There’s no doubt about it. If you want your business to be successful, you have to create a well-thought out plan of action. But it’s a mistake to only rely on how well you’ve researched your market and developed your business plan. You should never count on your business system alone to achieve success–but only use it as a springboard.

One of the most crucial aspects of any business enterprise is its people. The right people can help a business thrive, while the wrong people will wreck even the best business plans. But choosing the right people isn’t simply about carefully selecting the right talent—it’s more complicated than that. A hidden driver when it comes to business success is how people “feel” about you and your company.

In other words, there are many intangibles that influence business success, and many have to do with people. In business parlance, the psychology of mood and motivation has a decisive factor in how well things will work out. This intangible is expressed in a single word: “morale.”

If morale is high, then your people will help your business overcome seemingly insurmountable problems. Conversely, if morale is low, then even a minor glitch is enough to create a cascade of predicaments.

How to Raise Company Morale

How, then, do you manage to tip the balance in favor of high employee morale? Here are five suggestions:

1. Celebrate major accomplishments

As a business owner, one of your principle tasks is to raise morale and a highly effectively way to do this is to have a company equivalent of the Oscars. Rent a hotel ballroom and host a formal event to celebrate exemplary performance. Trophies are much more than formal tokens of appreciation to mark an outstanding achievement; they inspire employees to be productive and to have positive attitudes. Awards will not only raise the spirits of the recipients, but everyone else who attends the big event.

2. Train management in employee relations

While an awards night is a way of raising morale, it shouldn’t be your only way of showing approbation. Other more subtle ways include asking all managers and supervisors to show a kindly attitude to employees. They should show a willingness to instantly say something when they catch employees doing something right. They should also be open to the idea of correcting errors in an instructive, gentle way. In essence, instruct managers to be lavish in their praise but only reprimand employees when truly necessary.

3. Design a compelling vision

Ostensibly, people come in to work to earn a paycheck. But over time, this becomes secondary to higher-order desires, specifically the desire to make a difference in the world and to serve a higher purpose. For instance, in 1998, Google inspired its workforce with a simple mission statement. The company’s purpose, they informed employees, was to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” A compelling vision inspires employees to focus on accomplishments, instead of tasks.

4. Offer opportunities for personal growth

There are many ways to make your business more enjoyable to work, a place where people feel that they have a chance to improve the quality of their lives.  For instance, you could arrange an event with motivational speakers, invite authors to talk about their books, pay for online courses, or organize workshops where participants can improve soft skills like becoming better speakers, listeners, or negotiators.

5. Arrange community volunteer programs on company time

Every community has projects that require volunteer help; for instance, constructing homes with the Habitat for Humanity, cleaning up a playground, working at a women’s shelter, or serving breakfast to the homeless. But for this idea to improve morale, it’s not enough to simply ask employees to work on a community project after work. This is merely encroaching upon their limited time on their days off. A much nobler gesture would be to pay employees their regular wages for a day of community service work. Moreover, these projects should be done in teams, as this will inspire a sense of camaraderie among employees.

Morale and Employee Engagement

What do all five of these morale-boosters have in common? They raise employee engagement. Morale is determined by the level of employee engagement. If employees enjoy the place where they work and the nature of the work that they do, then their morale will naturally be high.

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