How to improve staff morale

3 min read
hands together
First Published: 
Mar 2008

Key Learnings contained in this article:

Sustaining staff morale is about much more than delivering a wage slip at the end of the month. If the past few years of restructurings, closures, and layoffs in the pharma industry have taken a toll on the office mood, perhaps it’s time for a little shot in the arm.

The following nine-point guide can help you boost workplace satisfaction – and reap the rewards of a more motivated workforce, lower staff turnover, and a positive environment

Know your staff

Some employees are driven by results, others by process; some focus on the big picture, while others love details; some are introverts, and others wilt without lots of interaction. By taking the time to understand what makes each person tick, you can keep them motivated and create the conditions to help them thrive.


Closed doors breed rumours and fear, so make a point of keeping everyone in the loop about corporate decisions and impending issues. Make sure your employees know how their work is having an impact. Finally, remember that communication is a two-way street. Ask for input, and take it seriously.

Offer support

When you provide training and mentoring, you’re sending employees the message that they’re worth investing in – and giving them the tools to succeed. Programmes can be formal or informal, in-house or external, just so long as they fit the specific needs and interests of your staff.

Give and get feedback

Employees shouldn’t have to wait for their annual review to find out how they’re doing. Give feedback regularly: praise an accomplishment or nip a problem in the bud before it becomes a big issue. At the same time, ask questions. Are they happy? Is there anything you could do to help them work more effectively?

Recognise good work

Who doesn’t like to be acknowledged for a job well done? Whether it’s an accolade at the weekly departmental meeting, a simple thank you in the hallway, or a formal corporate award, recognition lets people know that their efforts are appreciated.

Crank up the challenge

Boredom creates a breeding ground for discontent, so give your employees work they can sink their teeth into: a new project, for example, or the autonomy to make more decisions.

Tame the bureaucracy

It’s the bane of big organisations and the number one frustration for the people who work in them. You’re guaranteed to make your employees happier by minimising red tape and running interference as much as possible.

Foster camaraderie

Promoting better staff relationships doesn’t have to be touchy-feely or involve clinging to a rope 30 feet above the ground. Rather, it simply needs to get employees interacting in new ways. The better everyone understands one other, the more effectively you can all work together.

Add a spoonful of sugar

Small perks can sweeten the workday. An indoor putting green or corporate concierge may not be in your budget, but perhaps a departmental cappuccino maker is. Or consider no-cost approaches like offering flex time, dress-down Fridays, or an iPod-friendly work policy.

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Julie Stauffer
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