It’s written all over their faces. Boredom, exhaustion, and a general attitude that screams “I’m over it!” Sure, the office mood often fluctuates, but something is different these days—perhaps because the morale has been low for weeks. Before your team members start putting time on your calendar to “talk, and just discuss the future of my role here at the company,” you must turn the ship around.
“Executives set the tone and example for the behaviors and the values. When employees see values and expected behaviors being modeled in positive and visible ways, it sends a strong message,” said Kirsten Davidson, Head of Employer Brand at Glassdoor.
New research from Glassdoor’s Dr. Andrew Chamberlain reveals that employees are willing to sacrifice their work-life balance for a leader they believe in. So while you may hear whispers at the watercooler, know that they will rally behind a visionary leader.
Therefore, you’ve got to take action quick. Here are 7 simple ways to increase employee morale and performance without giving a raise:
1. Show them you care.
Instead of sneaking into your corner office or running meetings as usual, address the elephant in the room. Call out the less-than-ideal circumstances at the company and prove to your team that you’re not oblivious to their concerns. Directly address issues whether they be compensation, poor reviews, sliding performance, stressful culture or a loss of quality of life. This will earn you major points and allow you to begin the rebuilding process.
2. Give them something to believe in and work towards.
Most office environments are goal oriented, so give them something positive to inspire them. While you may not be able to give everyone a raise, incentivize their work with additional days off, gift cards or even benefits. Remember, you can’t diminish the importance of recognition and appreciation as integral components of a winning reward strategy.
3. Ask for their input.
Get feedback on how the culture could be improved or put out a call for suggestions on how to nip monotony in the bud. Here at Glassdoor and other successful companies, we do regular, all-company surveys to take the pulse. Try a 10-questions SurveyMonkey poll of employees, which will allow for anonymous and thoughtful feedback.
4. Celebrate work anniversaries.
At Facebook, the staff celebrates Face-versaries which are the anniversaries of employees, complete with a numerical, mylar balloon and a card from the leadership team. Take inspiration from this and jot down your employees’ start dates. Be sure to acknowledge them with a morning meeting shout-out or even flowers. Company loyalty should always be recognized.
5. Give your team the afternoon off “just because.”
If you’ve checked the calendar and notice that there are no more important meetings for the day and it’s 1pm, just tell everyone to go home. This random act of kindness will endear the team to you and undoubtedly give them the temporary boost that they need.
6. Be transparent.
“Time and time again, I’ve found that the best teams are built by leaders who encourage and embrace feedback and transparency,” said Robert Hohman, CEO of Glassdoor. “Honest and open communication is key to making sure you operate as a team, and that everyone feels their opinions and ideas are heard and valued. Transparency should be in your DNA, both as a business and as an employer.”
7. Organize an inexpensive activity.
Few things boost morale quite like a team happy hour or trip to the local bowling alley. Break out of the confines of the office in order to relax and recalibrate with your team. Teams at PayPal go out for quarterly happy hours and MSLGROUP public relations agency organized for the staff to go to San Francisco Giants games. Whatever you do, just make it fun. Davidson adds, “When employees are on teams where they feels supported and allowed to authentically show up and contribute, you see higher levels of performance.”