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5 ways to boost employee morale (without giving raises)

Mediafeed Logo By Melissa Wylie of Mediafeed | Slide 1 of 6: As a small business owner, your employees are among your most valuable assets, and creating a culture where they feel engaged and motivated to work hard should be at the top of your priority list.Employee engagement in the U.S. is on the rise, as a 2018 Gallup report showed 34% of employees feel enthusiastic about their work and committed to their workplace, tying the highest percentage in Gallup’s history. Just 13% of employees feel “actively disengaged” and miserable at work, which is the lowest Gallup has recorded. But despite the hopeful findings, most people – 53% – report feeling “not engaged” at all with no emotional connection to their workplace.“The vast majority of workers are not engaged,” said Judith Bardwick, author, executive coach and business consultant. “It means they don’t care, but they will keep up face so they don’t lose the position they have or the money they’re getting.”The profitability of a business, whether small or large, is directly linked to how many people in the organization feel their work is worthwhile and are committed to the company, Bardwick said. If employee morale sinks too low, you risk the threat of disgruntled workers setting out to sabotage the business, she said.Workplace turnover can also be costly — employers are expected to pay more than $680 billion in turnover costs by 2020.You may want to give monetary bonuses as a quick way to boost employee morale and engagement, but that rarely has the desired effect, Bardwick said. One-time bonuses and physical gifts of any kind tend to make employees “feel they are being bought and not applauded as an individual,” she said. If people start comparing their gifts, it could create additional tension in the workplace.Throwing money at a morale problem may not be the best solution. And perks will do little good if an unhealthy work culture is the real culprit. Here are other ways to boost morale in your business — and (most of them) don’t cost a dime.

Care for employees like the assets they are

As a small business owner, your employees are among your most valuable assets, and creating a culture where they feel engaged and motivated to work hard should be at the top of your priority list.

Employee engagement in the U.S. is on the rise, as a 2018 Gallup report showed 34% of employees feel enthusiastic about their work and committed to their workplace, tying the highest percentage in Gallup’s history. Just 13% of employees feel “actively disengaged” and miserable at work, which is the lowest Gallup has recorded. But despite the hopeful findings, most people – 53% – report feeling “not engaged” at all with no emotional connection to their workplace.

“The vast majority of workers are not engaged,” said Judith Bardwick, author, executive coach and business consultant. “It means they don’t care, but they will keep up face so they don’t lose the position they have or the money they’re getting.”

The profitability of a business, whether small or large, is directly linked to how many people in the organization feel their work is worthwhile and are committed to the company, Bardwick said. If employee morale sinks too low, you risk the threat of disgruntled workers setting out to sabotage the business, she said.

Workplace turnover can also be costly — employers are expected to pay more than $680 billion in turnover costs by 2020.

You may want to give monetary bonuses as a quick way to boost employee morale and engagement, but that rarely has the desired effect, Bardwick said. One-time bonuses and physical gifts of any kind tend to make employees “feel they are being bought and not applauded as an individual,” she said. If people start comparing their gifts, it could create additional tension in the workplace.

Throwing money at a morale problem may not be the best solution. And perks will do little good if an unhealthy work culture is the real culprit. Here are other ways to boost morale in your business — and (most of them) don’t cost a dime.

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