Being a manager, supervisor, mentor, or team lead carries a lot of weight.  You are responsible for making sure that your team gets work done, on time, with quality.  Morale is something that feeds into this heavy.  A happier team is generally more motivated to go the extra mile, and work that little bit harder.  Studies show that more money doesn’t necessarily equal to more happiness among employees, so simply giving people raises isn’t enough.  As some of Dan Ariely’s studies have shown, large amounts of money do not equal more performance, and may actually be inversely proportional.  Don’t get me wrong, money is good, and having enough of it is a requirement- because I need enough to keep a roof over my head, food on the table, and a safe car to drive.  So, enough money is a requirement.  But it’s not really a motivator.

So, what’s a person to do?  How do you get people to work harder, faster, better?

5 Tips to Boost Employee Morale

  1. Get to know your employees.  Find out about their family’s names, and ask how they’re doing.  I know about all of my Employees’ significant others, and ask about them.  I also make sure I keep up with what’s going on in their lives.  
  2. Remember, and Acknowledge Milestones.   If you do something as simple as having the team sign a card for a colleague who’s getting married, having a baby, or whose wife has cancer, it means the world to them.  It is not expensive, and cards can be had for .50 each at Dollar Tree.  Show people that you care.
  3. Take them to lunch once a year.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but my team really appreciates the one time per year that I take them out to lunch.  Some of my former interns will weasel themselves a lunch invite for that luncheon each year.
  4. Get the team to organize weekly team ice-cream parties.  In my office, Ice Cream Fridae, Wafters, and The Donut Club are all employee started, and run.  You get on the signup list, and bring in ice cream every few months(or doughnuts, or snacks, or some such).  It means that the team gets together to socialize and blow off stress once a week. I’ve found that the weekly cadence is wonderful, because it’s just often enough that people remember to bring in stuff, but not so often that we wear people out.
  5. Eat Lunch With Your Team. You can decide how much socializing you want to do, but make a point of eating lunch with the team every so often.  The employees really appreciate the attention, and it’s a good opportunity to build rapport.

So many simple ideas, so little time.  Note that none of these take particularly large amounts of money.  I do lots of little things, and could go on for days about the ideas- paper on the walls to color on, snacks in my office,  and the yearly fish or treat party at Hallowe’en.  Not a lot of money, but a huge morale booster for the entire group.