5 Steps to Improve Morale on Your Team

by Edgar R. Olivo

Your team morale is an important factor that contributes to employee performance. When you are building your team, you are also cultivating the skills that allow your company to achieve its goals. Helping your team achieve their full potential is making sure they have the right tools and support to do their jobs successfully. Building and sustaining employee morale starts with the culture of your company, and a healthy work culture helps guide morale when things go wrong.

The key to improving employee morale is having clear expectations and communicating effectively with your team. Clear expectations allow your team to understand the outlook of the company. When morale is high, it signals that your team is performing effectively and efficiently. Some signs include great communication and collaboration among members — harmony and productivity feel right. When morale is low, it signals that your team is not working to its full potential. Some signs include constant conflict, avoidance and group think.

Here are five steps to develop a strategy around expectations that will help you improve the morale on your team.

Step 1: Create clear job expectations. Ask yourself a few questions. Do your employees really understand what is expected of them for the job? Do you provide proper training? Are you clear about the hours, work schedule, work environment and so on? Be fair and upfront with your employees as to what the job requires them to do.

Step 2: Have a clear accountability process. Nothing hurts team morale more than a leader who allows bad behavior. Ask yourself a few questions. Do you have an employee handbook? Do your employees know exactly what is expected of them and how they will be held accountable? How do you handle giving the feedback that is necessary for them to change their behavior? Do you manage by reward or by punishment? Be consistent and lead by example.

Step 3: Establish expectations for communication. Conflict on a team is natural, and resolving conflict takes practice. Make sure you encourage a work environment where psychological safety exists and is encouraged. Psychological safety means that team members can express and receive feedback openly without the fear of retribution. Everyone deserves to be heard.

Step 4: Reward good behavior and performance. Some leaders think that throwing a pizza party is the best way to reward employees for doing good work, but that only feeds them for a day. True recognition comes in the most subtle ways. The best reward a leader can provide their team comes in the form of thoughtful encouragement. Recognizing when someone overcame a challenge or achieve a difficult goal is important because it makes the team feel valued. Although financial rewards are important, emotional rewards are just as important.

Step 5: Exemplify the culture you want to see in the company. The work environment has changed since the pandemic began and now stress factors can also hurt team morale. When the leader sets a positive example of self-care and work style, others will follow suit. Many of the challenges found in a work culture usually start at the top. Practice the behaviors you wish to see on the team and show how to take care of each other.

All teams have the potential to experience high team morale, and recognizing the signs of the energy on a team is useful to lead them toward success. A solid team morale will help you keep the company afloat, and your team will be resilient to ride through the toughest of times. Great team morale is your greatest asset.

EDGAR RAFAEL OLIVO is a bilingual business educator, economic advisor, and contributor for several media outlets. He’s a nonprofit executive who is passionate about education. He is certified in finance and data analytics and holds a business degree from Arizona State University.

Para la versión en español de este artículo, haga clic aquí.

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