Ways to Boost Employee Morale and Motivation During a Pandemic

Elevated Rectangle Award CR160Businesses have been under a lot of stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have had to find ways to keep employees working. As businesses and organizations shift to remote options for some employees and adjust allow for social distancing while working on-site, employee morale is a big concern.

Employees are trying to adjust to working remotely and missing the camaraderie that is often enjoyed around the water cooler or in breakrooms. In addition to lacking a normal working environment, there is social unrest going on around the world. All of these factors become physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing when trying to focus on working. Small business owners and HR personnel are looking for ways to lead with empathy but find a way to maintain motivation and keep performance levels high.

Tips for Boosting Employee Morale and Motivation

Focus on Employee Wellbeing

HR leaders prioritize employee wellbeing. But in this new work environment, it’s become even more important. Being apart physically makes it even more challenging. Here are a few ideas to help improve your employee’s wellbeing and boost morale:

  • Take wellness initiatives virtual. Host online guest speakers or an employee-led meditation session. Meet through an online platform to discuss topics such as stress release, staying focused during a pandemic, and other relevant topics.
  • Expand wellness benefits. Now is a good time to assess your employee’s health and wellness benefits. Consider something as simple as giving an extra day off during the month across the board.
  • Note your high-stress groups. Of course, everyone is under a lot of stress during the pandemic. But some groups struggle more than others. Parents, for example, are dealing with daycare and school closures. Consider reduced work hours or fluctuating schedules to help accommodate your high-stress groups.
  • Awards that inspire wellbeing. Working remotely means a lot of steps and activities are cut. There is no more walking to the break room, to the copy room, or to a coworker’s workstation. This can drastically reduce overall activity. Create corporate awards that inspire employees to move and obtain their personal wellbeing goals.

Focus on Employee Recognition Awards

Now more than ever, employees need to be valued and recognized for their work. In the office setting, this is not difficult as they can be given kudos at any time. But without the in-person interactions, we are accustomed to, recognition needs to be more intentional. Realign your efforts with your current work environments. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Adapt employee recognition efforts to celebrate non-tangibles. Employees are likely finding it more difficult to hit previous targets. Recognize employee behaviors that build and preserve company culture and will have a positive impact on the company for the long-term.
  • Being physically apart makes it even more important for recognition efforts to be shareable. This may mean celebrating via online work platforms like slack or sharing awards during zoom meetings. Virtual awards can abound, and physical awards can be mailed to the deserving recipients who can share their successes online.

Revisit Expectations and Goals

Alderwood plaqueAt the beginning of the year, you started with Q1 goals. But then a pandemic happened and for most businesses made them no longer relevant. Holding teams to unrealistic standards during such a global dilemma can harm employee morale. It’s a good time to revisit your organization’s view of “success.” Employee performance expectations will be different for each organization. Here are a couple of tips for revisiting them.

  • Tweak performance review processes. Many organizations can keep their regular performance reviews and just adjust the process. Maybe it’s time to shift your organization’s focus to career development and progression to increase employee motivation.
  • Encourage new interests. Instead of getting caught up in maintaining pre-pandemic goals, encourage employees to explore other areas of interest. For instance, team members may have an interest in learning more about the marketing aspects of the business. If it’s applicable, facilitate learning the ins and outs of other departments and skillsets.

Employee Recognition and Morale

Suburban Custom Awards has over 50 years of experience in helping businesses and organizations recognize employees. If you need some ideas for how to continue to recognize and reward your top performers, contact us. We have trophies, awards, certificates, and gifts that can be used to help build employee morale. Let us help you honor your best and brightest in a time when it is needed most.