Poor team morale is a serious problem that can negatively impact your business. If your employees aren’t engaged, then they’re not performing at their best, which will drag down productivity and profits in the long run. But there are things you can do to improve team morale.
Trawl the web and you’ll find countless ways of improving team morale. But to engage your team on a deeper level, you should look for more creative, visual methods of doing so.
Visuals are proven to be more effective than copy at engaging people. Studies indicate that we only remember 10% of what we hear, 20% of what we read, but 80% of what we see. Consequently, using visuals to improve team morale is more effective than other means of doing so.
Read on for 6 creative visual ideas you can use to improve your team morale.
Leverage video conferencing to make meetings personal
Not all teams work in the same building. Some might be in different offices in other cities, or they might comprise remote workers spread around the globe. Meetings are held over the phone, meaning a team only hears voices, rather than seeing faces. Indeed, a team might never see their colleagues’ faces at all during their time working for a business.
But connecting faces to voices is important for improving team morale. It adds a human element that makes employees feel part of a team, rather than just a cog in the machine.
Visual cues such as facial expressions and hand gesticulations go a long way towards conveying emotion and meaning. Basic phone meetings lack these cues, making teams feel isolated from their colleagues. This in turn negatively impacts team cohesion and morale as a result.
To that end, implement video conferencing to host your weekly or monthly meetings — Google Hangouts is a free solution that’s readily available. It might seem obvious, but regularly hosting meetings via video goes a long way towards ensuring your team feels exactly that — part of a team.
Play with visuals to give weight to your praise
As a business, you know the value of thanking your customers. Letting your customers know that you appreciate their custom is an important task that drives repeat sales and increases customer lifetime value.
And thanking your customers is made all the more valuable when it’s done in a visual way — a handwritten note in a package, a beautiful unboxing experience, and so on. And while this is a rewarding experience for your customers, it’s equally valuable for your employees too.
Thanking an individual or a team for their hard work does wonders for morale, letting them know that they are valued within the business.
But praising your team visually takes that morale-enhancing effect to the next level. It transforms the praise into something tangible, staying with your team for a long time to come.
A short, personalised video message cascaded across the company is one such example of visual praise. Sending a video memo to the whole business gives the praise weight, bolstering team morale as a consequence.
Similarly, you could take a screenshot of a team’s great work or praise from a client and add some emojis or gifs to it. This adds a humorous element that will resonate with your team, a refreshing change from the stuffy, boilerplate praise teams are accustomed to.
Use visual humour to enliven team morale
On the topic of humour, it’s true that laughter is the best medicine. You can lift even the lowest team morale with a well-timed joke or humorous comment.
You don’t need to be The Office’s Michael Scott — far from it. But injecting a little light-hearted humour into your daily briefings has a powerful effect on your team’s morale.
They work eight hours a day, five days a week, and doing the same thing week in, week out can be a drudge. Using humour to deliver news, project briefs, updates, and so on transforms the repetitive into something to look forward to.
The emojis and gifs I mentioned earlier are one example. But similarly, using pop culture references, or funny topical news stories to deliver information to your team makes it more engaging.
Another visual humourous task you could set your team is to create a comic strip about your office, in the same vein as Dilbert. Have your team identify amusing tropes of your office — perhaps your fire drill is always at inopportune times, or someone wears the same tie on the same day every week — and create a comic strip around it (avoid offence, naturally).
In the same vein, you could film an educational video for your team, with your staff in the starring roles. Perhaps your induction videos or health and safety videos need updating? Get your team to script and act out a new video (there is plenty of free video editing software available online), and share the finished product with your colleagues.
Even if the final video doesn’t serve a specific function, the end result will raise a smile to your team and boost morale manifold.
Encourage your team to engage through creation
The joy of creation is a wonderful thing. They say the happiest workers are those who use their hands for a living: carpenters, stonemasons, mechanics, and so on. For office workers, finding such joy is a little more difficult — unless you get creative.
To that end, get your team to undertake a project that uses their creative and visual skills in a way that benefits your business. Branded business merchandise, marketing materials, internal communications templates — give them all a visual revamp.
The key to using this as a tactic for improving morale is to give your team full creative reign over the project. It doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming — your team could even take their own photos, create some slick new graphics or get involved in producing marketing materials for your business.
By letting your team have some creative input into your everyday business ephemera, they feel more engaged with their work as a result. Their input is valued beyond the role they play within your business, and thus they feel valued too.
Use creative visual tools to track your team’s progress
One of the best ways to improve team morale is through tracking progress. Have you ever used an exercise app to track your weight loss over a period of months? That feeling you get when you check the app and see how much you’ve lost is second-to-none. The same principle applies to your team morale too.
But rather than using traditional progress tracking methods, you should look to one of the many visual project management apps available. Tools such as Trello and Airtable provide a plethora of ways for teams and managers to visualise progress. They’re customisable and dynamic and provide great scope for teams from a variety of industries.
Beyond these tools, there are plenty of ways you can implement visual progress tracking yourself. Simple colour-coded calendars give employees visual oversight of how much they’ve achieved (and how much is left to do).
If you have a wall-mounted screen in your office, share a colourful pie chart that tracks your team’s progress. Your employees can see it updated in real-time, literally seeing the progress they’re making and increasing morale as a consequence.
Let your team make their office their own
Your team’s working environment is an important factor in improving team morale. A poorly-lit, cluttered office creates a bleak space that feels more like a prison than a place of work.
It goes without saying that plenty of natural light, clear walkways, plants, and open office space are a must. These go a long way towards creating a workspace that’s conducive to team morale.
But beyond this, why not let your team decorate the office themselves? Set aside a day for your team to get visual with their workspace and make it their own. Obviously, a rented office might have its limitations regarding decor. But it’s still possible for your team to personalise their desks and workspace to their style and taste.
Giving employees control over their environment makes them feel more engaged with their workspace. This lets your team add a personal touch to a space where they spend most of their waking hours.
Your team’s morale is the fuel that keeps your business running. When morale runs low, your business will falter, even irrevocably.
Use the 6 creative visual ideas outlined above to improve your team’s morale on a deeper, more meaningful level.
Enliven them with visual praise, leverage technology to connect your team as individuals, and create projects that engage your employees with their workplace on an emotional level. The tips above will get you well on the way towards morale that works for your team and your business.
About the Author
Kayleigh Alexandra is a writer and campaign designer for MicroStartups, a website focused on microbusinesses and charities. With years of experience in the sustainability, marketing creative industries, Kayleigh loves to share her knowledge of building businesses from the ground up. Visit her blog or follow her on Twitter for the latest startup and entrepreneur-based advice, news and tips.