Everyone gets down once in a while, and small business owners and employees are no exception. Maybe stress is high while revenue is low. Maybe your team isn’t feeling as motivated as usual. Whatever the cause, it’s important to take morale into account, because if you’ve noticed there’s a problem, chances are good that your customers have, too.
We all know the cure for low morale is an all-expenses-paid vacation to a tropical beach and an endless supply of rum-based cocktails served with tiny umbrellas, but most small businesses can’t foot the bill for that.
If you’re having a morale issue, here are our best tips to solve it — without breaking the bank.
Catch Your Employees Doing Something Well
As business owners, we’re conditioned to look for problems. What can go wrong, who’s at fault and what can we do to fix it?
Instead, consider shifting your mindset. Don’t look for problems — look for successes. Actively try to “catch” your team members doing something well, then recognize them for it. As individual employees begin noticing that their co-workers are being celebrated, it will make them want the atta-boy, too, leading to increased productivity and a happier environment.
You don’t have to break out the brass band or host a ticker-tape parade every time someone does their job well; a simple company-wide email pointing out how effectively Jill handled the Clemson account, or a tray of sandwiches in the breakroom thanking Jack for picking up the slack when another team member was out sick will do the trick.
Institute an Open-Door Policy
One of your biggest obligations as a small business owner should be listening to your employees — but can you hear them through your heavy office door?
Let your team know that you’re there for them. Encourage them to come to you with questions, comments or concerns … and take action when they do. Just knowing that the big boss is on their side and willing to work with them can have a positive impact on morale.
Provide Some Creature Comforts
A dimly lit closet that doubles as a breakroom and a water cooler in the hallway doesn’t exactly scream “creature comforts.” These people are working hard for you, so the least you can do is spring for a few upgrades.
This doesn’t have to be expensive. Hit up thrift stores or outlet malls for some comfier furnishings. Add a splash of color to the walls. Pick up a foosball table and host weekly competitions at lunchtime. When employees have a place to relax and de-stress in their downtime, their spirits will skyrocket.
Shake Things Up a Bit
Monotony is a huge cause of low morale. It gets boring doing the same thing every single day. Sometimes, everyone needs a change.
Is it possible for some of your team to work from home on alternating days of the week? Can you switch job duties up periodically, rotating everyone to different stations rather than insisting they do only the job they were hired to do? Even just setting aside two hours on a Friday afternoon and allowing your team to rearrange their desks can be the spark that reignites your workforce!
Don’t Be a Scrooge
Small businesses come stock with small budgets, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to create a “fun” fund. Spring for Starbucks every once in a while. Keep an eye on Groupon for deals on team activities like miniature golf, laser tag or escape rooms. Keep a stash of “just because” low-denomination gift cards for lunch, frozen yogurt, music or movies handy and dole them out as a surprise or a reward for a job well done.
You don’t need to go broke trying to improve employee morale. Sometimes, you don’t need to spend any money at all — but even if you do shell out some green to create happier employees, you’ll make your money back easily in increased sales and productivity. As the saying goes — “Happy employees make happy customers!”
At Mischa Communications, our job is to make your job easier. Get in touch today and let us know how we can help your small business become even better!