Maintaining Company Morale in Good Times and Bad

Maintaining Company Morale in Good Times and Bad

Concerned about employee morale? Are your workers worried about downsizing? Have they lost enthusiasm for their tasks and their clients? Do they dread interacting with managers—or even each other?

Regardless of the economy or your company’s performance, every organization benefits from focusing on maintaining a positive vibe. Good energy can translate into higher productivity, more innovation, and a better experience for your customers.

Focus on these six practices to help keep morale high—no matter what your company is experiencing.

Measure Morale

Turnover rate, engagement, employee surveys, and interviews are all solid ways to understand how your staff feels about coming to work every day. But you should also allow yourself to be vulnerable, and be prepared to hear bad news. You can’t make changes unless you understand the problem.

Bake Your Mission into Your Message

Articulate your company’s vision, and ask your customers to help. If you manufacture dental care equipment, then collect interviews from dentists who can share stories about how your tool helped relieve a patient’s pain and restore their smile. If you run a business consulting agency, ask happy clients to write testimonials about how your staff’s work changed the client’s company culture and drove results.

Empower Employees

When workers feel they’re trusted and have autonomy in their jobs, they tend to be more creative and more productive. Consider a flat organizational model where just a few middle managers stand between executives and the rest of the team—and good ideas and good work flow freely. Create a system where innovations are encouraged by everyone in the company and new ideas are quickly implemented. And remember—many failures should be celebrated and learned from.

Let the Good Recognition Roll

When people feel like they’re being appreciated and cared for, good mojo follows. Find ways—both big and small—to recognize individuals, teams, and departments. This can be a small thing from a shout-out during a daily town hall meeting for exceptional customer service, or something bigger like holding annual awards for goals met. You can also throw impromptu lunch parties to reward teams that go above and beyond.

Inspire Workers

Form a motivational book club, and select titles focused on inspirational real-life stories or personal development. Host brown-bag seminars led by motivational speakers—including those who represent a local charity and have a compelling personal story to share. Many of these kind of speakers will often do it for free.

Have Some Fun Already!

Even if it feels unnatural to you, or if it’s out of character of your company culture, don’t be afraid to go a little crazy. Take off early on a Friday to host a company-wide bowling party, or invite departments to compete against each other in a monthly Pictionary competition. Consider a group outing in the spring to volunteer for a park cleanup—followed by beer and burgers. Employees who form friendships at work—and also socialize together outside work—tend to be happier and more loyal.

Emma Johnson

About the Author


Award-winning business + personal finance journalist, AM radio host. Former AP staff and MSN Money columnist. Contributing editor @SUCCESS. NYT, WSJ, Forbes, WIRED, WORTH. Founder: WealthySingleMommy.

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