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Boosting Morale Ignites Success - Here's How

Category Article
Date 21 Mar 2024
Read Time 8 mins
Author Eleven Eleven

Photo by victor_g via Unsplash

Gone are the days of jovial banter around the water cooler, faded into distant memory along with cubicle farms and overhead projector presentations.

Replaced instead with remote working, 'You're on mute', and the unflattering camera freezes. With such changes, the challenge of maintaining morale has taken on a very different spin.

Additionally, with the level of growth, disruption, and change in the industry over the last 3 years, it's no surprise that workplace morale may be a little uncertain.

With remote and flexible working not going away any time soon and continued uncertainty around job security ahead, it's more important than ever to keep morale high in your workforce.

Why is boosting morale so critical? Studies have shown that a workforce with a higher morale is more productive and more profitable for the company in the long term. ran the following comparison to discover that companies regarded as the best places to work show a 300% increase in returns compared to the average market.

"In fact, when we compared the annual returns of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® against the Russell 3000 Index® (the broadest benchmark index for U.S. stocks), we found that these companies had a cumulative return of 1,709% since 1998 - compared to a 526% return for the Russell index alone during the same time period."

Additionally, establishing and maintaining company morale is a key strategy for long-term success. Many studies have shown that companies with contented employees not only have a more productive workforce but also end up with a loyal and devout consumer base.

If a company is willing to put in the work to raise and maintain a high level of employee morale, they are likely to see greater innovation, retention, employee engagement, and even customer service.

The bottom line is that people who feel valued are more likely to put in their best efforts and spread good word of mouth about the place that values them.

Photo by Roberto Ferraro via LinkedIn

So, what are some effective ways to maintain high morale within the workplace?

Firstly, it's important to understand what affects morale. Five factors that impact upon employee morale are;

  1. Communication
  2. Work-life balance
  3. Recognition
  4. Growth opportunities
  5. Company culture

Photo by Roberto Ferraro via LinkedIn


Ensure good morale by creating space for their voices to be heard.

Effective communication is about more than just getting the message out. In addition to ensuring the message is being received, good communication also receives the messages being sent.

This is important to morale because employees want to feel heard and valued. Employees who know their voice is heard feel more empowered to speak up with valuable contributions.

Work-life Balance

Improve morale by highlighting the importance of life outside of work.

Employees who have a poor work-life balance are more likely to suffer from mental health issues, physical sickness, and burnout.

Paid sick leave days cost employers $160 billion annually, but decreasing stress and health risks saves employers money. To ensure that work doesn't impact employees' lives outside of work, manage expectations around response times, work hours, and productivity.

Doing so is likely to increase morale and productivity in the long run.


Recognise and acknowledge your team for their hard work and effort through incentives or rewards.

Appropriate recognition breeds further effort. Everyone likes their efforts and work to be recognised because it feels like they're being seen and appreciated.

If employees aren't recognised for their efforts, they may lose engagement and motivation with the work and may even begin looking for other roles. Make sure that the recognition matches the work, though! Don't just throw a pizza party or give a token gift voucher for a long, arduous project, for example.

Doing so is likely to speed up the loss of motivation.

Growth Opportunities

Ensure that employees have adequate opportunities for growth in their careers.

By having scope for growth, employees feel they have a future in the company and can achieve their professional goals. Growth can look like career advancement in terms of role, i.e., Programmer > Senior Programmer > Lead Programmer. Or, it could be further development of skills, or the opportunity to learn new skills for their future.

The growth will look different for different employees, the important thing is that the opportunity is there. If it's not, then maybe soon, the employee might not be either.

Company Culture

A positive culture is likely to be productive even without optimum strategies; a toxic culture can cause even optimum strategies to implode.

Creating a positive company culture is essential for growing pride and ownership amongst employees.

It's important to have strategies in place to foster positive culture, and also to identify and support those who are actively contributing towards the type of culture that you want.

Photo by Roberto Ferraro via LinkedIn

5 Strategies for Cultivating a Positive Company Culture

Now that we know five areas which can affect morale, it's important to create strategies to address those areas and set ourselves up for success.

1. Set Up Channels of Communication

In order to have good communication practices, the standard needs to be set and communicated from above.

Make space for employees to be heard, whether that's through regular workshops, anonymous feedback, or open-door policies. Importantly, make sure that any topics requiring company action that are discussed openly, like in a workshop, have a genuine, tangible outcome.

Delivering on promised change builds trust, and trust builds better communication.

2. Create Space for a Healthy Work-life Balance

It's easy to slip into work habits that consciously or subconsciously demand that employees work outside their contracted hours.

Be intentional about setting working boundaries and respecting those boundaries; set email response windows, pay generous overtime if necessary, hold no expectations for that overtime, etc.

Employees who feel that their space is valued and respected won't mind putting in extra effort when it's required; just don't make it the norm.

3. Implement Practices for Recognition

Alongside regular reviews, set up processes to acknowledge and show gratitude when employees excel in their roles.

This is obviously important after a big project or task, but is equally important in the week-to-week. Recognition can take many forms: bonuses, shout-outs, personalised gifts, meal or experience vouchers, or more.

Be specific, timely, relevant, and connect to the bigger picture. Also, it's important to show recognition and appreciation in a way that's relevant to the employee. Take the Languages of Appreciation quiz to understand more.

4. Build and Maintain Opportunities for Growth

Create a structure that allows employees to grow within the company.

Aim to support your employees in the four areas of growth: financial, career, professional, and personal.

Provide these by offering continuous professional development, promoting internally where possible, providing training courses/budget, and allowing time to train in areas that may not relate to work.

5. Foster a Positive Company Culture

The easiest way to create a positive company culture is to involve and empower everyone in the organisation.

By providing the training and resources to your leadership team, they should feel empowered and equipped to implement and sustain all the above strategies.

When communicating the vision to all employees, they should feel that their voices and experiences matter.

Get these four areas right, and a positive culture is sure to follow.

Photo by Roberto Ferraro via LinkedIn

Examples of Positive Cultural Changes Leading to Improved Morale

Let's look at some examples of how making changes like this have led to improved workplace morale.

Microsoft - How Growth Mindset Changed Everything

In 2014, Satya Nadella took the reins at Microsoft amidst a storm of challenges. But instead of succumbing to the pressure, he ignited a revolution. Nadella's secret weapon? A company-wide embrace of the growth mindset.

Under the previous leadership, Microsoft was a place where mistakes were met with punishment and innovation was stifled. But Nadella, with his visionary approach, flipped the script. He turned errors into opportunities and transformed the workplace into a playground of ideas, inspiring a new era of growth and innovation.

Nadella didn't just preach; he led by example. He admitted his missteps, showing that vulnerability is not weakness but strength. And the results were remarkable. Employee engagement soared, and the company's stocks reached new heights, demonstrating the power of a growth mindset in driving success.

This isn't just a story; it's a lesson, a reminder, that pursuing greatness is not about avoiding mistakes but embracing them. It's about fostering an environment where curiosity thrives, and every setback is not a failure but a valuable lesson that propels us towards success.

Photo by Roberto Ferraro via LinkedIn

Playtonic - Work-life Balance

Playtonic Games (an independent games studio) realised that when life challenges happen, people are often forced to take sick leave (which may not be paid or limited to paid days), unpaid leave, or annual leave to deal with those challenges. They said, 'This cannot be the answer!' and established 'Life Leave'.

Life Leave is how Playtonic supports employees when life happens; they don't want employees to have to use annual or sick leave for events requiring employees to take time off, but it shouldn't be booked as sick or annual leave.

Examples of life leave events include, but are not limited to, operations, non-cosmetic hospital treatments, counselling sessions, graduations, fertility appointments, etc.

They also have a policy for working from home to allow for menstrual-related difficulties and offer paid sabbatical leave every 5 years.

Life Leave is available for all employees from day one and really helps to emphasise the importance of a work-life balance by giving employees the capacity to prioritise life outside of work.

To uncover ways to boost workplace morale and drive positive change, be sure to catch our webinar 'Boosting Morale, Boosting Success' HERE.

Thanks for reading and/or watching, we hope you enjoyed this!