How Businesses Grow the Bottom Line – Investing in Employee Morale

April 21, 2015

Modern business partnersThere is no one-size-fits-all solution to creating an environment that promotes high employee morale. As Millennials enter the workforce, their idea of employee morale goes beyond office perks such as the occasional free lunch. In fact, a recent survey of Millennials showed nearly 40 percent of respondents said employee well-being is a priority for their future workplace, with employee growth and development as a close second.

Keeping employees invested in their employer and its goals can be key to the success of a business. Constructing this type of atmosphere is no easy task and takes time and financial commitment from management. Although there is no quick fix, there are a few timeless truths of building and maintaining employee morale.

Fulfilling basic needs

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, every one has five levels of needs that must be met in order to reach fulfillment; and meeting these needs for employees can equal success for a company.

On the most basic level, a person’s physical needs must be met: water, food, sleep and health. While naps at work may not be a feasible option for many employers, the other three items can be a critical boost for a high-morale environment in the workplace. For example, providing bottles of water and a budgeted amount of office snacks can help rejuvenate employees without a large financial commitment. For employee health, offering a strong employee benefits package can go a long way, especially for younger generations attracted to employers that actively support their well-being.

The next aspect of fulfillment is safety and security. Establishing an office safety plan in case of emergency can help employees feel comfortable and taken care of in the workplace.

Social belonging and respect as a member of the team comprise the third level. Solid relationships with supervisors and co-workers can encourage an employee to be personally invested in the success of the company and his or her work. Managers should establish an environment where employees’ ideas are valued, and constant feedback and constructive criticism are provided.

The fourth level, self-esteem, speaks to a person’s need to be recognized. Managers should take the time to acknowledge employees’ good work and celebrate successes with the entire team to boost overall morale.

The final level of human needs is self-actualization. Business owners can make an investment in their employees’ future by providing access to professional training, classes or seminars that will help them perform their jobs better and continue to grow.

Communicating is key

Internal communication is a major component of a high-morale environment. Managers should maintain a high level of transparency with employees through communication tools like the intranet, regular office-wide emails and face-to-face meetings. Keeping employees informed can reduce the amount of time and energy spent gossiping or speculating about the company’s direction.

In addition to understanding the company, employees should also understand the employer’s expectations in order to clearly perform their job role. Establish a mutual understanding of responsibilities and priorities with each employee so workers know exactly what is expected of them and, in turn, can fulfill personal and company-wide goals.

Managers should also make time to discuss an employee’s career path within the company. Work with employees to establish both short- and long-term goals that align with those of the company. Establish definable tactics to reach those goals to keep job morale high and create positive momentum regarding the employee’s future.

Thinking strategy, not salary

Many business owners believe maintaining morale among employees means offering giveaways, bonuses and even salary increases. These ideas are temporary and may not acknowledge the fundamental truth of improved morale– constructing a long-term, satisfying work experience. Pizza parties and flowers do not sustain satisfaction, and salaries cannot compensate for low job morale.

Managers who make an effort to apply the above tactics will likely see a noticeable boost in employee morale, resulting in:

  • An increase in employee retention rates
  • Improved business performance
  • More engaged employees with a strong work ethic
  • Fulfilled employees

Since employees spend the majority of their time at work, fostering an environment that caters to the basic needs of employees is critical. In most cases, the result will be eager employees that contribute to a highly successful company.

Eric Bonugli is a district manager and Kay Oder is a Certified Business Performance Advisor for Insperity located in the company’s Austin office. Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 29 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.

Topics: Human Resources

Kay Oder


Kay Oder has owned six companies, has been a resource to thousands to businesses and brought solutions to help business owners minimize risk, improve business performance and navigate today’s highly regulated and complex “business of being an employer”.

Today, Kay uses the insights gained throughout her career as a speaker, business owner and business advisor. Audiences enjoy her candid, informed perspective on HR related topics as well as her razor-sharp southern wit.

Kay is also a Certified Business Performance Advisor with Insperity, the $2.6 billion business performance solutions provider she has called home since 1993. Kay has consistently been among the company’s top producers during her 20 plus years with the organization, earning Insperity’s highest honors, including the Top Volume, Circle of Excellence and the Chairman’s Club awards.

Prior to Insperity, Kay was the President and Co-founder of Texas Valve Specialists, a supplier in the oil and gas industry. She has also owned companies in the construction, demolition, machining and promotional apparel arenas. She spent four years as a client of Insperity and upon selling her last venture, joined the Insperity team.

From an early age Kay demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, beginning at age six when she sold cantaloupes from her parents’ front yard, which she offered three for fifty-cents, with a free puppy.

Kay and her husband, Dale, relocated to Austin from the Houston area in 1996 when a theft occurred in their family: their granddaughter was born and stole their hearts, so they had to follow.

Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 30 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance. Insperity® Business Performance Advisors offer the most comprehensive suite of products and services available in the marketplace. Insperity delivers administrative relief, better benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity through its premier Workforce Optimization® solution. Additional company offerings include Human Capital Management, Payroll Services, Time and Attendance, Performance Management, Organizational Planning, Recruiting Services, Employment Screening, Financial Services, Expense Management, Retirement Services and Insurance Services. Insperity business performance solutions support more than 100,000 businesses with over 2 million employees. With 2016 revenues of $2.9 billion, Insperity operates in 61 offices throughout the United States. For more information, call 800-465-3800 or visit

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