If you were a fan of the show The Office, you probably know that one of Michael Scott’s key tactics in boosting team morale was to throw a party. The parties would often range from hilariously awkward to inspiring and amazing, but they always seemed to succeed in bringing everyone together not only as a team, but also as friends. This is a great tactic in boosting company morale, and since Christmas is coming, there is no better time to get your staff together for a party than the present!
Company Functions & Morale
Although there are small business owners that may believe putting on events or functions for their staff is frivolous and unnecessary, hosting company functions actually increases productivity. Employees who have a positive morale consequently have an optimistic attitude which leads to greater productivity in the workplace. Think of it as recess in elementary school. When you have students working hard in the classroom for hours upon hours, day after day, you can’t expect them to continue working at a proficient level without any kind of break. They need recess to allow them to stretch, have some fun, and get ready for whatever comes next. Adults are no different!
Here are some ideas of ways to provide a recess of sorts for your small business:
#1 Small Business Teambuilding Activities
Team building activities bring everyone in the company together to focus on how they can work as a unit to accomplish a goal. These activities usually take the whole company out of the office and to a different location set outdoors or in large gyms. For the most part, lots of space is required to accommodate physical activity. The activities can be hosted internally or by a third-party, and they can be tailored to fit any particular issues your team may be facing. The point is to change the environment and get people moving. The combination of both works wonders for company morale and creativity.
Not only that, but such activities also diminish the power-distance gap between the leaders and the employees, allowing them to bond peer-to-peer. Moreover, getting everyone together in one spot also helps resolve communication issues that may have developed due to staff members working in different departments. If there is a particular problem the small busines is facing, team building activities can be used to take an abstract, creative look at the problem and figure out a way to overcome it. It’s still work but in a fun way.
#2 Be Appreciative of Each Other
Most people show their appreciation or gratitude for others by giving gifts or through the display of warm gestures. Small businesses can also show their appreciation for their employees simply by saying thanks or complimenting them for a job well done. This can be done privately or publicly, depending on the personality of the staff member. Some may think that showing appreciation or gratitude should be done only during performance reviews or feedbacks. Forget that! Always keep in mind to give credit where it’s due.
You may also consider instituting a reward system. Give incentives or rewards through gift checks, free meals, or even weekend getaways. Remember, it’s not always about the material things. It’s about letting your team members know in personal ways that you value their service, abilities and commitment to the team. Recognizing the employees’ efforts will surely boost their morale and motivate them to continue doing their job well.
Appreciating the smallest of things could always mean the biggest of things to others.
#3 Let Creativity Flow in Your Small Business
Not everyone learns or expresses themselves in the same way. We all gain and give information through various modalities: auditory (hearing), visual (seeing), kinesthetic (moving), and tactile (touching). When it comes to the work your employees put out, it may be beneficial to allow them to compile and present their work in whatever modality is best for them.
If they are giving a presentation, don’t require that they only do a paper and PowerPoint presentation; allow them to use objects and make storyboards or even involve everyone in the room in the presentation. When people are allowed to speak the learning language they are most comfortable with, you would be amazed at the innovative ideas they can present.
#4 Flexible Schedules
Companies and small businesses alike follow schedules. From the overall 9-5pm work day to the daily deadlines employees are expected to meet, we like to keep everything running like clockwork. On an average business day, a variety of distractions may arise that keep staff members from completing their work on time. When the distractions are legitimate, it may be helpful to be a little flexible on deadlines. Though the work is important, so are your team members, so let them know you value their hard work by being understanding when situations arise.
There are also times that married employees or those with young children will need to excuse themselves from work for a short time to make sure their family is taken care of. Or maybe there will be times that unavoidable emergencies will arise. The best thing to do in such situations is to offer flexible schedules or allow shift-swapping so employees can pick what works best for them. As long as they fulfill their weekly requirement for time spent on the job, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to let them adjust their schedules here and there.
#5 Happy Hours
Happy hour, a time of free-flowing drinks or heavily discounted food, is a time to let loose and have fun. There are no work-related expectations, just an opportunity for some carefree social interaction. Some employees naturally participate in happy hours with a few of their co-workers, but you can also encourage everyone on the team to socialize by creating a schedule wherein the whole company can get together. Friday is usually the best time to do something like this, as it’s the end of the work week and a good time for everyone to unwind after a tiring week. This also encourages everyone to get out of their comfort zone and converse with the other employees within various departments and even bridge the gap between leaders and employees.
What have you done to boost morale and teamwork in your small business? Let us know in the comments below how it went and the impact it had on your team.
~ Maria Kristine, Team Tuxedo Impressions LLC™