Employees giving thumbs up

You’ve likely seen national companies like Google, Facebook and Zappos in the news with a spotlight on the many perks their employees enjoy, like corporate cafeterias with world-class chefs, free on-site laundry or free rental cars and massages. But you don’t have to have a Facebook or Google budget to show employees you appreciate them. Here are six easy to implement, cost-effective gestures to help boost employee morale.

1. Recognize employee successes. Whether a call-out at an all-company meeting, a monthly post on the intranet or an annual award voted on by employees, calling out good work helps employees to know they are appreciated and encourages them to excel.

2. Offer food perks. Appealing to employees’ stomachs continues to be a sure-fire way to boost morale, whether through a regular (or surprise) team lunch, bringing a food truck to your office or donuts on Fridays. At DePaul Industries headquarters, we have a popular (and healthy!) food perk: fresh fruit in the kitchen every day.

3. Volunteer together. Organizing a volunteer opportunity, or offering employees paid time to volunteer, shows employees that you value giving back and being active in the community. Volunteering as a company can also be a great exercise in teamwork and communication.

4. Provide discounts or loyalty programs. Working to get discounts for your employees at nearby coffee shops, restaurants, gyms or retailers will likely cost you nothing, but goes a long way in showing that you care. And the nearby establishment’s owner will benefit from the increased business.

5. Encourage breaks. Getting a few minutes away from a project can provide new perspective and increased energy, as this article in Inc. reminds us, and allows employees to make meaningful connections. Plus, giving employees the freedom to manage their own time makes them feel valued.

6. Don’t forget to have fun! Top workplaces have fun built into their culture, whether that means a break room ping pong table, a weekly basketball game at the park around the corner or a general encouragement of silliness. Employees want to work in a positive environment where a sense of humor is appreciated, and many studies have shown that happy employees are more productive.

When corporate budgets are tight, as they’ve been the last few years, investing in employee morale can fall to the bottom of the priority list. But in order to keep spirits and productivity high, and attract and retain top-level employees, a modest investment of time and money can go a long way.

This post is part of a month-long blogging series for DePaul Industries: One blog post a day for a month! Stay tuned for more great tips and tricks through March 2014.

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