Is morale among your team waning, even though customer satisfaction or your bottom line is seeing an all-time high?

You can sense that some employees are burned out, and others are frustrated. Maybe you and your team members have lost sight of your organization’s bigger “why,” and you’re going through the motions every day.

Morale is defined as “the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group.” 

Team morale is crucial to the success of your organization, but how do you boost these dimensions of morale—confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline—among team members so that they’re encouraged and excited to show up to work every day? 

It’s easy to lose sight of how powerful small acts of encouragement can be for your team, but encouragement is the driver for reigniting team morale. So today, we’re sharing 6 ways to encourage teammates and get them excited again about the work they do! 

1. Identify your current work culture and what you’d like to be true about it.

To encourage employees, an important first step is to evaluate your work culture and define what you’d like it to be. 

Every company has a “work culture,” learned patterns or “norms” of behaviors, relationships,  values, and procedures within a business. This means your company has a work culture, even if you’ve never thought about it much. A company’s work culture can make or break its employees.

Although it might initially feel intangible, try to identify your current work culture. As a leader, this requires a lot of awareness about yourself and the company and conversations—even some difficult ones—with employees about how they experience you and the company. 

Then ask what you’d like to be true about your work culture. What would make your company the best place to work? Do you want people to be treated with respect, kindness, and compassion? Do you want to resist a culture of company gossip? How do you want to address an employee’s mistakes or incentivize their hard work? How will you ensure people receive equal treatment? Do you want employees to know more and care about one another? 

Create a values statement that reflects what you’d like to be true about your company’s culture. Then brainstorm actionable steps for helping everyone live out those values in the company. For example, we talk a lot about the importance of “adoption support” when implementing new solutions, but adoption support is also important when getting employees on board with company values! 

2. Decide how you will reward the good work people do. 

It’s easy to criticize. Discouragement sets in when an employee rarely receives an award or hears praise for their good work. They’re also less motivated to do good work because it feels like they will never do enough to win praise from their superiors. 

To ensure you’re encouraging your employees, occasionally ask yourself, “When’s the last time I recognized the good work employees have accomplished?” Then decide how you’ll reward them.

Be intentional about getting to know employees and how they like to be rewarded.

Some respond best to rewards like a bonus or gift. A gift doesn’t have to be extravagant. For example, you can send them an e-gift card for their favorite coffee shop after they wrap up a huge project on time with excellence. Leave a note or card on their desk recognizing how well they resolved a conflict with a coworker or client. 

Other employees respond best to words of affirmation. If they aren’t bothered by public recognition, occasionally send them an email or give them a shout-out in your team meeting for their good work. Be specific—share a story or give an example instead of making a general statement about their “good work.” 

Employees will work harder when you recognize what they get right—not just what they get wrong! 

3. Prioritize service not only to your customers but also to your employees.

“Customer service” is the focus of many books, blogs, and podcasts. Customer service and satisfaction drive business, which is related to encouraging your employees because they need to get paid! You might think about customer service and emphasize it a lot in your company.

But “employee service” is also integral to encouraging your team. 

The best leaders think of themselves as servants and advocates for their employees. While customer satisfaction is important, a temptation for leaders is to prioritize that above serving and protecting their employees.

The tragic result is overpromising to customers what employees can’t realistically deliver, which leads to discouragement, frustration, and burnout. 

By demonstrating your dedication to helping them, you can inspire staff. Here are some useful suggestions for supporting your employees: 

  • Communicate thoroughly and clearly any responsibilities and expectations you have for employees—confusion about an employee’s job description can be a major source of discouragement!

  • Make sure they have what they need to complete their work with excellence.

  • Don’t promise a deadline or deliverable to a client until you know your team can meet those demands.

  • Learn to love healthy conflict. Don’t gossip about employees or throw them under the bus in conversations with customers.

  • Fill a gap or meet a need when you see it, even if it’s not “your job” (because we all need help sometimes!).

  • Learn how to sense when extenuating circumstances affect an employee’s workday and mood. Then go out of your way to serve or encourage them. 

These small efforts to serve your employees will go a long way in boosting team morale. 

4. Nurture camaraderie among your team. 

Do you know your teammates—and do they know one another—beyond their roles at work? 

Another way to encourage employees is to provide opportunities to build camaraderie and care for each other.

For example, save time for a “water cooler talk” in your team meeting where employees take turns to share what’s going on in their lives outside of work. “Focus on You” is another method for quickly building trust. Based on research, Focus on You includes questions about what name employees prefer, passions and hobbies, a professional or personal milestone or goal, and what they do best. 

You can also cultivate a culture of camaraderie by leading the way. When a teammate has a big life event like graduating, getting married, buying a house, losing a loved one, or having a baby, think of ways your team can “show up” for them. Set up a meal train. Share gift ideas and have a party. 

These acts of kindness communicate to an employee that you care about them as a professional and a person. 

5. Create a comfortable work environment. 

A dimly lit office space with drab walls and an uncomfortable temperature can drain employee motivation. 

You might not have a huge budget for modernizing your office, but you can always make simple changes to your work environment, so it’s more inviting and comfortable for employees. For example, add a space for breaks where employees can read or socialize. Also, put benches or a picnic table outside where they can get fresh air. 

Get creative with this tip—don’t limit yourself to aesthetics. Tell employees they can wear more laid-back clothing to the office on Fridays, or provide lunch in-office from time to time! 

A lot of companies work remotely now. (Our team is spread across two continents, three countries, and 12 states!) If your company uses a remote or hybrid model for work, you’ll have to adapt this concept. Check out our blog post here about how to keep teammates engaged when working remotely! 

6. Give employees the freedom they need to thrive. 

We know you have to balance management and freedom in the workplace. Giving your employees the freedom they need to succeed greatly encourages them. It conveys your trust and confidence in their ability to contribute to the company’s goals. 

We wrote a whole blog post last month with practical ways to give your employees more freedom. We won’t belabor the point, but please check out our tips here—your employees will thrive when you give them the appropriate amount of freedom! 

We’re confident these 6 ways to encourage your team will go a long way in boosting employees’ confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline on and off the job! What are some of your favorite ways to encourage others at work? Comment below and share them with us and our readers!

As a reminder, we’re always here to help you get the most out of Salesforce, FinancialForce, and their supporting applications—our mentors will always bring an encouraging attitude, too! Just schedule a call today to learn more about our services. 

Kelsey Gibson