If money was the only way to boost employee morale, then we wouldn’t be having highly paid employees suffering from stress or depression. In fact, multiple research and academic papers prove that higher salaries don’t necessarily lead to better employee morale. One research study reviewing employment data and reviewing expert opinions was recently published in Forbes. In it they say, “In 2009 a sampling of lawyers earning an average of $148,000 a year were less satisfied (68 on a 0-to-100 job satisfaction scale) than a sampling of child care workers earning $23,500 a year (79). Of course, there were counter examples where higher pay did correlate with higher job satisfaction, but in general we found little evidence that level of pay translates to level of job satisfaction.”
Although this sounds pretty simple, it isn’t so. Employees thrive if they are paid higher and have a great work life where they have understanding bosses, functioning policies, and fair treatment. On the other hand, employees remain in a constant state of despair in a workplace that sucks the life out of them. Even if you pay them in diamonds, they may still exhaust, burnout, and want to quit. The only reason an employee with low morale will stay in a job would be to have enough money to pay bills. What’s the harm in that for a company? Well, employees with low morale produce sub-standard work, are less creative and proactive, and are generally depressed. They may develop physical or mental health issues that will be costly to the company in the long run. Eventually, they will quit in the middle of it all and the company goes back to training a new individual from scratch.
Now what if you are a company that cares for your employees, but can’t afford to give them higher salaries or monthly bonuses? What if you have the drive, the passion, and the work drive, but not the right profitability to ensure that everyone is happy with their money? Well, the easiest way out is to have some inexpensive perks in the workplace to boost employee morale. It doesn’t cost a fortune to keep your employees happy. All it requires is a bit of creativity and the willingness to create a relaxing work environment. Here are 11 perks you can inculcate in the company and boost employee morale.
Discounts for Your Employees
Have clients who own food chains, grocery stores or even restaurants? You can always partner up with them to get exclusive discounts for your employees. In a local arrangement, your employees can always avail the discounts upon showing their ID cards. This is a win-win for both businesses as it doesn’t impact your budget and it also leaves room for your client to have more customers! Employees are always happy with such discounts and often promote the place through word-of-mouth marketing. They may also end up bringing family and friends to the place, which means the client will have new customers walking in without much additional effort.
A Gym Membership
If you can’t host a gym in your current workplace, it’s always a great idea to have your employees avail a gym membership at half the cost. A company that takes care of the health of its employees is reflective of a company that cares, and you have no idea how happy this could keep your employees. To achieve this, you simply need to strike a deal with your local gym. You give them the people and they give you a discount. It would be even better if you can exchange services in return for membership discounts. This way your budget won’t be affected and your team can enjoy good health!
Keep Flexible Shifts
Progressive companies keep flexible hours or shifts. You can work from any time of the day provided you complete 7 hours at work. Or you can work half the time from home and half the time at the office. It’s the digital age. Even if your employee stays home, he has the tools and the technology available to work with from the comfort of his home. Relax your attitude about shifts and you will see happy employees who are not afraid to turn up to work at 10. You also won’t have to keep track of who’s coming in late or who’s leaving early, especially when you have to devote precious time to getting things done. What should matter to you is not who is 10 minutes late but who is getting things done fast and within working hours.
Discourage Late Sittings
If you can’t adopt a flexible shift routine, then do not encourage late sittings either. In fact, give your employees an hour off earlier than other offices. This will help them maintain their work-life balance with no impact on your budget. It has been proven time and again by thousands of experts and research studies that an average human is only productive for the first few hours of the day (maximum 5) and the remaining hours are wasted on lunch, gossip, social media, and procrastination. So, what’s the point in procrastinating the whole day only to frantically cover up in the last few hours? Late-sittings are not indicative of hard-work or smart-work. A truly efficient individual realizes the value of time and getting things done within the day. When you implement this culture, you are giving your employees a chance at enjoying their life - a gesture so rare that it literally changes their life. No amount of monetary perks can beat this.
Celebrating the Good Days
There are good days and bad days in a workplace. Celebrate the good ones and endure through the bad ones. Have lunch with your employees, call in pizza for them when there’s a deadline to be met, encourage your team leaders to be motivational and productive bosses as opposed to being aggressive or dictative bosses. Keep a happy workplace and before you know it, you will have happy employees who are loyal to the company and deliver their best without being told.
Have a Chilled Work Space
Don’t suffocate your employees in huge cubicles or crowded meeting rooms. Keep the place entertaining and colorful. The aesthetics of your workplace have a huge impact on the productivity of your employees. Have bean bags, couches, colorful tables, picture frames, etc., to give a comfortable look and feel to the place. Anyone who wants to roll up on a couch to get work done can just use the couch. Anyone comfortable with a chair and table can pull out the foldables and use them. Employees love working in a space that gives them room to breathe.
Opt for Collaborative Volunteering
Is there a CSR activity that the team can do collaboratively? If not, search for a cause for everyone to volunteer and work together. Volunteering is not only morale boosting but also helps give employees a sense of satisfaction at having done something meaningful and leaving an impact on society. It will also help them get much needed time out from a hectic work schedule without wasting a dime.
Keep a TV at Work
Sometimes, you just want to watch a show together and unwind. Don’t worry, no one is going to leave important work to catch up on Friends. But after a long, boring meeting, watching a football game together or an episode of SNL on YouTube? Well, that’s more than one can ask for. Oh, do have the popcorn bags available. Work hard, party hard eh?
Provide Necessary Trainings
The internet is literally loaded with low-cost training programs that you can purchase and share with employees. Trainings, online learning, skill building are all important methods of keeping your employees competitive and satisfied. When employees know they have competitive skills and that the company is investing in their training, they will be motivated to take on complex challenges and utilize learnings in the implementation of those tasks. Win-win situation for both!
Create Collaborative Challenges
Arrange for creative or collaborative challenges in the workplace. Promote healthy competition, encourage innovation, award partnerships. Enforcing team spirit through collaborative projects or challenges unifies the team, brings people of similar strengths together, and promotes a culture of healthy competition. There are plenty of ideas you can work on. A poster competition for Domestic Abuse? A game idea for a mobile app? Your options are limitless.
Practice Good Leadership
Dictative management, aggressive attitudes, blame-games, office politics will turn your organization into a toxic space where no one can trust anyone. Working in such an environment is exhausting. Poor leadership should be called out. Employees should have open access to bosses. Challenges and obstacles should be resolved as a team and everyone should have each other’s backs. Sit back and watch your people grow as you give them an environment to thrive in. Your salary range may be low, but the good time they are having at your organization cannot be replicated at another and there lies your competitive strength.
Remember, give your employees what you would want from a workplace if you had to work under someone. Treat your colleagues and team members like how you would want to be treated. It boosts morale, keeps high retention rate, and saves you considerably on hiring and firing costs.