The global pandemic not only changed how we do business but also how we lead our teams, do our work, and how we boost employee morale. The career landscape has also changed with an increased demand for tech jobs and employees with new digital skills. Employees and organizations all around the world have embraced the “new normal” of remote or hybrid work.
Making the transition to a digital workspace was a challenge for many businesses. In a recent airSlate survey, we wanted to understand the answer to the question: How did US businesses pivot during the pandemic by using digital solutions? Our findings revealed that half of the businesses in the US had not digitized their operations nor had they planned to do so before the pandemic. Sadly, 74% of businesses had to shut down because they did not have the technology in place to digitize operations.
However, our findings also showed digital adoption helped US businesses pivot through COVID-19 and even increase productivity with software solutions such as eSignature, workflow automation, and PDF editing. Over half of the businesses surveyed had implemented eSignature during the pandemic and noted a boost in efficiency. Embracing technology and digital processes is a must in this new era of remote and hybrid work.
A quick look at mental health and the “new normal”
Many employees embraced the flexibility of being able to work from home and have found a way to stay connected to their team. However, many have also experienced video conferencing fatigue from being on video calls every day. This is coupled with feelings of isolation and anxiety, and blurred boundaries from always being connected to work and technology. Unfortunately, this has taken a toll on many people’s mental health and wellbeing.
According to a recent Forbes survey, 80% of today’s remote workers would consider leaving their current role for a position that focused more on employees’ mental health. So, what does this mean for teams and businesses today? It’s time to prioritize employee mental health and be intentional about boosting employee morale to promote a positive experience and increase employee engagement at work.
What is morale?
First, let’s look at team morale meaning. According to Forbes, the employee morale definition is “the attitude, satisfaction, and overall outlook of employees during their association with an organization or a business.”
Why employee morale is a must in 2022
Early in the pandemic, businesses were forced to go digital. Thus they started looking for tools like eSignature alternatives, workflow automation tools, and others to survive. Today, employees must focus on creating team morale to flourish. Recent surveys have shown that productivity rises when employees work from home.
A Stanford University study of remote workers even found that the increase in productivity is equal to an extra day per person per week. Sometimes however, this productivity may come at a cost. To prevent burnout and to retain the best talent at your company, let’s look at how to boost morale at work.
Ready to dive in?
If you’re in any kind of leadership role or want to be — from CEO or director to manager or team lead — this post is for you. Keep reading to learn more about how you can boost employee morale to keep your teams and business moving forward — whether working in person or remotely. After all, an optimistic corporate culture makes for a productive work environment.
How to evaluate employee morale?
Let’s review a few methods for measuring office morale so you can use data to prove its value. Here at airSlate, we often use employee surveys and 360 performance reviews to get a read on employee morale and wellbeing. If a company-wide survey isn’t the right fit for you, consider conducting one-on-one interviews or small group/team interviews to check up. A review of employment history and company records will give you a good idea of how long people tend to stay at your company as well as the type of feedback HR receives during exit interviews. A physical or virtual suggestion box can also give you insight into low morale at work.
Why do we have low morale at work?
There are many contributing factors to low morale levels at an office. Here are some of the top reasons:
- Poor leadership or leadership changes
- Lack of clarity or a failure to understand business goals
- Inability to grow within the company
- No trust or communication
- Not providing employees with the right tools or technology
- Lack of praise or thanks
What does low morale at work look like? Watch out for low productivity, interpersonal conflicts, uncooperative attitudes, lack of enthusiasm, minimal effort, fault-finding, missed deadlines, and more. An increased number of customer complaints received and a high employee turnover rate can also be a determining factor.
If you recognize any of these traits in your team or company, the good news is there are solutions and strategic ways to boost morale at work. With patience and persistence, you can give your team or company the morale boost it needs.
12 ways to boost employee morale
Let’s walk through how to boost employee morale.
- Clear and transparent – Leaders need to be honest and not hide problems. Instead, leaders should inform employees about company updates, share customer feedback and work together to fix any issues. Leaders can build trust and shape change by turning challenges into learning opportunities.
- Consistent (and fun) communication – Don’t be afraid to share positive announcements and other non-serious communication that people can interact with like funny polls or GIFs, or a personal thank you video from the CEO. This creates a sense of connection and transparency with leaders.
- Intentional connection – To stay connected in a remote or hybrid workspace, leaders should consider creating open online office hours as a way to reestablish “watercooler” chats, allowing employees to pop in, share updates, and get assistance if needed. Managers should also build weekly touchpoints into their schedules to connect with each of their team members and check in on workloads and people’s work-life balance.
- Flexibility and support – Think of all the unique types of stress people are feeling now—from childcare needs and caretaking responsibilities of elderly or sick family members to always being connected with work. Employees would greatly benefit if organizations can expand support resources or provide care stipends to help ease burdens. Smaller things, like schedule flexibility, can make a huge difference as well.
- Promote work-life balance – Productivity is important, but so is knowing when to take a break. Your employees will look to managers and leaders as an example and for permission to take time off (hint: not a “working vacation”). If employees have completed a particularly stressful or busy season, leaders can promote or even incentivize leave usage, share staycation ideas, or reward hard work with additional time off around holidays.
- Invest in your employees – Prioritize training, mentoring, and continuing education opportunities for career growth and development. Companies with mentorship programs find that retention is 25% higher for employees involved in mentoring. This could also look like ensuring employees are set up for success in their work environment or home office with the equipment and resources they need to be productive.
- Prioritize mental health – The Harvard Business Review found that almost half of their survey respondents felt their mental health had declined since the pandemic began. And another study found that 75% of workers in the US struggled with anxiety at work due to the pandemic and other world events. Consider providing counseling services or mental health resources. And make sure managers and leaders check-in and connect with employees in a meaningful way.
- Health and safety – Provide all the information people need with regards to their health benefits and make it easily accessible. Offer whatever wellness perks you can like gym memberships, yoga classes, healthy snacks in the breakroom, or even a “bring your dog to work” day.
- Workplace recognition – Show employees are valued by welcoming new hires, celebrating personal milestones, and highlighting employee spotlights to share wins. A Gallup survey found employee recognition is not only motivating for the individual but also boosts productivity and loyalty to the company. This could look like a public announcement, a handwritten note, or even a LinkedIn recommendation to show appreciation.
- Create a culture of feedback – Leaders can show employees that they are heard and valued by providing ongoing feedback. Gallup found that “employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are 3X more likely to be engaged than those who receive feedback once a year or less.”
- Align on goals – When individuals are clear on their purpose and how their role aligns with the company’s mission, they will be more likely to go above and beyond with enthusiasm. And, when teams have clear goals and KPIs, they will be more confident in their performance and share a sense of belonging.
- Provide the right tools and technology – Equipping and enabling teams with technology is about maximizing their time and making their lives easier and better. It’s about automating repetitive tasks to create space in their day and ultimately save your company money. Deploy automation tools like pdfFiller’s editing solution, signNow eSignature workflows, and airSlate’s business automation to increase productivity and efficiency.
Which morale booster will you choose to get started?
At airSlate, we have multiple offices around the world and many hybrid and remote employees. You’ll often see managers and colleagues offering “shoutouts” and “thank you’s” via Slack and email. Throughout the year, airSlate surprises us with company swag gifts sent to our homes like t-shirts, coffee tumblers, or backpacks. Our team enjoyed a Zoom Christmas party complete with a Secret Santa gift exchange across the country. A few times a year, we’ll even have a company-wide social event or virtual team-building activity like a cocktail-making class, a virtual escape room, and an improv performance — all with options to participate in-person or remote.
Boosting morale doesn’t have to be expensive. Just make sure your efforts are consistent. Clear internal communication is motivating (and free). Thank you notes only take a few minutes to write, and being genuine and transparent creates lasting trust. The goal is to create a sense of belonging and an environment where people believe in the organization and feel valued and engaged.
The bottom line: Happy people contribute more
Did you know: only 38% of US employees feel engaged at work? That means “the remaining 62% of workers are ‘not engaged’ — they are psychologically unattached to their work and company.”
Morale boosters for employees are an ongoing effort that builds employee engagement, leading to a greater commitment to their work and company, and ultimately, increased productivity. Companies with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable and retention rates are 18% higher.
Forbes describes a link between the employee experience and customer experience. Businesses that excel in customer experience have employees who are 60% more engaged. And best of all, “Companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%.” Why? As Marriott International founder J.W. Marriott said, “Take care of associates and they’ll take care of your customers.”
How will you boost morale?
Everyone is working long and hard hours, and businesses are growing faster than ever. As you look at how to boost morale and employee engagement, consider what kind of experience and work environment you want. What are others in your industry doing that could inspire you? How do your employees feel each day in their roles? How are you rewarding your teams? How can you tie your organizational values into morale boosters?
Here’s what we aim for at airSlate: Hire good people, enable them by providing the resources they need, and create a positive space where everyone feels confident performing at their very best.
As always, we are here to help if you are looking for ways to streamline and automate your business processes. Learn more about our time-saving productivity tools like our eSignature solution, PDF editor, or workflow automation platform.
- A quick look at mental health and the “new normal”
- What is morale?
- Why employee morale is a must in 2022
- How to evaluate employee morale?
- Why do we have low morale at work?
- 12 ways to boost employee morale
- Which morale booster will you choose to get started?
- The bottom line: Happy people contribute more
- How will you boost morale?