All 10 Ways To Boost Employee Morale in the Workplace: Actionable Tips 2024
All HR and Workplace

10 Ways To Boost Employee Morale in the Workplace: Actionable Tips 2024

Author: Ravijojla Novakovic Last updated: March 5, 2024 Reading time: 15 minutes

We have recently seen how important employee morale is to the workplace. During COVID-19 and with the emergence of remote work, many companies faced tough decisions and tried to lift their employees’ spirits amidst times of uncertainty. 


Low workplace morale reflects decreased productivity, disengaged employees, and more. Overall, it has a negative effect on the workplace and, consequently, on the business results. 

This article will show you the benefits of high employee morale, how to detect low workplace morale, and how to boost it.  

Before we start, make sure to get our Employee Recognition Playbook and start appreciating your employees’ hard work. 

What Is Employee Morale? 

employee morale definition

Employee morale is defined as employees’ capacity to keep their faith in their organization and its goals.

It is especially prominent in the face of hardship, like many employers have seen during the COVID-19 crisis and now that they are back to work after it. 

However, low workplace morale can occur during “regular” times, which is detectable in employees’ behavior.

Employees who complain about the company’s policies, work facilities management, or something else related to the workplace are usually the ones with low morale. 

In that sense, extremely low morale is easy to detect and will probably go hand-in-hand with high turnover and decreased productivity.

More commonly, employee morale is neither at its highest nor at its lowest. However, boosting employee morale is always good as it benefits your company and workforce. 

Causes of Poor Employee Morale

what are the causes of employee morale

Before diving into the ways to build morale at work, it is essential to understand the factors contributing to low employee morale.

Knowing the causes can help you detect the root of the problem, making it easier for you to introduce proper solutions.

1. Poor leadership

Bad leadership is one of the most common reasons that can lead to low morale among employees, as the decisions and how the leader leads the team impact the work of all team members.

Leadership is essential for any organization. Leaders are the ones who show the way to the goal, support, and guide employees in mastering daily tasks, and help employees overcome the challenges they face.

Bad leadership implies that the person who heads the team lacks communication skills and emotional intelligence, is not adept at listening, engages in micromanagement, and erodes the enthusiasm and motivation of the team.

An organization led by managers who fail to effectively and efficiently guide employees through the work process leads to frustration and low levels of employee satisfaction.

2. Job insecurity

Employees who constantly feel worried about their jobs can’t be productive or happy in the workplace.

In order to have a positive company culture, every business needs employees who are in a good mental space and aren’t grappling with emotions of insecurity that may get in the way of finishing their jobs in a quality manner.

Job insecurity can be a huge killer of positive company morale, as employees who are in constant fear of losing their jobs may experience both mental and physical distress. Given that employment is a huge part of human existence, even the mere thought of job loss can contribute to low employee morale.

3. Excessive workload

Company morale can also be destroyed by unevenly distributed work among employees.

Overworked employees are at risk of suffering from burnout, which will not only adversely affect the quality of work but may also negatively affect employees’ physical and mental health.

Managers must know how to properly distribute work so that each employee has the space to complete the work in a timely manner and not feel burned out.

4. Lack of work-life balance

Healthy work-life balance is a top priority for many people. However, work responsibilities can often influence employees’ private lives, contributing to reduced job satisfaction.

Therefore, make sure to encourage employees to set boundaries between work and their private lives, ask for employee feedback on how much work can realistically be done in a certain period of time, and set expectations for when employees are expected to be present in front of screens, especially if you collaborate with remote employees.

5. Unfair pay

Less than 75% of individual contributors and supervisors believe they are paid fairly.

Paying employees unfairly can lead to various problems in the organization. Employees who perceive they are being paid less than they deserve may not invest enough effort and attention in their work.

Additionally, unequal pay can foster a sense of hatred and hostility among employees, resulting in poor relations.

Managers should maintain transparency regarding employee pay to prevent feelings of favoritism and frustration.

6. Unclear expectations

Employees must know what is expected of them in the workplace to know where to direct their efforts and attention.

When employees are not aware of the goals for a particular project, they may go astray and dedicate themselves to activities that are not a priority, thereby wasting valuable resources.

If you want to boost company morale, the management must clearly present the tasks and objectives and explain to staff members what their primary responsibilities are.

This will improve the way of working and enable employees to work without obstacles, allowing them to fulfill their obligations promptly and accurately.

7. Toxic competition among colleagues

If the environment in which your employees work fosters unhealthy competition among them, many will feel insecure, unsupported, and unhappy.

While healthy competition between employees can stimulate positive motivation to achieve goals, managers must know how to set boundaries and ensure that competition does not escalate into sabotage between employees.

When employees sense they are working in a toxic environment with no opportunities for advancement, they become demotivated, do not perform at their best, and eventually leave the organization.

8. Poor communication

Poor communication in the workplace can be fatal for a company or organization. It can lead to various misconceptions and create dilemmas and dissatisfaction among employees. Good communication is critical to every aspect of business.

If employers manage to convey each piece of information clearly and accurately, it will save them from problems that may arise due to ambiguities caused by poor communication.

How To Boost Employee Morale

If you want to boost positive employee morale, you must know that it is not a one-time event. As low workplace morale takes time to form, so does elevating it.

In that sense, applying numerous strategies to optimize your overall workplace culture is best to give your employees the experience they want and deserve. 

Note that in order for all these strategies to work, some basic conditions need to be met.

If your employees do not receive fair wages or if their work environment is improper, it is not likely that any of these strategies will work.

Your baseline of decent working conditions should be solid if you want to build upon it. 

1. Recognize your employees 

how employee recognition boosts employee morale

Employee recognition has numerous benefits for the workplace. The main logic behind it is simple – people like to be reassured that they are doing a good job and be appreciated for it.

Nobody works in a vacuum, and both peer-to-peer and top-down recognition have significant power to improve employee morale. 

In fact, 58% of employees say that their leaders could engage them better by recognizing them. Therefore, try appreciating your employees’ work simply by thanking them.

Even better, propose to set up an employee recognition program in your company and see your employees become vibrant and productive. 

2. Give regular feedback 

Your employees get demotivated, and their morale drops if they do not know if their performance is good. Continuous employee feedback has numerous benefits, and companies that apply regular feedback policies enjoy the presence of a constant improvement culture. 

In other words, taking an interest in your employees’ work and giving them your honest feedback lets them know that you want them to advance. In such a supportive environment, employee morale peaks. 

Here are some positive feedback examples you could use to increase workplace morale. Pro tip: They will be extra motivated if the feedback is public.

3. Organize team building 

Many HR Professionals believe that teams that play together work better together.

There are numerous examples of companies that continuously organize out-of-this-world team-building activities. Obviously, there is a reason for that. 

Team building activities in games and friendly competition push your employees to work together to win or solve problems.

Also, the relaxed team-building atmosphere creates a sense of community.

Overall, fun and games lift peoples’ spirits and effectively boost your employees’ morale. Try organizing team-building events they will love remembering. 

4. Facilitate wellbeing 

In some cases, wellbeing is crucial for your employees’ morale.

For example, during the COVID-19 crisis, employees were worried, stressed, and uncertain about their future.

That’s why many organizations go the extra mile to boost their employees’ morale. 

Employee wellbeing initiatives like mental health workshops or friendly competition in fitness goals among teams will create a sense of belonging in your employees.

Furthermore, your employees will appreciate your organization’s interest in their wellbeing and the proposal of such initiatives. 

Check out how our employee Wellbeing platform can help you boost employee morale. 

5. Remote work  

the impact of remote work on job satisfaction

Many employees want to have a remote working option. Allowing remote work is becoming the most desired work perk out there – and employers should follow.

Research shows that employees who work remotely at least one day a month are 20% more likely to be happy and productive. 

This is because by working remotely, employees can achieve a better work-life balance. Of course, there are other numerous benefits of remote work.

All of those advantages show that employees are happier and more satisfied when they have remote work options, which helps to improve workplace morale. 

6. Give opportunities for growth 

Employees who do not see themselves advancing their careers in your company might feel stuck and less motivated to work. Consequently, they will not believe in an organization that does not help its employees grow with it. 

Therefore, promote from within! Your employee morale and motivation for work will be at their highest if people know they are at a company that will recognize their effort and promote them. 

Moreover, the newest research on Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace shows that they are motivated by employee development opportunities the most.

7. Set clear goals 

One of the major obstacles to high employee morale is not knowing in which direction employees should go, what their goals are, and how they fit into the company’s vision.

In a sense, you have to contextualize your employees’ work and give it purpose. 

If they are orienting their work towards goals, employees work to meet them and derive a sense of pride and happiness in fulfilling their goals.

Furthermore, setting goals gives them criteria to self-evaluate their own work and makes their evaluation sessions with managers more productive. 

Check out these employee evaluation forms that can help you give useful feedback to your employees. 

8. Communicate the company’s values and vision 

Without seeing the bigger picture, employees will feel like their actions are directionless and lose their faith in your company.

Therefore, when setting your employees’ goals, you need to tie them to organizational ones. Your employees need to know how exactly they contribute to your company. 

Furthermore, you can communicate your company’s values and vision to employees on a regular basis.

This helps your employees align their values to organizational ones and, consequently, keep their belief in your company’s mission. 

Pro tip: check out what are employee communication basics and boost workplace morale by sending great employee newsletter.

9. Include leadership in your communication strategy 

Including leadership in your communication strategy is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to boost your employees’ morale.

Employees seek senior leaders to guide them in times of crisis and provide strategies for improving their situation. 

An email, video, or virtual talk with your company’s leaders could do wonders for your employees.

A majority of 81% of employees believe that CEOs who engage on social media are better equipped to lead companies, and 84% think that CEOs can build better relationships with employees by having a social media presence. 

10. Show empathy 

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has taught us all about the value of empathy. In companies worldwide, leaders understand their employees’ worries and give them emotional support.

By showing their human, empathetic side, they gained loyal employees who know their leaders stick with them through hard times. 

Therefore, ask your employees what they need from you and how you can support them. Besides, regularly checking your employees’ pulse allows you to detect your employees’ morale levels and react if needed. 

In that sense, showing your employees that you do not only care for their performance but also for their wellbeing and happiness is a great way to raise your employees’ morale.

Your employees want to belong to a community more than to a company. 

6 Benefits of High Workplace Morale 

benefits of high workplace morale

As we mentioned earlier, low employee morale has a profound effect on your workplace. Employees with low morale are less motivated and productive.

On the other hand, high employee morale goes hand-in-hand with many aspects of high-performing workplaces. 

Take a look at what benefits you can expect if you boost your employees’ morale. 

1. Improved productivity 

When people believe in your company’s mission and see themselves developing their careers with you, employee productivity is higher. More specifically, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability

2. Decreased absenteeism 

Absenteeism is costly – and a major cause of unplanned absenteeism is low employee morale. If your employees lack vision and motivation, they are more likely to avoid work in general.

High employee morale significantly increases your employees’ motivation to come to work and do their best. 

3. Higher retention 

According to research, highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than disengaged employees.

Knowing that high employee morale leads to employee engagement, it is clear that you need to amplify your employees’ morale if you want to optimize employee retention. 

4. Better customer service 

When their morale is high, your employees are more satisfied and happier with work. This shows in your customer service employees’ patience and will to solve your customers’ problems.

On the other hand, when your employee morale is low, your employees might be uninterested in doing their best and pleasing your customers. 

5. More creativity and innovation 

In a company with high employee morale, employees are motivated and eager to contribute to a company’s success.

According to research, 59% of engaged employees say that their job brings out their most creative ideas, compared to only 3% of disengaged employees.

6. Higher employee engagement

High employee morale leads to higher employee engagement. Employees who actively participate in the company’s workings by sharing ideas, offering solutions, and committing to their work help the company build a strong corporate culture and contribute to the company reaching its goals.

Test Employee Morale

Extremely low employee morale and incredibly high morale are fairly easy to detect. However, you have to survey your employees to find out the exact state of employee morale in your company. 

Find out how our employee survey platform Nurture helps to actively listen to your employees and better understand their engagement and morale levels. 

Here are some of the questions you can use to test your employees’ morale. 

  1. Do you like coming to work? 
  2. What do you like about your workplace the most? 
  3. How connected do you feel to your colleagues? 
  4. Would you say that the office atmosphere is friendly? 
  5. Is there anything that is stopping you from working the most productively you can? 
  6. What are our company’s values? 
  7. Do you feel that your personal values are reflected in our company’s values? 
  8. What demotivates you at your work? 
  9. Do you feel like your work is recognized by your colleagues and superiors? 
  10. Do you believe in our company’s statement? 
  11. Are you aware of how you contribute to this company’s success? 
  12. Do you feel respected in your workplace? 
  13. Do you feel our organization cares about you? 
  14. Do you have goals you are working towards in your job? 
  15. What do you think is the state of employee morale in our company? 
  16. How likely are you to recommend this organization to your friends and colleagues? Why? 
  17. What do you think our company could do to raise employee morale? 
  18. Do you feel like you get enough feedback on your work? 
  19. How meaningful do you find your work? 
  20. Are you satisfied with your work-life balance? 

Finally, as employee appreciation is the best way to raise workplace morale, find out how to implement an employee recognition program.

That way, you will reap all the before-mentioned benefits of a vibrant workplace with high employee morale. 

To Sum Up

Building strong employee morale is a continuous process encompassing multiple layers, from good leadership and strong management to employee care and support.

Maintaining employees’ faith in the company’s goals and vision is a big challenge because each employee is unique and driven by their own internal processes that motivate them.

However, there are several universal ways to maintain employee morale so that they remain motivated and satisfied with their jobs.

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