When thinking about morale in the workplace, we can define it as "the level of satisfaction felt by a person or group of people who work together."
Other broader definitions talk about the amount of confidence felt by individuals or teams, particularly when times are tough.
As with our personal lives, our workdays may hit the occasional bump. Your organisation won’t be able to control everything that may affect how your employees feel – think economic, social, political and environmental factors… not to mention potential global pandemics...
However, there are certain buffers you can put in place to keep employees engaged and motivated when challenges arise. Employee rewards can inspire your staff to think of creative solutions to problems, instead of heading for the downward spiral that so many companies suffer when they don't invest in their people. That's because morale is, in essence, a reflection of your people's mental wellbeing, and if it takes a continuous bashing, productivity and profitability will quickly suffer.
A mentally healthy workplace and increased employee engagement are interdependent – by looking after employee's mental wellbeing, staff morale and loyalty, innovation, productivity and profits will rise. – Deloitte
Creating a personalised strategy to reward employees for positive behaviour and meaningful contributions to your business will help to build a strong relationship and fortify your organisation's culture, encouraging engagement and continuous effort and loyalty.
Let's take a look at the different types of incentives and rewards you can apply to help employees cope with stress, stretch their salaries further, improve their skills and catch a well-deserved break.
Encourage work/life balance through employee rewards
We spend a lot of time at work, and whilst it's fantastic to have high-performers who are keen to go above and beyond to get tasks completed, burnout can often sneak up on even the most resilient employees.
Providing your staff with opportunities to work from home or take advantage of flexible working hours can be incredibly positive for their morale. Such opportunities can enable employees to tackle their personal admin or watch their child's sports game without feeling anxious about stepping out of the office.
Providing gym memberships or tokens towards holidays will help to take care of your staff's physical and mental wellbeing by encouraging them to set time aside for themselves and their health and recreation.
Help with money worries
Pay rises and bonuses are not always sustainable for business, and sometimes, monetary rewards aren't a useful tool for motivation. You can, however, help your employees to stretch their salaries a little further by offering gift cards, vouchers or prepaid cards that they can use towards groceries or treats for themselves and the family.
Breaks and days out
We've all had a monotonous spell where the days seem to roll into one, and everything feels like an endless to-do list. Providing your employees with the opportunity to go to the cinema or have a fun experience that resonates with their interests can be a welcome change.
These kinds of rewards can be personalised to support employee's goals or hobbies, or they can involve the whole team to help with bonding and instilling camaraderie.
Enhance their skills
Lack of confidence often stems from a knowledge gap. In a world where the skills we require to perform at our optimum are continuously evolving, it's essential to help your employees feel empowered and equipped to deal with these demands.
Invest in staff by providing learning opportunities, courses or mentorships with more senior employees. You'll find that when your team's skills are up to date, their output and overall job satisfaction increases.
Everyone has days which hold significant meaning to them: birthdays, wedding anniversaries, work anniversaries, milestones and other personal achievements. When managers and colleagues take a little time out to give congratulations to one another, it helps everyone to feel acknowledged and appreciated. You can give cards, gifts, treats and team lunches.
It's important to remember that for your reward scheme to be truly effective, it has to be implemented strategically. This means you need to identify the core challenges you are trying to address and the goals you would like to achieve through incentivising positive behaviour in your organisation.
At Sodexo, we've spent a lot of time researching employee motivation and helping companies of all sizes to create corporate cultures that reflect their values and intentions as businesses.
If you'd like to see a long term improvement your employees' morale, get in touch with us today. We can show you how these rewards can help you to transform your workplace into one where staff support and encourage each other while maintaining high levels of productivity.