours does not increase in productivity! Overworking can lead to stress and loss in productivity , and can be detrimental to your employees’ health. Create a reasonable work schedule that fosters productivity, focus, and engagement. Help employees with time management and support groups.
25. Gratitude Journals
People just don’t seem to express gratitude enough at work! According to a survey of 2,000 Americans, people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else. Employees need to hear “Thank You” from the management first and this will promote trust, loyalty, and a sense of safety. In addition to the increase in productivity and happiness, people who express gratitude at work have been shown to have a greater satisfaction with life, less stress, and less illnesses.
A gratitude journal is a great gift to boost your employees’ morale; it will make them feel happy and motivated. Every day, your team can write what they’re thankful for (actions of another person, material possession, the weather or just being alive) and at the end of the week, have a meeting to discuss something from their lists.
26. Snow Days Off!
When there’s a snow storm, hurricane, or flooding, allow employees to work from home. This is more favorable and will keep them safe. Employees will be happier knowing that they won’t have to worry about the hassle of a horrible commute in the inclement weather and will be more productive at home.
28.Remove Toxic People
When everyone’s getting paid and feels appreciated, work can be a happy place. But when a team is full of negative people who just try to bring down everyone around them, it can be a toxic environment. These people swear, insult, belittle, and make rude comments. They like to play the victim and blame everyone else for their issues. It may seem bad to get rid of all of them, but if they are not uplifting the company, keeping in line with the core values, or cooperating with co-workers, they need to go!
You always need to know that your employees are happy and feel safe at work. Sometimes they rather not express themselves in 1-on-1 time. Creating an anonymous employee feedback/suggestion survey may solve the problem. Use a free tool like Survey Monkey to create a simple survey or poll. Some simple questions can be:
- How satisfied are you with your managers?
- Do you have a good relationship with your boss?
- What’s one way we can make your work experience awesome?
Last spring on National Walking Day, the American Heart Association held a sneaker decorating contest where employees at different companies could decorate a pair of shoes any way they wanted. Competitions within an organization can be fun and allows the employees to be creative and think out-of-the-box.
There’s nothing better than getting free stuff! And if it’s cool swag, employees will love it. It’s really easy to create fun, stylish t-shirts online. You can also go to Discount Mugs to add your logo to stress balls, water bottles, frisbees, and drawstring bags to give out at your health fair or field day. These will keep people talking and it’s extra promotion for your company.
31.After Work Wednesdays / Happy Hour
Host a social event once a month where employees can stay after work for about an hour to enjoy some snacks. Maybe have your team vote on a restaurant or bar where they’d like to go. This gives them something to look forward to and another opportunity to connect with each other outside of the work setting. AlleyNYC hosts weekly happy hours where they serve drinks and showcase some of the startups in their community.
32.Reach Out On Social Media
Social media is great in the workplace (when used properly)! Instead of thanking someone or sharing a company milestone via email, how about make a post about the event or individual on social media. This will not only show your employees that you appreciate them, but also allow any potential employees or followers of your brand to learn about your culture!
33.Recognize Health Achievements
Many companies focus so much on business and financial goals that health usually ends on the backburner. Give employees rewards or recognition for tackling a major health goal. They’ll love to see that you care about their wellbeing!
34.Find Your Sensei
Coaching and mentoring should stop a few weeks after a new employee has started their position. A 2012 study by Deloitte concluded that retention is 25% higher for employees who have engaged in company-sponsored mentorship. Starting a mentor program will help your employees learn more about their roles, giving them a better path for success. This also gives them an accountability partner to keep them on the right path.
35. Dress Like A Superhero Day
This is the opportunity to get a little silly at work. You’re probably working to create the ultimate corporate superheroes, so why not give your employees a chance to dress like one. Pick a day and theme and let imaginations run wild.
Show your employees that you want them to grow professionally and personally. Help them get on the right track towards receiving promotions. Try having weekly meetings where the senior leadership or regular team members talk about setting goals as well as other personal development topics. You can also bring in a personal development coach for more focused and professional advice. In addition to this, companies like Starbucks are even sponsoring tuition reimbursement programs to go towards advanced degrees.
37.Positive Vibes Only
People will work their best if they feel appreciated. Start each week with a motivational quote or picture to get everyone in the proper mindset. Congratulate all accomplishments – big & small! Encourage each other to give high fives for no reason! This will boost productivity and efficiency.
Free food is an amazing perk to have at work especially when focusing on the health of your employees. Companies like Google offer free food in their cafeterias and encourage employees to take some home. They have many healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as coffee and snack bars. This is great because it gives people no excuse to eat unhealthy since it’s always available every day. But if your budget isn’t as big as Google’s, why not offer health snacks in your break room. A company that’s helping employees snack better at work is Snack Dot. They allow your team to vote on the specific snacks they want/like and then deliver them right to your office! No more unhealthy vending machines!
Set aside 10-15 minutes to help employees build their emotional intelligence through mindfulness. This can be done at their desk or workstation. A study of HR managers by the University of Washington in 2012 concludes that mindfulness helps us experience less stress and an increased focus when multitasking.
40.Explain The Company Vision
If you want to keep millennials engaged, you need them to understand the purpose of their work and the mission of the company. These workers want to feel as though they are part of something great and can make an impact. If they don’t see any meaning in their roles and don’t understand the vision, they will most likely feel undervalued and this will reflect in their performance.
41.Celebrate A Milestone
The best way to celebrate employees is to give them time off. Allow them a day off from work if they accomplished a major company goal, got married, for their birthday, or work anniversary. Make sure everyone on your team feels special at least once a year. Happy workers are, on average, 31% more productive and 3x more creative.
42.Amazing Perks & Discounts
This is a low-cost way to boost your employees’ morale as well as attract top talent. Sign up for an employee discount program through Access Perks, and they will provide you with over 350,000 perks & programs that you can offer to your employees.
Face the truth, EVERYONE GETS DISTRACTED AT WORK (some more than others)! To show your employees that you understand it’s normal, create a distraction box. Fill it with quotes, jokes, activities, and other fun things that they can do to get a quick morale boost and motivation to continue with a productive work day.
44.Caught Ya In The Act
This is a fun and engaging why to keep everyone talking and giving encouragement. Make a board of all your team members and anytime you or an employee catches a co-worker in the act of doing something healthy, give them a point towards redeeming a reward. This turns wellness into a team effort and everyone is accountable for each other.
Yes, even adults need naps. Taking a 15-20 minute power nap not only recharges the body, but also the mind. Researchers at Saarland University concluded that a short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning. Some companies are turning empty spaces into nap rooms with futons, cots, or even couches for their employees.
Athletes do it all the time, so why not your organization? A daily huddle only takes a few minutes and can be one of the most powerful engagement tools and morale boosters in your arsenal. It provides face-to-face communication about the goals for the day. Your employees will think of everything as a team effort and now that they know exactly what must be done, they’ll work more efficiently to do so.
Scavenger hunts are great team-building activities and also loads of fun. Have your employees form teams and create a list of things around the office. You can even add a few personal items to the list like find a picture frame from a co-worker’s desk. Set a time frame and offer the person/team with the most points a $10 Starbucks Gift Card or a fun Groupon Gift.
48.Remove The Roadblock
What’s stressing your employees and decreasing their productivity? Whatever it is, find it and remove it so things go back to running smoothly. Sometimes it can be a mad manager, unreliable or old software, maybe it’s time to upgrade your workforce.
49.Change Of Scenery
Next time everyone’s out volunteering or on a day the office is closed, have the entire place cleaned, painted with bright colors and redesigned. This might be just enough to instantly boost morale.
The most important morale booster of all is to simply be genuine. Be transparent in all you do, encourage communication, and stick to your company values!
51.Learn From Each Other
At every company, employees need to be reminded that all the goals are accomplished through a team effort. Every individual has their own skills, talent, and creativity, so make sure they use them. Each week host a “skillshare” where a team member presents a lesson on a skill to the group. This can be anything from making excel spreadsheets, to basic cooking lessons, or even blogging. Giving employees the opportunity to shine and be an expert on one of their favorite topics allows them to work on something they’re excited about!
People love their pets, so give them opportunity to bring their four-legged friends to the office each week. Recent studies show that pet interactions increase oxytocin levels, the hormone that motivates us to treat others with love, care, and compassion. Think about the extra smiles you’ll see around the office!
Whether it’s coming to work in a panda costume, or creating your own jeopardy game, come up with something weird and unique. This gives your company its own identity and culture and helps your employees take pride in the office.
54.Secret Santa or Gift Swap
Nothing brings a smile to your face more than a thoughtful gift. The holidays are always a fun-filled time so let’s use it to cheer up the office. Host a holiday party where team members will write out cards to everyone and participate in a “Secret Santa” to trade gifts with each other. It’ll help employees get to know each other better and do something kind outside of their normal routine.
55.Criticize Less & Appreciate More
People who are criticized often feel unappreciated and unwanted at work. They’ll never be motivated to go above and beyond to do an outstanding job; they’ll do the bare minimum and watch the clock until it’s time to go home. Offer constructive criticism and words of encouragement and praise. You’ll quickly notice how things change.
We hope this list inspires you to show your employees that you care.