Improving Workplace Morale
Deb Ward / OCTOBER 07 2020

We all know that positive and happy employees are more productive, innovative and engaged. They tend to stay longer and care about your company’s goals and vision. Given the current state of the hospitality industry amid the pandemic, we can all use a boost.  Here are some ideas to improve morale and shift the current mood at work.

Be sure to say “Thanks.” Recognition goes a long way toward showing your employees you care and respect them. Take the extra step to send a handwritten note, give a gift certificate or spring for lunch… and be sure to recognize teams and individuals at company events in front of the whole group. Many hotels will leave a thank you card in the rooms for guests when they check-in or will send a thank you email after checking out, so using that same courtesy towards your employees can help make their shifts easier. Even giving team members a shout out on social media channels, especially during harder times, can make them feel like a valued member. At the beginning of the pandemic, Swissotel Chicago has highlighted a team member with their “Hospitality Hero” hashtag.

Emphasize work-life balance. Since there are already so many amenities available at hotels for the guests, consider offering them to your employees as well during their off time. A discount for spa treatments or use of the on-site fitness facilities. Or perhaps offering help with childcare, and building a culture that emphasizes taking vacation time to decompress. 

Promote from within. Employees are more motivated to go the extra mile when they see future potential in their career path. It significantly improves attitudes when they see talent rewarded from within. An example is the Lead@Hilton program, their leadership development framework that builds their team members up at every level in their career to help them reach their full potential. 

Consider incentives. Build some incentives into achieving company goals. Be sure to solicit ideas for the types of incentives that are meaningful to your employees and put them into place when certain milestones are reached. Make it fun to meet challenges and reach for excellence.

Do some team-building.No, not the old “fall-back and trust” activities we all dreaded in the past. Make it interesting. Ask for ideas from the team and get outside the building from time to time to share a meal, a contest, a walk, or a trivia challenge. According to 2017 research of hospitality employees in the Netherlands, they preferred team building activities that did not relate to skill-building, or work-related activities, such as celebrating birthdays.

Offer growth opportunities. Boost morale by giving employees a chance to earn a trip to a conference or paid tuition for a class… anything that will improve their professional skills. Companies could even partner with an organization such as the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, to give their team members opportunities to connect with other professionals of similar backgrounds and interests.

Get employee feedback. Show your employees you value their opinions and that you’re listening. Creating internal surveys for employees to anonymously tell you what you could improve on, or what you are doing well gives them the opportunity to have a say in their own workplace. Many hotels and restaurants take the time to send out surveys or ask for reviews from customers, so why not give the people who come to work every day do the same?

Communicate often. Share positive accomplishments such as a great customer review or the opening of a new service or location. Be sure to check in with your employees on a personal level by asking about any challenges they’re facing, how they’re feeling about their work and team and how their family is doing. From there, you can collaborate on a plan to learn a new skill that could make tasks easier, or give them new responsibilities to help them prepare for a promotion.

Train your managers. Make sure all managers are trained in emotional intelligence, communication, giving feedback and recognition as well as different leadership styles, and diversity and inclusion. Managers can directly improve employee turnover rate by creating a more welcoming and communicative work environment.

Above all, remember it’s up to you, as the manager, to make team morale a priority. Be consistent and strategic and don’t forget to enjoy each other. Create a space where everyone feels confident and motivated to perform at their very best.