Can You Improve Employee Morale in Just 7 Days?

According to Author Donna Cutting, you really can. Here at the Recruiting Daily Advisor, we talk a lot about how to get the best candidates, how to conduct interviews, and how to get them on board quickly and effectively. But the easiest way to conduct recruiting is to not have to recruit as often in the first place. Part of that means knowing how to improve employee morale.

How many times a day do you tell someone, “thank you?” Three? Four? Do you look them in the eye when you say it? Do you mean it? Or are you merely adhering to the social convention of mumbling out a short phrase of appreciation when you know the situation calls for it?
We all know that it’s important to show gratitude for our employee’s contributions. However, it’s easy to forget to say thank-you on a regular basis. We rely on things like “Employee of the Month” or the annual “Employee Appreciation” picnic to do the job for us, even though daily expressions of appreciation make a bigger impact.
Why do we do this? The answer is simple: we think we don’t have the time. Between balancing work, personal lives, and social events, it seems we hardly have the time to thank ourselves. However, even if you don’t have the time to put together a big to-do for showing employee appreciation, there are still several small ways in which you can say “thank-you” that will make a huge difference in the workplace.
Try practicing saying thank-you for 7 consecutive days in seven different ways. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Day 1

Purposely walk the floor of your workplace and give spontaneous praise to someone you see doing something right.
This is perhaps the easiest way of showing appreciation for your employees or coworkers. Just taking 5 minutes out of every hour to walk the floor and give someone a compliment on their work can make a huge difference. Spontaneous praise is often more genuine than a carefully thought-out e-mail because of their personal face-to-face nature.
Furthermore, spontaneous positivity leaves a distinct impression of purpose in their workday. Often times we get so caught up in the menial tasks of our day, that we begin to feel as if our efforts are fruitless. Spontaneous praise can help ease that feeling and improve overall morale in the workplace.

Day 2

Thank an employee or coworker face-to-face, telling him specifically how he makes a difference to your company and/or workday.
This is slightly different than Day 1 in that your praise is intentional. In other words, you’re making a conscious effort to intentionally seek out one person and specifically appreciate something they do.
Not only does this show that you’re taking a personal interest in his or her work, but that you’re also taking a personal interest in who that person is. This helps foster a sense of community and purpose within the workplace.

Day 3

Divide a piece of paper into two columns. In the first column, list the names of all your direct reports. In the second column, write something positive that each person contributes to the team. Leave no one out, even if you really have to work to find the positive. Carry that list with you for 1 week. When you have the opportunity, privately share the appropriate praise with each person on the list. Try to get through the entire list within 1 week.
This method is great for any work environment for several reasons. First of all, it’s intentional, which, as we already discussed, is a great way to show personal appreciation. Secondly, it’s long-term appreciation. Instead of simply showing appreciation for 1 day, this method of spreading positivity and kindness lasts all week. It helps you form a habit of not only remembering to show appreciation but also to notice the kind of things that deserve it.
Carrying around a list of positives for 1 entire week can open up the doors for you to notice the positive in everyone, which can help improve overall work morale tremendously. Not only that, but when people receive a positive comment, they’re likely to pay it forward, increasing the spread of positivity and appreciation throughout the workplace.
And lastly, this method is inclusive. Making sure to include everyone in the list is extremely important in order for this method of appreciation to be successful. If you only express your thanks to a select few, it will create a sort of clique-tension between groups of people in the workplace.
It can also make those who are left out feel as though the work that they do is not enough, which is the complete opposite of how you want your work environment to be. Making an inclusive list of positives about everyone helps foster the idea that you are all a team, and everyone is both needed and appreciated.

Day 4

Go on WOW patrol.
Choose one employee/coworker who really went the extra mile recently. Gather a group of department heads or other coworkers, and write positive messages on sticky notes. Plaster those sticky notes all over that person’s work area. Or put together a balloon bouquet, a special certificate, and maybe even a few special treats. Gather that person’s coworkers to help you surprise him or her with a celebration of his or her contributions to the workplace.
Or, if you’d rather have less fuss, a simple standing ovation for a chosen employee/coworker can have an equally wonderful impact. Even taking them out to lunch, or letting them leave half an hour early with pay, is a great way to visibly show your appreciation.
The purpose of this day is to give someone a big and visible WOW to make their day, and show them how much you appreciate their hard work. Visual displays of thanks not only show that you recognize the difference they have made, but it also leaves a lasting impression of appreciation.
On Monday we’ll look at days 5, 6, and 7.
Donna Cutting is the author of 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers: Easy-to-Implement Ideas to Inspire Loyalty, Get New Customers, and Leave a Lasting Impression. For the entire list of 21 Days of Thank You, visit the website.