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If you’ve ever tried to manage a group of people, you know how important morale is to productivity. A highly motivated team of employees is always going to be much more productive and effective than a group with low morale, significantly so. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your workers are content with high morale. Happy employees will work harder and more efficiently and can pull together in difficult times instead of breaking apart. Paying attention to employee morale will also make you a more appealing location for skilled and experienced workers looking for a new job, as well as helping you to retain the talented employees that you already have. This gives you a competitive edge over other companies in your marketplace and helps you to succeed where others might fail. Here are a few ways you can boost your employee morale.

Be Sure To Communicate
Nobody likes to be left out of the loop, and your employees are no exception. This is especially true when things are bad. Being open and transparent with your workers shows them that you respect them, and will earn their respect in return. It can also help to reassure them when times are tough. If you make sure that they know you’re on top of things and you have a plan, it will keep morale from getting too low. Don’t forget to communicate positive things too! If things are going well, your workers will want to hear about it. Shout out to employees who are doing particularly good jobs, and congratulate your workers when they achieve goals.

Don’t Forget To Listen
Building off the last point, don’t forget that communication is a two-way street! Not only should you be informing your workers of everything relevant going on in the company, but you should also be listening to what they have to say. Your employees might have an insight that you hadn’t noticed or considered, which can be useful. Listening to them also helps to build morale by making sure they feel heard and respected. Make sure they know that they’re valued members of your team, and you care about what they have to say. This also helps them feel like they have more of a stake in what’s going on, which will encourage them to be more productive.

Offer Opportunities For Growth
One great way to get your employees to “buy-in,” so to speak, is to make sure that there are always obvious opportunities for them to grow their careers within your company. This can mean opportunities for promotion, or also just the chance to take on new responsibilities, attend conferences, and make their way up the ladder. The truth is, if your employees feel like they’re stuck in their current position, then they don’t have much of an incentive to work hard and commit to the company. Make sure that they know productivity will be rewarded, and offer them the chance to take control of their own destiny within the workplace.

Train Your Managers Well
Part of being in charge of a group of people is understanding that the buck stops when it hits your desk. This means that even if your managers aren’t contributing to low employee morale, it’s still their responsibility to take care of it. It also means that it’s your responsibility to make sure they can handle that. Make a point of training your managers in communication, emotional intelligence, and motivational tactics. If you know your managers can handle making sure your employees are happy, then you don’t have to worry about it so much. If they can’t handle it, then you need to either do a better job of training them or just find some new managers who can.

 Encourage Your Workers To Take Breaks
It might sound a little counterintuitive, but frequent breaks can actually improve productivity for your employees. Nobody can work for eight hours straight, that’s just insane. Breaks are an important part of the work process and allow your workers to relax and refresh themselves. It’s important that your employees know that they’re encouraged to take frequent breaks, and won’t be punished for it. Forcing them to sit at their desks all day and work will only make morale worse, and the work will get sloppier and less creative. People need time away from their desks to shake things loose and think things through, so encourage it! Plus, it keeps your workers relaxed and happy, which is great for morale. It’s usually recommended to take a short break of a few minutes about once every hour, plus a lunch break of at least half an hour to an hour every day.

 Offer Incentives
If you’re looking for long-term solutions to morale problems, then your best bet is to do something to change the environment or culture of your workplace. But if you’re looking for something short-term to get you through a difficult period, then incentives are a great idea. It could be any number of things: pizza parties, casual Fridays, bringing in some puppies from the shelter. The important thing is that it gives your employees something to look forward to that distracts them from the grind of whatever it is they’re doing. You can also set up something that will help them blow off some steam and get out of the office, like corporate laser tag or other team-building exercises. Breaking up the grind is a great way to keep morale from getting too low in difficult periods, so don’t be afraid to come up with some incentives. You can even ask your employees what it is they’d like to do!

Figure Out How To Best Motivate Them
Every person is different, so what works for one group of employees might not work for another. It’s important to try to get to know your workers to figure out exactly what will help them stay happy and motivated. If you’re at a loss, you can try bringing in some prominent motivational speakers to help. These speakers are experts at helping your employees stay motivated and keeping morale up, so don’t be afraid to utilize them. They’re usually well worth the money.

No matter what you decide to do, employee morale is something that should always be on your mind when you’re thinking about running your team. Morale is kind of the intangible X factor for productivity. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve set up your business plans if your employees are miserable and unmotivated, so follow these tips and make sure you’re paying attention to how your workers are feeling. It could make the difference between success and failure for you.

Peter Davidson, Senior Business Associate – Twitter.

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