Defined broadly, team morale is the enthusiasm, optimism, and excitement held by coworkers who share common goals. It’s the outlook that employees have toward their job and workplace.
Team morale is tied to the level of employee engagement and job satisfaction. Team members with good morale are happy in their jobs and look forward to coming to work each day. When individual team members have good morale, team morale will thrive.However, good morale isn’t something that occurs naturally. It must be cultivated and continually nurtured. Fortunately, the steps to building team morale are relatively easy!
Why is positive team morale important?
1. Improved productivity
Positive team morale and employee engagement are closely related. Low morale is often an indication of disengaged employees. According to Gallup, organizations with highly engaged workers have 17% percent greater productivity.
2. Reduced turnover rates
Employees with high morale are less likely to leave their jobs. They feel valued by the team and appreciated by management. They are engaged and happier employees with a higher degree of job satisfaction.
3. Greater teamwork
High morale results in greater teamwork. When morale is high, fewer conflicts arise among team members. Work relationships are positive and individuals look forward to collaborating. As a result, team output is optimized.
What causes low employee morale in the workplace?
1. Lack of recognition
Recognition at work can raise an employee’s confidence. This leads to greater job satisfaction and morale. Appreciation is so significant that 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite “lack of appreciation” as a major factor behind their decision.
When a company fails to show any signs of appreciation, employees may feel like their work doesn’t matter. They stop being engaged and their morale drops.
2. No growth opportunities
Low morale can develop when employees are given few opportunities for professional advancement. Employees who outgrow their jobs and see no pathway forward become disengaged. Eventually, they may start to look for another job.
Work environments where many employees have one foot out the door do not offer much in the way of positivity or enthusiasm and morale suffers.
3. Poor company culture
Company culture can have a profound effect on morale. Healthy company culture is where employees are supportive of each other, management communicates with staff and work-life balance is attainable.
According to a survey, 47% of job seekers want to leave their current job because of the absence of good company culture. When team members feel like everyone is jumping ship, morale will nosedive.
8 Ideas for Building Team Morale in the Workplace
1. Keep them engaged
Nothing dampens an employee’s spirit more than doing the same tasks day after day. Multiply this spirit by the number of team members you have and you end up with a conference room void of morale.
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Try coming up with fresh projects for the team to sink their teeth into. If workloads allow for it, encourage your employees to come up with their own “pet projects”. This demonstrates your trust in both their ability to complete their work and also produce something valuable of their own.
2. Acknowledge hard work
Not all people are motivated solely by a paycheck. Many employees want recognition for the effort they put in toward successful results. Letting team members know that you recognize their good work is a surefire way to boost morale.
Showing your appreciation is easier than you may think. Here are 43 Employee Appreciation Ideas Your Workplace Will Love.
3. Offer growth opportunities
Stagnation at work can be a significant contributor to low morale. Lack of opportunities for career growth will cause employees to feel stuck in a dead-end position.
You can rectify this by creating a career shadowing program, offering professional development workshops, or reimbursing the costs of skills training courses. Showing your employees that you are willing to invest in their future can turn a negative outlook into a positive attitude toward work.
4. Prioritize work-life balance
Employees are happier when they feel their job doesn’t eat away at the time they have for themselves and their families. Creating ways to help your employees achieve work life balance is crucial to maintaining high morale.
Set your employees up for finding work-life balance by giving them achievable goals with enough time to reach them. Consider offering flexible hours and remote work options as these are two of the most desirable job perks you can offer your employees.
5. Have fun with team building activities
How well team members work together is tied to morale. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and even conflict. An inability to trust one another and be open to each other’s ideas brings creativity to a halt. This is a recipe for low morale.
You can turn this situation around with team building activities. Many team building activities, like escape rooms and mystery games, provide fun, low-stakes challenges that can only be completed by a team who works together. Team building activities provide team members with the time and atmosphere in which to forge bonds, build trust, and develop team spirit.
6. Give them autonomy
Taking a step back and letting employees and teams make decisions on their own makes them feel empowered. Employees who feel in control of their jobs are more engaged.
Demonstrate your trust in an employee’s abilities by giving them a project to complete without your guidance. Your belief in them will bolster their confidence and they will be motivated to succeed. This kind of empowerment can increase morale.
7. Hold 1-on-1 sessions
Individuals want their voices to be heard. But in a team environment, some voices are louder than others. Not all employees can overcome this challenge. Wanting to contribute but not being allowed to can lead to feelings of resentment and low morale.
Regular 1-on-1 conversations give individual team members a chance to share ideas and ask questions. These meetings also build trust between employees and management. Greater levels of trust in the workplace give morale a big boost.
8. Lead by example
Team leaders and managers can increase team morale by demonstrating what good morale looks like. Come to work with an optimistic outlook every day.
Keep the atmosphere in team meetings positive by including everyone. Acknowledge all ideas and welcome questions both big and small. Be an uplifting force to your team and good morale will follow.
How Is Building Team Morale For A Virtual Team Different?
The eight ways of boosting team morale above apply to remote teams, but you may have to make some adjustments. Here are some ways in which building virtual team morale differs from building in-person team morale and how to overcome the challenges.
Greater need for recognition
With lack of appreciation being one of the biggest causes of low morale, it’s imperative to create opportunities to recognize remote employees’ contributions.
In an office environment, acknowledgment of a job well done can take place spontaneously. This isn’t possible for remote workplaces so try some of these virtual employee appreciation ideas.
Emphasis on connections
Virtual teams are missing out on the casual, friendly interactions that occur at the office. Overcome this obstacle by scheduling virtual events like a virtual happy hour or a virtual party celebration. For quick connections during the work day, schedule a virtual coffee break or tell everyone to meet at the virtual water cooler!
Virtual team building
Don’t let physical distance stop you from using team building activities to improve morale. Virtual team building can accomplish the same goals that in-person team building can.
Remote teams can improve their communication skills, enhance their problem-solving abilities and forge team bonds through virtual activities and games.
Team morale can make or break a team. Low morale brings conflict and stagnation. It lessens productivity and causes high turnover. High morale can attract top talent while keeping employees enthusiastic about their jobs.
Pay attention to your team morale. Ensure that your team is engaged. Show them that you value their work. Listen to them. Give them a measure of autonomy. Bring them together for fun activities that will enable them to grow into a happy, cohesive team.