Improving Employee Morale Doesn’t Have to Mean a Pay Raise

There are many ways to keep employees happy and productive that don’t involve a lot of money
Improving Employee Morale Doesn’t Have to Mean a Pay Raise
The Watab staff at the company's headquarters in St. Joseph, Minnesota.

It’s important to have a happy workforce. A happy workforce means better retention, which means much less time and money spent finding, recruiting and training new people. It also means a more pleasant workplace, and it means team members who are focused, energetic and agreeable.

Actually keeping your people happy can be tough sometimes because let’s face it: Any job can grow wearisome or stale from time to time. Burnout can happen, boredom can set in and morale can drop. The traditional way to keep employees happy and motivated is to just raise their pay, which is certainly effective, but what if you can’t actually afford to do that just now?

The good news for business owners is that there are alternative ways to keep employees happy — and less expensive ones, to boot.

In lieu of heftier paychecks, consider any of the following approaches:

Invest in training, especially for your managers. Nothing sours you on a job like being led by someone you perceive to be incompetent, or someone who is simply a poor leader. As such, it’s crucial to ensure that all of your managers and supervisors receive ongoing training, making them the best team leaders possible.

Give each employee a sense of purpose. One way to keep people engaged in their work is to show them that what they do truly matters. Make sure you regularly remind your employees of your company vision, as well as any short-term goals you might have. Also be clear in the part each employee plays in fulfilling that mission.

Offer verbal affirmation when it’s due. People like to be praised, especially in front of their peers. So when your employee does something really stellar, give him or her a pat on the back — publically, if possible.

Allow yourself to be spontaneous. It’s OK to act on a whim every now and again, and your employees will really notice if you spontaneously give them a half-day off, or buy everyone lunch, or let them leave an hour early on Friday afternoon.

Spend time with your employees. There’s no substitute for being a personable leader. Get to know your employees a little bit more. Mingle with them, ask about their kids or just chat for a bit. Make yourself accessible to them, and don’t always focus on work stuff.

Provide flexibility. You may not be able to give all your people a pay raise or an extra day off, but you probably can allow an employee half a day to go to his son’s piano recital, or to leave work a couple hours early to get the family car serviced. Being loose and flexible about these things can really make employees feel appreciated — and employees who feel appreciated will also feel happy.

The bottom line is that your time, attention and flexibility mean a great deal, and in some cases, may mean more than money. And they can certainly help keep your team members happy.

About the author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California, and Dublin, Ireland. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.