If you think about a time you felt appreciated at work, it probably wasn’t because of the zeros on your pay cheque. Yes, pay is important and a healthy number of holidays doesn’t hurt, but there’s lots more that goes into making an employee feel valued.

With National Employee Appreciation Day coming up on March 4th, it’s a good time to consider what makes happy employees. And it doesn’t appear to take too much. According to many human resources experts, it boils down to employers respecting the work-life balance of their employees.

Forbes reports that employees who enjoy a good work-life balance are “more productive and dedicated by 21 per cent than those who don’t.” That means employers who can create the right kind of environment are more likely to get better work out of their teams.

Promoting positive employee morale and getting to know more about your employees on a personal level directly benefits your business,” Forbes states. “Not every CEO has time to memorize every employee's hobbies, the names of their children or their zodiac sign. But employers do need to take the time to acknowledge the "human" in "human resources" by developing more inclusive policies and recognizing individual, yet essential, employee needs.”

Employee Morale Boosters

Global employment website, Indeed.com, says there are a few employee morale boosters that can be used to help employees feel good about coming to work.

  • Beef up communication
  • Show appreciation for employees
  • Give and take feedback
  • Offer opportunities for growth
  • Provide meaningful breaks at work
  • Have a zero-tolerance for workplace bullying
  • Team-building opportunities
  • Encouraging staff to take vacation days
  • Offering bonuses
  • Inviting employees to have input in decision-making

What is Employee Morale?

“Employee morale is defined as the overall satisfaction, outlook, and feelings of well-being that an employee holds in the workplace,”according to Corporate Finance Institute. “Employee morale is how satisfied employees feel about their work environment. Employee morale is important for many businesses due to its direct effect on productivity. Employees with higher morale exhibit higher productivity while employees with lower morale show lower productivity.”

Happy Employees are Productive Employees

A study looking into productivity showed that workers who put in about 42 hours a week had much lower morale than those who averaged 28 hours in the same time frame. The group with the more reasonable work hours also were 70 per cent more productive.

The take-away? Happy employees want to work — for you.

Happy employees also translate into other benefits for the workplace. This includes:

  • Increased cost-effectiveness - higher morale leads to better physical and psychological health which means fewer sick days taken.
  • Better collaboration-  employees who feel better about their workplace are more likely to support one another and willing to work towards a common goal.
  • Higher employee retention - happier workers stay longer than unhappy ones. A Forbes study showed a quarter of people who did not feel their employer promoted a positive work-life balance planned to quit within two years compared to just 17 per cent of those who felt supported. Employers take note — flexible work schedules correlated to an 80 per cent boost in employee retention.

“Employees must also enjoy a satisfactory work-life balance, including the ability to work flexible schedules as necessary. They must feel their work is meaningful, their voices are valued and their career aspirations within the organization are transparent and achievable,” according to experts. ‘Of course, talented employees with options also want strong compensation and employee benefits packages.”

Offering so-called perks like dental care programs, vision care programs, medical care programs and wellness programs is among tactics to boost employee morale.

And that’s where we come in.

GMS provides group benefits that offer peace of mind to employees who know that some of the essentials in health-care are covered, (think dental and expenses like physiotherapy and massage.) Depending on your plan, the addition of other benefits is a way to concretely help your employees but also add a morale boost given they know you’re looking out for their wellbeing and their families.