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© Copyright Marcia Zidle
It’s the small things every day that can bring down employee morale and it’s
the small things every day that can raise it as well.
When money is tight and raises are nonexistent or when the heavy workload
seems never-ending, managers tend to forget the “basics” of management-
that the supervisor’s recognition and appreciation are the key drivers for employee
motivation and morale.
Here are seven quick, inexpensive things managers can do that will keep workers
motivated during tough times.
1. Say thank you.
Show appreciation for good work by baking a batch of cookies for the team or
surprising them with pizza, or sending them flowers, chocolate, or a bunch of
balloons. It shows your people that you care and appreciate them.
2. Have informal coffee talks.
Pull an entire work team together to openly talk about what’s going on in the
world and how it affects business. Encourage employee questions. This decreases
negative rumors and also gets employees focused on work rather than on griping.
3. Surprise with spontaneous treats.
Rent an ice cream cart or a popcorn machine. Take coffee and donuts to each
person’s workstation. How about a package of Lifesavers™ during a stressful
4. Offer stress relief activities.
Hire a local massage school to offer free 10-minute chair massages once a week.
A distinctive and fun way for a company to convey that it recognizes the rough
times and it cares about its staff’s well-being.
5. Support community involvement.
Provide company time for teams of employees to serve dinner at a local shelter,
help build houses, adopt a family for a holiday, or collect money for a common
charity. It not only serves as a motivator in that people feel they are doing
something with a purpose but also creates a positive public image.
6. Make people feel valuable.
Talk with key employees about the types of projects, training, or experiences
they would like to have. Times may be tough for people to get jobs, but your
best people are also the most marketable. One of the main reasons people leave
or are unmotivated is because they don’t feel valued by their manager or company.
7. Free car washes.
Express exterior car washes cost around $5 per wash. That means for $100, you
can give 20 employees a shiny car every month. Or have a fundraiser for a community
organization on your parking lot. They bring the people and the supplies and
you pay them $5 for each car washed. This tells the employee you appreciate
them and tell the community you care.
Supervision Success Tip
Sometimes, simple works best. These seven morale boosters are a great way to
create positive energy, develop pride, and keep workers motivated during tough
For the Category of Leadership:
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