“Dear John, I’m having a hard time building morale at work. I was recently promoted and so now I have all these new expectations and demands from my job. I’m worried that being inexperienced in this position will case difficulties with my colleagues. And also I want to keep those relationships I had with people before I became their boss. Do you have any ideas? Kevin”
Building morale in the work place can be a difficult challenge. Often times it takes a lot of effort and will only succeed if you keep with. However in the end you will have a much better work environment than you did before. Here are few things that I remember from past employers I’ve had.
1. Surprise your employees with doughnuts and coffee in the morning. Set up the refreshments in your office, this will allow them to come into your office and when they do say “Hi”. Don’t mention work during this time.
2. Make schedules more flexible. It’s a good idea to give people time to take care of their personal lives. This only works as long as it’s not abused and doesn’t start to interfere with their jobs.
3. If your employees have worked late or put in more effort in days past, then let them off early on a Friday. It’s a big reward to your employees and helps them feel appreciated.
4. Organize a weekly or monthly lunch with your employees. Maybe even a pot luck where everyone can sign up to bring something.
5. Start a monthly newsletter where each month a different employee is singled out for his or her achievements. You could write up a report on the employee describing his or her achievements.
6. Birthday Cards. Have your graphics department make a birthday card for each person (that way it’s personal) and pass it around the building to get signed when it’s their birthday.
7. Set up an anonymous suggestion box in which employees can submit ideas for workplace improvements.
8. Once a month ask each of your employees individually if there is anything they need? As far as materials goes. Or if there is something they would like to have to make their job easier.
9. Have a weekly meeting each Monday morning to discuss issues or success from the previous week. This will keep everyone aware of what others are doing and will help you identify if an individual needs help or praise.
10. Each Friday at the end of the day walk by each of your employees and make small talk. Like “You have big plans this weekend?” or “Hey, did you heard about that new restaurant that opened?” Try and remember what you talk about each week so that you will have something to talk about the following Friday.
The number one thing that you can do as their boss is establish a safe and understood level of equality. This can be hard to do. You need to keep it known that you are the boss but also that you humble enough to treat your employees like colleagues within reason.
Never use guilt to get something done. You’re the boss and they may be angry and upset at you for assigning them an extra task, but it’s far better than the feelings they will have for making them feel guilt. Try and find a reasonable way of assigning extra work. You could try giving out a reward when the task is done. And as you said, you would like to keep those relationships that you had before, but you need to remember that they are no longer your colleagues. They are your employees and when the day is said and done extra assignments should not be argued about. People respect a strong leader.
There are tons of ideas and ways to build morale. These are just some of the things that I’ve been a part of.
Hope it helps,