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How to Build Employee Morale

Updated: May 28, 2023

The last few years have been full of whiplash for People leaders. We had the “Great Resignation” and accompanying calls to improve company culture in order to improve employee retention. At the end of the year, we took a sharp and dramatic turn into a slew of layoffs across the tech industry.

The result leaves People leaders in a tough spot: trying to build a cohesive culture across increasingly hybrid teams, while being pressured by leadership to focus on efficiency.

If you’re debating how to build employee morale, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

Give remote and in-person teams the same attention, not the same experience.

If your company has a hybrid model, the experiences of the remote and in-person teams are going to be different. You can’t bring them together via teleportation, but you can invest in structures to keep them equally invested. If the in-person team has lunch delivered on Tuesdays, try setting up a Seamless credit that refills on Tuesdays for your remote team. Try moving recognition and rewards to physical gifts sent by snail mail: instead of sending an automated email asking an employee to pick a gift from a random collection, use a gifting platform to send them something you know they’ll love, that shows up as a surprise on their doorstep.

Keep track of the details.

65% of employees say they don’t feel known or appreciated by their employer. It makes sense: once an organization reaches a certain size, it’s impossible to remember all the details—who’s a vegan, who’s married, what their kids’ names are—that make a smaller team feel super-close.

It might not seem like a big problem, but asking for that information repeatedly (or worse, getting it wrong) can make people feel like who they are as individuals isn’t that important.

The way to make this work: write it down. Using software like Present makes sharing the information across teams (and having managers contribute) even easier. Birthday reminders will no longer be something you have to manage (and dread forgetting).

Recognize the big milestones.

Gen Z and Millennial employees (now the majority of the workforce) increasingly rank “employee recognition” as a must-have. Recognition means acknowledging hard work and tenure on the job, but also marking the big moments in an employee’s personal life. When evaluating your recognition program, think about whether it helps to marks the big personal moments, like marriages, new babies, etc. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gesture, but you definitely want to mark these moments and make sure the methodology/cost is consistent across employees.

Send gifts that are geared toward their interests, not your brand.

Every company’s take on swag is different. Some employees love it…others, not so much. Our research shows that 70% of employees don’t want more merchandise emblazoned with company logos, and would vastly prefer gifts that reflect their interests. Try limiting swag gifts to work anniversaries and sending individualized gifts for personal milestones. If you're sending company gifts, make sure they reflect the people that are receiving them!

This level of investment in employees definitely takes additional time and mental load…unless you have Present. Use it to seamlessly track individual employee information and milestones, and send gifts tailored to their preferences. To learn more about Present, click here to book a demo!

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