Biz Features

6 Simple Ways To Improve Morale AND Save Money

by . September 19th, 2014

Recognizing employees who perform well is a basic part not just of management, but of leadership.

Unfortunately, few of us can afford to give away gift cards or paid vacations for every good deed. This is especially true if you find yourself in a position where cash flow can be a problem – which is something nearly all business owners are familiar with.

Here are a few ways to improve morale and keep your books in the black!

6.) Allow your team to telecommute


Forrester Research predicts that by 2016, 63 million Americans will  telecommute (work from home) on at least on a part-time basis. Clearly there are several benefits to having your whole team in one place, but allowing team members to work from home on occasion shouldn’t hurt a team that already understands the vision and direction of their assigned projects. You could use additional “telecommute days” as incentives for top performers.

5.) Recognize them through social media!


You wouldn’t want to give employees gift cards whenever they do something good outside the scope of their jobs – but you need to recognize them somehow. Whenever someone in your team goes above and beyond in small ways, don’t forget to recognize them by giving them a small shout-out on their social media accounts or through company wide e-mail.

4.) Make them feel listened to


In a previous post (4 Int-ARR-esting Reasons Entrepreneurs Relate to Pirates) we mentioned that pirate crews during the Golden Age of Piracy  were even by today’s standards, a democratic bunch in contrast to non-pirate crews. What we didn’t mention was that it was extremely common for sailors of boarded vessels to join the pirates at least partly because of this.

Of course, there’s very little chance you mistreat your team in the way a typical 17th century sea captain would have. But no one wants to feel like they don’t matter. Even if you do know what their suggestions or problems are, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they know you do. Even just by repeating their concerns to them at a later time can go a long way towards building their trust. Better if you ask questions to clarify concerns.

Y’know. LISTEN for a change.

Of course, even better is taking action on the more reasonable suggestions.

3.) Offer more flexible schedules


In a lot of cases this will cost you nothing. Depending on your industry, you could even offer a performance-based schedule, where employees are allowed to leave early upon reaching a realistic quota, or if significant downtime is expected. In some cases, it might even save your employees commute time, which can reduce stress and help them be more productive.

2.) Let employees dress down — within reason


The standards for what constitutes a “professional” look will vary depending on culture and industry. For example, it’s unlikely you will feel all that confident in a hotel where the bellboy shows up in daisy dukes and ratty cut-off band shirt.

But if you could relax the dress code so that they can be comfy and remain professional-looking within an industry or field, then by all means go for it. A relaxed dress code can also be a turn-on for many younger applicants who might find strict dress codes oppressive.

1.) Hold short teambuilding activities on work days.


Julius Schorzman - A Small Cup of Coffee via Wikimedia Commons CC
While some employees won’t mind having you hog their weekends, the fact of the matter is, many people want their time off for themselves, and even voluntary weekend outings can build resentment if there is a perception that there’s social pressure involved.

Inviting your team out for a beer (if they’re fine with it), movie, coffee, or whatever else everyone can enjoy after work might be a better – not to mention cheaper – way of building a healthy working relationship. If things work out great, this little outing can become a regular tradition.

What other money-saving morale tips can you share?


Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.