How to boost employee morale is a common question among business owners, and it’s a theme we’ve discussed quite a bit on this blog, including this post on team-building ideas and this post on creating community outreach programs.
Sometimes, however, you need a list of a bunch of ideas, knowing that you won’t implement all of them but also understanding that one great idea often sparks another.
Here’s a list of 19 quick-hitting ideas to boost employee morale and to inspire you further.
1. Give employees their birthdays off. An oldie, but goodie, and it can take the sting out of growing another year older.
2. Provide one “play” day a quarter. Not a sick day. Not a personal day. Not a vacation day. We’re talking a day where an employee is encouraged to take the day off to do something fun.
3. Offer matching contributions to charities. Your employee chooses the charity, and you agree to match their donation (up to a certain dollar amount).
4. Create a charitable foundation. A company that gives back is a win-win for everyone, and it can foster a feeling of goodwill among employees because who doesn’t want to work for a company that isn’t a slave to the almighty dollar and bottom line? Your company’s charitable foundation could manage the idea we had in #3 and support a different “cause” each year (employees could vote/weigh in on this decision from year to year). Of course, there are tax benefits to doing this as well.
5. Give turkeys at Thanksgiving. OK, maybe not actual turkeys, but providing employees with gift cards to their local supermarket is always a welcome present.
6. Cater lunch once a quarter or even once a month. Free food is always a great incentive and it encourages socialization.
7. Host a parking lot BBQ in the summer. Sunshine is good for the soul. Getting your employees outside in the fresh air for some fun and relaxation can help give their brains a much-needed break (which will help everyone when they finally get back in front of their computers or out on the road). We did an event like this last June, and it was a HUGE hit with our employees. Include a small souvenir for the event like custom koozies with the event date and your logo.
8. Offer a Friday ice cream social (and not just in the summer). Making sundaes helps bring out the kid in all of us. That’s a good thing.
9. Take them out to a ball game. Group events can be a great way to build camaraderie. Promote team spirit by handing out screen printed t-shirts or promotional hats for everyone to wear. Change up the events throughout the year so that you can cover a variety of interests (for example, have a group outing to the latest blockbuster film or a trip to a local museum).
10. Encourage the idea of a company softball team (or some other sport, such as soccer). This builds camaraderie among your employees (and it has health benefits to boot).
11. Host a Weight Watcher meeting. Announce it to ALL employees (don’t single anyone out), and ask for people to sign up. (This type of idea works well in January.)
12. Provide wellness benefits. We’re talking about something that goes beyond medical insurance. Perhaps it’s a discount for a gym membership or Zumba classes or stocking the company cafeteria with healthful snacks and drinks. Learn more ideas from this article we wrote where we interviewed business owners on how they encourage health and wellness in their organizations.
13. Spruce up work spaces for spring. Surprising employees with bouquets of tulips or daffodils in their cubes around springtime is a great way to brighten people’s days. You’ll hear the smiles in their voices.
14. Close shop Christmas week. We know this idea won’t work for every type of company (such as retailers), but for many organizations, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is typically slow. Why not officially shut down and give everyone the week off?
15. Offer telecommuting options/flex schedules. And encourage people to take advantage of them! (The worst thing you could do is offer it on paper but then create an ultra-competitive environment where no one wants to be out of the office.)
16. Let ‘em stay home to work during bad weather. Whether it’s a snowstorm or hurricane, make it a rule that employees can work from home during inclement weather (working parents will especially appreciate this when school is cancelled).
17. Don’t forgo the holiday party. When budgets are tight, holiday parties are often the first thing to be slashed, which can have a dramatic negative effect on company morale. If your organization can’t afford the traditional soiree it’s always held in the ballroom of the fancy hotel in town, then simply work at changing the vibe and location. The holidays are about togetherness and celebration, and that certainly can be done with a potluck holiday party hosted at someone’s home.
18. Offer business casual Fridays during the summer. Another oldie, but goodie. Change up the idea by throwing in a “Hawaiian shirt day” and give a prize for the best Hawaiian shirt.
19. Recycle. From paper to water bottles, make sure your organization has a sound policy when it comes to recycling. It shows your company cares about the environment, and, while subtle, it’s these sorts of initiatives that can create a positive corporate culture.
Have you used any of these ideas to boost employee morale? Do you have other methods that have proven effective? We want to hear them. Share your ideas in the comments.