5 Ideas for Improving Employee Morale at Your Small Business

Are your employees happy? Not just happy to receive a paycheck but do they actually enjoy their jobs? Disgruntled employees are not only less likely to do their best work but their poor attitudes could also infect others on your team, which in turn could lead to some major issues affecting your business.

To prevent this it’s imperative that you consider employee morale when growing your small business. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Encourage input 

Often times business owners who may not have a hands-on role in running the day to day operations of their company might not realize how their policies help or hurt those on the floor. As a result their guidelines may either be begrudgingly met by employees or just outright ignored. For this reason not only is it important to periodically review your various procedures but to also solicit ideas from those who are most directly affected by them. 

For one, when employees feel heard, they’ll be happier. Additionally the ideas your team comes up with could help improve the efficiency of your business overall. Keeping an “open door” policy and/or taking time to work beside your operational employees from time to time will help you gather these ideas and put them into action.

Rethink your employee perks

We all know the typical benefits that businesses offer their employees: usually health insurance and a 401(k). However today many workers enjoy other types of perks that speak to their lifestyles and what they value.  While you’re looking for new ideas from your employees, also see what types of benefits they’d like and consider how you could implement them — even if it’s just for a trial period.

Show an interest in them

Speaking of lifesyle, no matter how dedicated an employee is to their job, it’s rare that it becomes their entire life. Your team members will all have their own interests, passions, and struggles outside of work. More often than not taking an interest in these aspects of employee’s “outside” life shows them that you care about them and don’t just see them as hired help. This compassion will prevent the position from feeling like “just a job” and could also help build loyalty.

Admittedly there is a fine line between being friendly with employees and being friends with them. While some bosses don’t mind blurring those lines, fraternization can lead to some difficulties including accusations of favoritism. Because of this be mindful about how you treat all members of your team and be sure to keep things professional.

Surprise them with treats

Who doesn’t love being surprised with a cup of coffee or free food on an otherwise normal day? These small acts of kindness, generosity, and fun can really make an impression on your employees. In fact not only could it turn their stressful day around but could also serve to remind them why they enjoy their job.

Depending on the size of your team and how often you choose to treat them, this type of perk could add up. In that case you may want to look into partnering with other businesses to arrange trades. Obviously trades between culinary establishments are the easiest to facilitate but, with some creativity, you can think up a plan that will mutually benefit both company’s staff members.

Always say “thank you”

It seems like a no-brainer but it’s often forgotten: saying “thank you” and telling your employees that you appreciate their hard work can go a long way in improving (or maintaining) morale. In addition to verbal acknowledgment you might also want to find a way to document superior performance. This could be accomplished with spot perks like extra discounts or gift cards from other businesses (another great trade idea) or with something like a year-end awards dinners where your team can come together, have fun, and celebrate their collective accomplishments. But, if nothing else, a simple “thank you” is a must.


Employee moral may not be the top item on your mind when starting a small business but its importance cannot be overstated. Developing a company culture that you and your employees enjoy can help with everything from employee turnover to customer service. For those reasons and many more, be sure to keep your employees happy and let them know you appreciate them.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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