Six ways to boost employee morale

It’s an established fact: Healthier employees = happier, more productive employees.

As we wrote in an earlier post, research from the Michigan Journal of Public Affairs suggests that most returns on wellness programs investments come from improved productivity. Another survey found that 56% of employers with workplace wellness programs reported an increase in employee morale; a third study found nearly two thirds of employees with high levels of well-being consistently put in extra effort at work.

But the above equation works both ways: Employees with better morale are also healthier. For example, an analysis of 30 studies found that happy people are less likely to get sick.

Are your employees usually in good spirits? Is camaraderie and laughter common in your workplace?  Since employee morale, health and productivity are mutually reinforcing, here are six ways to give all three a boost.

Show appreciation. Acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments throughout the company. Even little things such as gift cards for a coffee shop or movie theater or personal thank-you notes will remind employees that you value their contributions.

Instill “ownership thinking.” Give employees a higher purpose by helping them understand how their work helps the company accomplish its goals. Educate employees about the business and keep them informed on broad metrics that show how the company is performing against its key objectives.

Give employees more freedom. No one wants to be micromanaged. Encourage your workers to come up with their own ideas and support their creative endeavors. Be flexible about work schedules and working from home.

Celebrate employees’ life events. Any reason will do — birthdays, work anniversaries, weddings, births, or the accomplishments of employee children. Consider having a monthly birthday party, complete with cake and an off-key chorus of “Happy Birthday.” Sure, it’s corny, but cake is a sure-fire morale booster.

Have some team-building fun. Take time each month for friendly onsite or offsite competitions such as Wii bowling matches, beanbag toss, playdays at game arcades, scavenger hunts, etc. Ask employees for their ideas and mix the teams for every game so everyone has a chance to bond with everyone else.

Smile more. Your demeanor and mood directly affect employee morale, says Elizabeth Scott, a wellness coach at, because workers “read” the boss for clues about performance and job security. Smiling and talking and joking with employees will help to boost morale, encourage team building and even stave off job burnout.


Photo Credit: seekingthomas

About Ken Dallafior

Ken Dallafior is Senior Vice President, Group Business and Corporate Marketing at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). Dallafior leads BCBSM's group sales force, oversees corporate marketing and product development, and develops and implements key corporate strategies. He also provides leadership to critical sales operations such as agent relations and commissions, sales incentives and complex issue resolution for group customers and sales agents. In addition to working in the insurance industry for nearly two decades, Dallafior played professional football from 1982 to 1992. He is founder and board member of the Detroit Lions Courage House.
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