As an entrepreneur, business owner, or manager chances are you do everything possible to keep your customers  happy.  It’s part of what keeps them coming back to do business.  But do you do everything you can to keep your employees happy?  High employee morale is a big factor in increasing productivity which in turn, boosts business.

After all, haven’t you heard that wise old saying?   “When the employee is happy, everybody is happy.”

Happy Employees=Happy Customers

I started MBI Worldwide in 1998 and for the longest time I thought the only way to motivate and keep employees happy was with money.   Although a raise or a bonus is nice, there are so many other ways to increase employee morale without affecting payroll and company cash-flow.  

Be creative and find incentives that will be successful in your specific work environment.    

Here are some suggestions from someone who has been in your shoes before:

Structure is important in the workplace, but sometimes reaching goals takes some bending.  Allow employees to leave early to make it to a child’s soccer game or come in a little later to drop off the kids at school.  Working outside the office, warehouse or factory occasionally can produce big results.

If an employee is furthering their education, work around class schedules and encourage their progress.  Your support for their personal endeavors will not be overlooked.  Chances are they are improving their education to advance within the company.

Show you care.  Recognize everyone’s birthday; have cake and give a card.  Send gifts when a new baby is born or someone on the team gets married.  When a team member losses a loved one, offer condolences. These small gestures make people feel loved.  When people feel loved they want to do more to help.  It’s a win-win for everyone.

Show faith in trusted workers and don’t overstep when they implement a task.  Be there for guidance and support, but overruling decisions that do not have detrimental outcomes can be destructive to morale.

Say thank you.  Two little words can go further than you think.  Everyone values a pat on the back and words of appreciation from time to time.  Remember to do this when employees perform well.

When you enforce a rule or reprimand employees, do so in private.  No one wants to be chewed out in front of his or her peers.  Be professional about the situation and refrain from using profanity or insults.  (That’s bad management skills).

Encourage theme days from time to time.  Let employees dress down when appropriate.  Have a potluck or bring in donuts once a month.  Pass around a cheesy “Employee of the Month Trophy” or schedule a Saturday afternoon limo ride to a local winery.  Scheduling activities for employees to have some fun both at work and away from the office will end up boosting morale, which in turn will boost productivity.

Movie tickets, restaurant gift cards or tickets to a special event can provide motivation for employees to go above and beyond when performing their daily work tasks.  I even give away “Hall Passes” for additional paid time off for employees who perform outstanding tasks without being asked. And just today, I gave an employee an additional 30 minutes of paid lunch break time because it’s her birthday and she is an exceptional team member.   You can reward team efforts or individual efforts; just be careful of employees who may be too competitive.

Listen.  When an employee has a question or concern, pay attention to what they’re saying and work together to find the best solution for everyone involved.  Having great communication skills is crucial to being a successful team leader.

Again, it does not have to cost you an “arm and a leg” to boost employee morale within your organization.  Just like in any relationship, it’s the little things that make the biggest impact.

It you’re interested in hearing what some other business owners and CEO’s do to keep employee morale up in their companies, be sure to read Easy Ways to Maintain Employee Morale.


KChapman Kandi Chapman, President of MBI Worldwide