Boosting Department Morale: Being An Effective Manager

As the year winds down at the company I work for, preparations for the manager annual performance reviews are gearing up.

Performance reviews are extremely important for both the manager and the direct report. It is an opportunity to discuss how the year has gone, make sure you both are on the same page in regards to individual performance, and for managers it is an excellent way to get a read on the happiness level of employees.

Happiness is important, and not just once a year at review time.

women business meeting pixy

According to the American Psychological Association “Employees who said they like their jobs are twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall — reporting strong relationships, effective money management, good health and engagement in their communities — as those who are disengaged and unhappy at work.”

What are some good ways to bolster employee happiness and foster a nurturing work environment?

  1. Praise – An employee who feels recognized and valuable will feel secure and content. Verbal and written praise are important factors in ensuring that your report feels secure. Praise can be a great motivator and it boosts positive emotions. A little bit goes a long way. Throw it around like glitter (when it is deserved, of course).
  2. Feedback not Confrontation – There is a big difference between feedback and confrontation. There is never, I repeat never, a time when your employee should feel confronted. Feedback encourages adjustments rather than criticizing or demeaning. Do not ever give feedback when you are feeling emotional or charged up about a particular issue. For managers who would like help on the subtle differences between feedback that develops vs demoralizes, read this article by Avail Leadership.
  3. 1 on 1’s – Hold regular and brief one on one’s with your employees. Once a week is usually sufficient, but more often may be better if you have an employee that could use improvement or is showing signs of needing a confidence boost. The one on one’s should be relaxed and open the dialog between manager and direct report. Regular meetings will make the employee feel that it is easier to bring up any issues and bring your team closer together.
  4. Prizes & Contests – This is a fun way to spice it up and encourage creativity. Make a small prize for a departmental contest you come up with, such as most leads contacted in a month’s period. You can reuse the same prize for multiple contests, upping the fun factor and desire to win back the prize.
  5. Team Events – Outside events such as happy hours, lunch, go-kart racing, a trip to the move theater, or mini-golf are a great way to boost employee morale. Getting outside of work and relaxing is great for the entire team. Look online for discounts and special offers!

“‘[For many of us] Our careers are such a foundational part of our identities and how we think about ourselves,’ says psychologist Jim Harter, PhD, one of the book’s co-authors and a chief scientist for workplace management and well-being at Gallup. Of course, work is also where most of us spend much of the day and is an important source of socialization…”.

The bottom line is that happy employees are one the best things for the company. By being an effective manager, you can be an instrumental part of facilitating this process.

Did you like what you read or have any tips of your own? Tweet them to us @mscareergirl or @sncueto!

Sarah Cueto

Sarah earned her B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior from UC Davis. She is a resident of sunny San Diego, CA, and is currently working in a Sales & Marketing capacity within the biotech industry. She is focused on her blossoming career, developing her identity as a young professional, and is an avid blogger. Sarah writes regularly about her experiences as a twenty-something woman trying to figure it all out, and in the name of twenty-somethings everywhere, on her blog Twenty-Everything.

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