7 Free Ways to Boost Employee Morale for the New Year

Employee morale and engagement may wane throughout the year, but perhaps one time of year employees seem to be most uninspired is right after the New Year.


Employees have enjoyed the excitement surrounding the holidays, and as they head into a new year the winter slump tends to take over.

So how do you start 2015 off on an exciting foot and improve employee morale without breaking the bank?

  1. Add variation to employees’ schedules. One of the primary reasons employee morale starts to slip, any time of year, is because they feel like they’re in a rut. If you want to make things more interesting and take them out of their comfort zone a bit, go ahead and change up the schedules. You could have them come in later in the morning, or earlier and leave later. Whatever works within your company as far as switching up schedules can go a long way to freshen up the workplace and boost morale.
  2. Show employees they have a greater purpose. It can be easy to start to feel like you’re just trudging through the day-to-day at a job. Whenever possible employers should highlight how employees are having a bigger impact on people’s lives and the overall mission of the company. Showing employees a more comprehensive picture can boost their spirit and their engagement. For example, gather stories of how your employees have impacted the lives of customers, and share them whenever you feel like your workplace needs to ramp up morale. You can also outline company goals for the year, and show employees how they contribute to the meeting of those goals.
  3. Give new challenges to employees. Employees remain engaged when they feel challenged in the workplace, so as we head into the New Year think about what projects you’d like your company to tackle during the year, and then start assigning new roles to employees. The more responsibility you’re willing to give employees, the better the results in terms of morale.
  4. As a company leader, take some time after the holidays to meet with employees on a one-on-one basis. Use it as a time to let them share their thoughts and ideas, and go the extra mile by saying thank you. Refreshing an employees’ spirit and outlook can be as simple as showing them you know they’re there, and that you appreciate their efforts.
  5. Consider organizing opportunities for employees to volunteer or contribute to the community. If you have a small business you can take an afternoon off where your employees all work on a project outside of the office together and if your company is larger, you may consider offering a couple of days a year off as volunteer time. It’s a good way to build your employer brand, motivate your employees and also just shake things up.
  6. Introduce new development opportunities. Whether you have internal development programs already in-place or you want to offer opportunities through established corporate university and eLearning programs, go ahead and encourage employees to participate. Show them the value of both personal and professional development if you want a surefire way to improve their attitude and their spirit.
  7. Shake up the work environment. You can accomplish this in so many ways – if you’re on a tight or non-existent budget you can simply allow employees more flexibility in the way they work. For example, open up a boardroom as a place employees can go to collaborate or have a change of scenery. Find ways to switch up the work environment from the usual and your employees may have a complete overhaul in their perspective.

What are your favorite free or low-cost ways to improve the morale of your employees, particularly heading into a new year?

December 23, 2014   Updated :March 20, 2015   employee performance, morale, recognition   

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