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How to Boost Employee Morale When You’re Running a Small Business 

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Considering how much it impacts productivity, engagement, performance, and more, you’ll quickly realize how essential boosting employee morale is. The problem is that keeping morale high in a small business isn’t always the easiest thing. 

When there’s not enough in the budget to offer significant raises, organize elaborate events, or give a few extra days of PTO – all the things known to improve employee morale – you must get creative. 

Fortunately, you can do plenty of budget-friendly things to keep spirits high and ensure employee satisfaction. Take a look. 

Make sure your employees know they’re appreciated 

First and foremost, you’ll need to ensure that your employees know they’re appreciated – and no, that doesn’t mean throwing the office a pizza party. Each one of your employees needs to understand just how valued they are, not for the things the company as a whole has achieved but for the things they as individuals have. 

Make sure to notice their improvements, celebrate important milestones, and make it clear to them that you see and value them. 

Small things such as personalized recognition awards, gifts, and rewards can go a long way, especially after a rough patch where they’ve shown you how hard they work. As your business’s budget increases, you can introduce rewards such as salary increases or one-time bonuses to show your appreciation. 

Keep your teams adequately staffed 

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Keeping your business understaffed is one of the worst mistakes you could make for employee morale. Your employees will feel overworked. Their work-life balance will likely be all but nonexistent. Their job satisfaction levels will drop without a doubt. 

Before long, your understaffing problems will grow larger as you’ll undoubtedly start getting in your 2-week notices. If you want to keep your employees healthy and happy and boost their morale, you’ll ensure that you have enough staff to cover all the work that needs to be done. 

An occasional rough day can be excused. However, if your employees are forced to take on more responsibilities and fill in for others’ workloads over a longer period, it’s a sign that you need to hire more people. If that’s not in the budget, you must scale down your operations. 

After all, it’s not your employees’ fault that your business is trying to operate over its maximum capacity. 

Offer advancement opportunities 

To truly boost staff morale, you must show your employees that you support them – not just in their current roles and positions but throughout their career paths. That means offering them plenty of opportunities for professional growth and development. 

For small businesses, it can be challenging to offer many promotion opportunities. SMBs are commonly much less hierarchical than large organizations, with few levels of management, meaning there’s only so much room for employees to climb their career ladders. Still, there are a couple of things that could help your employees. 

In lieu of promotions, offer salary increases. Expand their responsibilities or offer reskilling or upskilling opportunities. You can also provide lateral career moves. Perhaps most importantly, you should check in with your employees and see what roles and responsibilities they want to fulfill within your organization. 

Organize engaging team-building events 

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Not all employees enjoy team-building events, and in small companies, it doesn’t always seem like there’s a reason to have them. In all likelihood, all the employees you have work together in roughly the same space every day. They have every opportunity to talk, get to know each other, and build up your company culture. 

However, an occasional chit-chat by the water cooler isn’t enough to help your employees feel like they’re all part of the same team. Your staff needs to spend some casual quality time together, to relax together and build friendly relationships. 

Whether you go for activities such as office trivia parties, escape room events, board game nights, or anything in between, organize team-building events at least once a year to strengthen your company culture and boost morale. 

Ask for feedback 

Finally, you’ll always want to ensure that you ask your employees for feedback. Keeping communication clear, transparent, and open will allow you to identify morale issues before they start impacting productivity. It will enable you to find out what your employees are satisfied and dissatisfied with, how you can improve the office environment, and what you can do to help them fulfill their goals. It will allow you to build a unified team that supports and encourages each other. 

Of course, it’s not enough to simply ask for feedback. You’ll also need to act on it and be prepared to make changes you might not initially be happy with. 

Final thoughts 

When you’re running a small business, boosting employee morale might seem like an insurmountable challenge. However, unless you commit yourself to it, you’ll quickly notice a drop in productivity and might even find yourself unexpectedly short-staffed. 

Therefore, show your employees some appreciation, offer advancement opportunities, ask for feedback, and more. It will help you keep morale up and your employees productive and satisfied. 

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