Lately, I’ve been having conversations with a few of our customers and there’s a reocurring theme within our discussions. Our team members have hit a wall. How do we boost morale during this challenging time? We’re all feeling it, aren’t we – but no more than the people on the front lines of this pandemic. Healthcare workers, caregivers, teachers, and school staff, and others deemed essential. I remember reading a post by a Facebook friend of mine who wrote, I know I should be happy that I still have a job, but I find myself wishing I could stay home and find my inner zen, like the rest of you.
Ever feel that way? I’ll bet your team does too.
Lifting the spirits of team members may be the most important job of leaders today. Especially if you get to work from home while they are on the front lines, directly serving and caring for your customers. We all thought this would be over in 3 weeks, yet here we are in October with no end in sight. There will be an end. I’m sure of it. In the meantime, we’ve got to rally the troops so they can continue to rally the patients, residents, students, and other customers.
Boosting employee morale is such an important focus during this time that I’ve been doing a whole YouTube series on what leaders are doing to keep spirits up during Covid-19. It’s worth checking out.
In addition to what you’ll hear in the videos, here are a few morale boosters you may not have thought of yet.
There’s no question that the home life of your employees is bleeding into work. How can it not? This is a stressful time for everyone and in addition to work, we’re all dealing with new habits, losses, and uncertainty. While your team members may have their job with you, they may have lost their second job. Or their spouse may have lost their job. It’s likely they weren’t prepared with a savings account to take care of essentials. Even those who are okay for now are re-evaluating what they need to do to better take care of their family during the next unexpected crisis. As an employer, you can help ease some of this burden by offering budgeting classes and counseling. Find a banker, a vendor, or another financial professional who’d be willing to come in once a week (or hold online classes) and offer them free to your employees.
Mental Health Counseling
It’s time to end the stigma on mental health. Frankly, I’m of the opinion that we could all use a little therapy these days or, at the very least, someone to talk to about our emotions on a regular basis. Consider hiring a certified counselor (or maybe a chaplain) who can hold office hours once or twice a week for team members who want someone to talk to about work, home life, or anything in a safe, confidential setting. Better yet, look into covering the cost of counseling through an Employee Assistance Program.
Physical Fitness and Wellness
Proactively encourage your team to stay fit and healthy by offering physically distanced walk breaks, fitness classes, and healthy snacks. A middle of the day dance break in the lobby might be a fun ritual that will boost morale, reinvigorate your team, and help everyone blow off a little steam! I remember reading once how a hospital decorated the employee stairwell with paint and motivational posters to get their team members taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Perhaps it’s time for a “Lose the Covid 10” challenge or Fitbit game?
Provide a Retreat Space
Give your team members a dedicated place to go when it all gets to be too much. One organization created a retreat space complete with a massage chair, calming music, aromatherapy, and some uplifting reading material. Another organization painted the hallway leading to the employee breakroom with motivational phrases and called it Inspiration Alley, encouraging co-workers to spend some time finding the quote that will keep them going whenever they need a morale boost.
In addition to a weekly paycheck, what do your team members need? Are they running low on food? Is child care an issue? What can you do to assist with these challenges? While you may not be able to offer child care, you can certainly do some research on the resources available in your area. Take a tip from another organization that worked with customers to create a food pantry for their employees. Boost morale by assisting with some of the real-world issues your employees face.
Share Daily Stories Worth Celebrating
Every single day, you have team members who are creating exceptional moments of love and joy for your customers. Are you collecting these stories? Are you sharing them? Start each morning or each shift with a physically distanced meeting where you share a story that was created the day before. Keep your team members focused on the good they are doing! Celebrate what’s going well and how creative and dedicated your team has been throughout this unprecedented time. Also share these stories on social media and with the people working from home. Encourage those working from home to cheer on the stories being created on the frontlines by sending applause, thank you videos, and handwritten notes.
Finally, involve your team members in your morale-boosting efforts by asking them what they need. Have a real conversation about how hard this is and how you don’t know when it will end. Ask your team to pull together and brainstorm ideas about how you can all keep your spirits up and stay focused on the mission. Share this article with them and get their feedback. Comment below and let me know what ideas they come up with when you do. I’d love to hear them!
Donna Cutting is the author of 3 books, including “Employees First! Inspire, Engage, and Focus on the Heart of Your Organization” (Career Press) which is due for release in March 2022. She’s the Founder & CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Worldwide, and her training programs are being used throughout the United States as well as in South Africa and Australia. Learn more by visiting Red Carpet Learning or subscribing to her YouTube Channel.