6 Ways To Increase Employee Morale And Performance

FORBES / Entrepreneurs / Article by Cheryl Conner / link

This week I had a visit with Salt Lake entrepreneur Amelia Wilcox, founder and CEO of Incorporate Massage. She started her company four and a half years ago, to provide corporate massage services for a variety of organizations. Research on the prevalence of corporate massage is scarce, but most sources indicate  its popularity is growing, and an article in the Financial Times quotes at least one company reporting a 25% decrease in time off for workplace injuries and a $200,000 decrease in compensation claims when it implemented a corporate massage program.


1. Give them a reason to believe

Your employees are part of something bigger than themselves, but do they know it? From the first interview, potential candidates need to understand and share in the vision of what you are doing as an organization. That vision alone will motivate and inspire your team, down to its junior members, which comes back full circle in effectively facilitating company growth.

For her company, as an example, the company’s true purpose is “Improving Lives” as every team member is aware. The team is directly improving the lives of the individuals they provide massage therapy for, but is also improving the lives of HR teams by administrating the entire massage program fully, leaving them free to do their own jobs.

Additionally, they improve the lives of CEO’s and stockholders by:

  • improving employee retention and morale and,
  • decreasing worker’s comp claims and health insurance cost

2. Show you care

Recognize every single employee’s birthday. Send gifts for new babies and weddings. Be involved in employees’ lives to let them feel loved and valued not only as employees, but also as family members and as human beings. “When people are loved, they will give more than you can imagine they could for you and your cause,” Wilcox says. In her company, she sends gifts to employees around every possible event in their lives. “Employees are the lifeblood of our operation. We want to make taking care of them our highest priority and to make sure they are ridiculously happy at all times.”

3. Recognize the good

When someone is doing something awesome, tell them. Recognize the individuals on your team who receive good feedback from your clients. It’s important for employees to feel their efforts are being recognized, and the recognition further perpetuates their desire to go above and beyond for your clients, which of course, sets you apart as an organization as well. Says Amelia, “We ask each client how their therapists are doing, and we pass that positive feedback on publicly at our team meetings in the form of “Kudos.” Negative feedback is also passed on, but privately, and proper corrections are made.” In our own organization we provide periodic surprise “spot bonuses” to highlight achievements that are above and beyond.

4. Learn the value of “fringe”

Your company may not be at a point that allows you to offer a competitive full benefits package. But you’d be surprised how far a few small (and inexpensive) benefits will go with your staff. Amelia reports that her company gives each employee a massage every month. “We also provide a monthly wellness allowance our employees can use on anything health and wellness related,” she says. “And we feed our team with healthy food options at every meeting.”

5. Promote from within

When your employees see that there is room to advance their career within your organization, it speaks volumes. Find out what skills and talents the different members of your crew possess and find ways to develop those skills for future use in your business. When you have a stellar team member, help invest in the training they need to advance as your company grows.

6. Bring on the fun

An organization that plays together stays together, Amelia maintains. This is a common thread among the fastest growing companies in the Utah region and appears to be true for other regions as well. Companies such as Vivint (one of Forbes’ Most Promising Companies for 2013) throw huge summer parties with horse drawn carriages, massage, face paint, bonfires and dirt bikes. These celebrations acknowledge to employees that the organization can’t succeed without them.

The common theme in all of these ideas is caring, recognition, rewards and appreciation. These small steps can go far. What additional ideas has your own organization used with success?