How to Boost Employee Morale Amid the Pandemic
By Kayla Tumblin
Maintaining employee morale has proved more challenging than ever this year with the pandemic turning the world upside down. We’ve all had to change the way we live, from how we work to how we connect with others.
All of these changes, exacerbated by feelings of fear and loneliness, have led to an increased level of stress and anxiety about the future. In fact, one in five adults say that their mental health is worse than it was a year ago.
As a business owner or manager, it’s important to adjust your company’s strategies for boosting employee morale to meet current circumstances. Not only does employee morale have a direct correlation to productivity, it can have an impact on your reputation. Having happy employees can help reinforce and improve customer satisfaction with your business.
Let’s look at three easy ways you can boost employee morale.
Poor communication results in increased stress levels and low morale. Thus, implementing strong communication strategies is one way to ensure high morale.
First, you need to properly communicate your expectations to employees. This can include what their role entails and tasks you expect them to be able to perform. You should, however, go beyond the basics. Create an open line of communication, and establish how they should communicate with you if they have questions or concerns. Be sure to set specific and measurable goals for each individual.
Since guidelines are constantly changing related to COVID-19 safety, you need to regularly inform your employees on the latest guidance as it pertains to your business and what specific steps the company is taking. Specifically, address how you plan to ensure your employees’ safety, which can help reduce stress about working in public places and boost confidence in your business.
Strong communication also entails strong listening skills. Ensure your employees feel they can talk to you about work-related concerns or suggestions, and take the time to actually consider them. Consider implementing team meetings or an official feedback process to demonstrate you are taking input seriously.
The highest driver of employee engagement is whether workers feel their managers genuinely care about their well-being. Since March, your employees have had to deal with a new set of daily challenges. Many people are facing difficulty with childcare, finding work-life balance, and feeling a general lack of motivation.
Acknowledging that your employees are facing unique challenges due to the pandemic and being empathetic shows that you care about them as people, not just as employees. Having open communication also encourages your employees to promptly share if there are any challenges that may be affecting their performance, allowing you to find a solution.
Perhaps the most important point to communicate is that the health of your employees is of the utmost importance to you. To follow through on that with your actions, provide paid sick leave if you are able to. If you’re not, show flexibility and help your employees get their responsibilities or shifts covered by other team members by encouraging them to get contact information from other employees or establishing a company group messaging system.
Informal Employee Interactions
Consider having celebrations or some sort of regular tradition for holidays, birthdays, and other events. Workplace celebrations often boost morale by making employees feel appreciated. Even if there is not a full party or celebration for an event, taking a moment to congratulate an employee for graduating, getting married or having a baby can go a long way. This once again shows you care about what's going on in their life.
Another option is facilitating a social event, such as a virtual happy hour. Human interaction is more limited than ever, yet socialization is essential to us as humans.
Socializing with coworkers allows people to communicate better, build trust and be happier at work by fostering closer relationships with coworkers and building a more positive dynamic in the workplace.
While positive feedback is equally, if not more, important as constructive feedback, it can easily be lost in the shuffle. The truth is, a balance of both is necessary to support a culture of growth and development. In a time where people are facing so many hardships and struggles, it’s especially important to ensure you are incorporating positive feedback.
37 percent of employees consider recognition to be the most important method of support for success. Yet, 82 percent of American workers feel that their supervisors don’t recognize them enough for their contributions. To bridge this disparity, establish practices that support regular positive feedback.
A few strategies to facilitate feedback include:
Weekly Team Meetings: Provides an opportunity for all team members to discuss current events and any issues that may have arisen. This also enables management to acknowledge employee accomplishments on a regular basis. It’s easy to get caught up juggling your many responsibilities and this allows you to dedicate a set amount of time to feedback.
One-on-One Meetings: Schedule periodic meetings with each of your employees. The length of time between will vary based on availability and need; it can be everything from a monthly meeting to quarterly or even bi-annually.
Online Tools: You can utilize a variety of online tools. Create a Google Form that can be filled out anonymously to encourage peer feedback, where employees can acknowledge someone who has gone above and beyond. You can also express to your employees that they can email you if they have positive recognition to share for a coworker. A weekly meeting or email is a great opportunity to share this, or reaching out to the star employee individually to commend their performance. If you want to invest money in an internal feedback tool, there are many systems that make tracking and interpreting feedback easy.
Appreciation from your customers also goes a long way for your employees. Employees who receive recognition are almost 3x more engaged than those who do not, and they are far less likely to quit (IBM WorkTrends Survey). Positive feedback can provide motivation to your employees, and show them that their work truly has an impact.
Hylite makes it easy for customers to provide positive feedback about individual employees - all they have to do is send a text! Hylite boosts employee morale and engagement, leading to better customer service, more loyal customers, and increased employee retention.
All parties involved in a customer-facing business benefit from the positive feedback Hylite facilitates. Employees love Hylite because it is positive-only and they hear directly from customers how much they, personally, are appreciated. Businesses love Hylite because it boosts morale, helps identify top performers, provides business improvement tools, and it signals to employees that management cares. Finally, customers love Hylite because it allows them to recognize exceptional employees quickly, safely, and anonymously.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Hylite can help boost morale for your team, get in touch with us here.
While these strategies have existed for a long time, slight tweaks or additions such as those mentioned above can make them more relevant to the circumstances your employees are currently facing. Improving your communication to include COVID-19 updates and consideration, facilitating celebrations and socialization outside of work initiatives in a safe manner and prioritizing the delivery of positive feedback are all sure ways to boost employee morale.