Contrary to popular belief, not all employees dread Mondays. Today, work can be so much more than a paycheck. When you can create the right workplace environment, you’re providing not just income, but a psychologically safe place for employees to pursue intellectual curiosity, make new friends, and be their whole selves—not just the work versions of themselves.
But high morale doesn’t just happen. It requires a conscious effort on behalf of everyone in an organization, starting from the top, to make work fulfill a greater purpose than income. When employees are firing on all cylinders, it’s better for the company’s bottom line.
Here are some strategies for building morale that have worked for us at HighRadius—and they could work for your company, too.
Start With Your Culture And Core Values
Culture is the personality of your company. The core values should naturally show up in how people think, feel, and act. Establishing the right core values provides the foundation that everything else is built upon. Core values can be anything ranging from integrity and accountability to commitment to customers and community interaction. If your employees don’t hear, see, or remember your company’s values embedded in day-to-day operations, the culture of your office is left up to those with the most dominant personalities.
At HighRadius, we’ve taken distinct measures to cultivate and sustain a workplace dedicated to high morale. Core values come up in interview questions, we keep them in mind when planning events, and we tie values into employee recognition programs. We have a “fail fast, fix it faster” culture, so as we evolve as a company we retain agility and encourage risks. Your culture has to evolve in a way that is consistent with where your company is headed.
Keep An Ear To The Street
It’s important to demonstrate a commitment to your employees by listening to, and acknowledging any feedback. If you’re going to do an employee survey, nothing is more important than the action taken after receiving feedback. Consider moving away from the big, daunting annual employment survey to regular check-ins and micro-feedback channels, like having your leaders chat with people in social settings, holding roundtables for discussions, or establishing a mentor program for new hires.
Leaders and decision makers need to have the courage to parse feedback and not default to a “yes” culture. To do so, first determine if the feedback or request is self-serving (“I would really love a nap pod at my desk”) or can benefit the greater good (“What if we brought yoga on-site so we could decompress and have time for self-reflection in a group setting?”) Then act accordingly in a way that is consistent with your culture.
We have found that the more you listen and respond with intention, the more you can make being at work both rewarding and meaningful.
Prioritize Socialization And Memorable Experiences
Create perks around experiences that people will remember. By creating an environment where employees can get to know each other in a social setting, you’ll reap the benefits of increased trust, collaboration, and teamwork.
At HighRadius, we have happy hour every Friday at 3 p.m. Leadership is willing to take the loss of minimal productivity at the end of a Friday and turn it into a fun atmosphere. Attendance is optional, #FOMO is real, and fun is mandatory.
While on the surface, activities like these can seem like they are about food and fun, on a deeper level they are really about fostering friendship, collaboration, and deeper connections so that people feel comfortable being their whole selves. A 2017 Gallup study showed that employees who report having a “best friend” at work are not only more engaged, but are also less likely to leave their jobs. And that’s a win on both fronts.
Crowdsource Business Ideas
Casting a wide net when it comes to soliciting business ideas encourages fresh perspectives across departments and ranks, while simultaneously signaling to all employees that their input matters.
Crowdsourcing ideas allows employees to have ample opportunities for open dialogue instead of letting frustrations fester. By being offered a chance to generate and implement solutions, employees can feel empowered to bring about the changes they want to see, then live with them day in and day out. For example, consider setting up a forum that encourages collaboration. This can be executed by defining a problem, then inviting participants to submit written ideas for addressing the problem. Each participant that submits an idea can then be invited to a meeting to present each idea. The conversation will naturally evolve,producing constructive dialogue and creative solutions.
Establish Transparent Goals
A 2017 Comparably survey of more than 88,000 tech sector employees found that “unclear goals” was the No. 1 source of employee stress, selected by 42% of respondents. This answer beat out other workplace frustrations including commuting, working long hours, navigating a difficult co-worker, or dealing with a bad manager.
Employees want to know exactly what they’re working toward. It’s easier to stay motivated with a clear sense of purpose and a defined role. Set your employees up for success by letting them know exactly what you expect and how you can support them to do their best work.
At HighRadius, we make sure workers know what success looks like by publishing each department’s goals and key initiatives for any employee to see. We’re constantly tracking ourselves against these goals, which keeps us both on task and accountable.
Work With What You’ve Got
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building a strong workplace culture. The ideas above provide broad values, but the specific ways in which you implement those values will depend on your company’s circumstances. Your approach should meld well with your unique mesh of people, their personalities, and the type of work you do.
Regardless of your business, when you value your employees as individuals, they’ll be more eager to go to work—and, if you sustain high morale at the office, they may even look forward to Mondays.