Careers and work-life in general can be stressful for everyone involved, but encouraging a positive work environment is likely to increase productivity and teamwork. Happy employees are on average 12 percent more productive than their less happy counterparts.

If you’re tasked with a leadership role, how can you improve employee morale?

Read on to learn why and how setting a positive tone is an extremely important step to ensure that your business is successful.

Showing Recognition Yields Impressive Results

Most employees simply need to be told that their hard work is appreciated. As a leader, expressing your thanks and giving recognition can do wonders for the morale of your company.

Nearly 90 percent of employees who received recognition or thanks from their boss in the past month indicated higher levels of trust in that boss. Among employees who received no recognition, only 48 percent indicated they trusted their higher-ups. What does trust have to do with employee morale? Well, a National Study conducted by Ultimate Software revealed that 93% of employees say that trust in their direct boss is essential to staying satisfied at work.

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Whether it’s through saying “thank you” for hard work or sending out a company-wide memo recognizing certain employees, you need to show gratitude for your team’s work if you want to move towards a happier and more productive work environment.

Workers who feel underappreciated tend to move on to a new place of employment. You don’t want to lose good people simply because they feel neglected or that their work is done in vain.

Express your thanks as often as possible and use words of encouragement whenever you can. This simple act can make a huge difference when it comes to creating a positive workplace vibe.

To boost employee morale, express thanks and sincere appreciation on a regular basis. This positivity will grow, and you’ll likely notice an improvement in other employees, too.

Set Goals and Give Rewards

Studies emphasize that 78% of workers work harder and with more drive when their efforts are being rewarded for reaching specific goals. 90% of employees who work in organizations with effective rewards programs agreed with the statement “my work makes a difference”

Whether it’s hitting a specific sales number or finishing a major project, every company should have specific goals to reach. When you work with a team, setting goals can encourage everyone to work together in order to reach them.

If workers are struggling, ask them how you can assist so that everyone is working in sync to get the goal accomplished.

A hands-off approach can lead to discouragement and a feeling of neglect. Instead, find out what you can do as a business leader to get the goal met so that everyone is happy at the end of the day.

Make the goals clear, set firm deadlines, and then let your employees get to work. And, when that goal is met, make sure you follow through with a reward.

You can reward employees by buying them lunch, offering an extra vacation day, or giving them the opportunity to come in late on Mondays. As long as everyone knows that there’s a common goal with a reward at the end, you’ll be surprised at just how much easier it is to get things accomplished as a team. It is important to note that 65% of employees prefer non-cash incentives so, although a little extra money may seem like a great idea – it pays off to choose rewards that are not financially driven and more experience-based.

When you set goals, it gives employees something to strive for. The goal is for the benefit of your business, but it should also benefit your employees too.

Improve Employee Morale with an Open Door Policy

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Too often, employees feel that they can’t express themselves either because their company leadership is inaccessible, or because they’re afraid of retribution. Listening is a trait that 88% of employees value in a boss. However, only 60% of employees say their managers listen to them.

You can change this by being open, honest, transparent and accessible to all of your employees.

A leader needs to be someone that people can trust and confide in. When you offer an “open-door policy,” you’re letting your employees know they can come to you with their concerns at any time regarding the company and their professional development.

When a person can talk to their boss openly, it leads to positive and often fruitful discussions. In some cases, you might even find out there were problems within your company you simply weren’t aware of.

Offer your ear to your employees and let them know that you’re always there if they need to talk. Be an active listener and not just a sounding board.

When you practice empathy-based listening, you can create positive policy changes without using a stern hand. This open and honest environment creates a dialogue between leadership and workers that is certain to boost morale.

Engaging with your employees is the key to a happy workplace. When you show concern and care, you’re fostering an environment of happiness and trust which can lead to higher productivity.

High Morale Equals Success

From setting goals to offering more personalized attention, it’s not too difficult to improve employee morale. These simple steps can help steer you in the right direction and foster a sense of happiness and gratitude in the workplace.

Always offer a helping hand and a listening ear so that your employees see you as more than just a boss. Your goal is to be a true leader and to foster that positive environment so that everyone benefits.

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