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Think about the places where you’ve loved working. What was it about these workplaces that made getting out of bed at the crack of dawn each day so appealing? Was it the nature of the job? Maybe. Was it the commute? Doubtful. Was it your compensation and benefits? Probably not. When we think back to places we liked working, what typically springs to mind are the people and the fun you had as a team. More often than not, the thing that keeps individuals working for one employer is the social side: their workmates.

staff morale

It’s crucial from a retention perspective to ensure that staff morale remains high and that colleagues continue to work together in a fun environment. It’s not always easy to keep people motivated, but there are lots of things employers can do that won’t break the budget

Here are just a handful of ideas:

Job shadowing

This might appear like a dull one to start with, but job shadowing can bring about a greater appreciation for other colleagues’ roles and responsibilities. This, in turn, can ease working relations and create a new respect between those who a) perhaps didn’t have much contact before or b) had a strained relationship. It could also have the added benefit of opening up new career paths for those doing the shadowing.

Introduce more-flexible working

Self-designated working hours is a great thing and an important benefit in the eyes of most employees, but how far does your flexible working policy extend? Allowing people to work from home or in other designated sites can make a significant difference to some people, i.e. carers. It can boost morale, productivity and loyalty to the company. Most importantly, you’re helping to make someone’s life run a little more smoothly.

Team activities and social events

Whether it’s a staff away day, a competition in the office or just the odd lunch, team activities are essential to staff morale. They give the team a chance to let their hair down, have some fun and interact without the usual pressures of work on their minds. Why not start a work football league or a lunchtime walking club? It needn’t cost anything. Perhaps set up a recurring evening out at the pub around the corner? Better still if the company credit card can go behind the bar for a short while!

A staff recognition scheme

Not all companies have the budget to reward staff financially for a job well done, even if they wanted to. However, sometimes, the recognition alone is all that is required to make someone’s day and with that in mind, it’s probably a good idea to set up an internal recognition scheme. This might be an ‘employee of the week’ where everyone gets to vote and the winner gets to place a trophy on their desk. Or it might be a grander scheme, where colleagues can nominate a peer for having demonstrated one of the company’s core values, where the prize might be lunch with the MD or a bottle of wine. We all like to be praised and thanked, so recognition doesn’t have to be an over-the-top process. Just a thank you made public.

In these turbulent times, it can be hard to ensure a buoyant level of staff morale, but it really is important if your business want to grow. It’s true what they say: your people are your best asset; look after them and they will look after you.