The Importance of Employee Morale…and Five Ways to Boost It!

Employee morale is incredibly important.  The level of morale in the workplace can impact productivity, safety, performance, creativity, number of leave days, and employee retention.  When staff morale is high, everyone works well. You’ll find that some people will arrive early or stay late just because they love being at work and enjoy the tasks. Also, when morale is high, people pay greater attention to detail. Employees are less distracted and more focused which results in higher quality of work and a safer work environment.

Below are five ways to increase employee morale: 

Recognize personal milestones and losses.
Individuals experience higher morale when employers appreciate them as people first and employees second. Respond as you would to a friend, with kindness and consideration. Seeing as how “78 percent employees spend more time with co-workers than they do with family,” a supportive community will go along way to fostering happiness.

Volunteer Days.                                                                                                                                         Companies that participate in community involvement programs have employees that are happier with their jobs on a 2:1 ratio.  It gives employees a chance to work together and build relationships and skills in a different setting.  Everybody needs a day away from the office to recharge, why not do it in a way that increases the skills and happiness of your employees?

Celebrate work anniversaries.
Work anniversaries are relationship milestones between an employee and a company. “According to a survey from Globoforce, 82 percent of people would feel good if people noticed and recognized their work anniversary, but only 36 percent of people say a work anniversary made them feel valued.” Because everyone is different in how they like to be recognized, have a conversation with your staff about the best way to honor work anniversaries. And while you’re at it, make sure to celebrate your company’s birthday. It’s a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with your mission while generating good feelings.

Give them a reason to believe.                                                                                                   From the first interview, potential candidates need to understand and share in the vision of what you are doing as an organization. That vision alone will motivate and inspire your team. Let your employees know that what they are doing matters.  One example for manufacturing in the region is that it provides 2.5 more jobs in other sectors.  So your employees are indirectly helping to create jobs for other people.

Promote from within.                                                                                                                  When your employees see that there is room to advance their career within your organization, it speaks volumes. When you have a stellar team member, help invest in the training they need to advance as your company grows. One of the worst things to feel in a work environment is stagnant.  Make sure your employees know how to advance their career with you.


The common theme in all of these ideas is caring, recognition, rewards and appreciation. These small steps can go far.



Into the Mind of a Millennial


Due to the fact that 80% of manufacturing workers are aged 45-60 years old, there are predicted to be millions of job openings over the next fifteen years.   Let me repeat that, millions of job openings. This is both a good thing and a bad thing.  It’s a good thing in that millennials entering the workforce have ample opportunity. However, it could potentially be a bad thing for manufacturers if those jobs go unfilled.  So how do we ensure that that does not happen?

First off, manufacturers need to understand what exactly makes millennials tick. Members of the millennial generation look at things a little differently than members of older generations.  They have different priorities and goals in life.  Millennials also work differently.. this is very important to remember.. they work differently.  Not less, not lazier, just differently.  Millennials ask questions.  Millennials want to make a difference. When you hire a millennial, chances are you are not getting a yes person.. you are getting somebody who wants a say in what they do and how they do it. This can be an incredibly great asset in the workplace if it is taken advantage of rather than treated as an annoyance. This kind of attitude can lead to an increase in innovation and improvement.

To help you get a better insight into the mind of a millennial, we talked to a few millennials working in the manufacturing industry in Southwest Virginia. We asked them what they enjoyed most about their job and why they stayed in the manufacturing industry. Here are their responses:

I guess for me it’s just that you’re actually getting to make something. For instance, being able to set up a process to make the desired product. It’s all very hands-on and requires making a number of adjustments on the equipment and its settings in order to make an acceptable product.  At the end of the day (if all goes well) you actually have something in your hand that can meet a customer’s need.

Manufacturing is inherently going to strive to make things better and more efficiently. This creates challenging problems that are interesting to try and solve. It is also pretty broad, which means there are a number of different areas that you could work in.

Being able to make a good living has been the most important thing for me. I went to trade school my junior and senior year in high school and was able to get hired full-time as soon as I graduated.  I’ve been given a couple of promotions in the last few years which has really been great.  Having the opportunity to get promoted has been the best part about being here.

I really like that I have a set schedule.  I know a lot of my friends work as servers and in retail and their schedule is different every week.  I know which days and which hours I’ll be working two months from now, so I can make plans in advance without any issues.


I work a swing schedule which actually gives me the opportunity to have a lot more days off than other people.  Yeah, I work more hours on the days that I work than somebody who maybe has a regular 9-5 Monday through Friday job.  But I also get to have four day weekends. That along with good pay gives me the opportunity to travel around and take trips regularly instead of having to wait for a holiday weekend to do so.

It seems that getting to play an active role in creating something, working to solve problems, job diversity, having time to travel (or make plans in advance), having room for movement, and good pay are all things that are important to the millennial generation when it comes to starting a career.

For even more information and insight into the millennial mind be sure to stop by the 2017 Southwest Virginia Manufacturers’ Expo at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, VA. where Te-kai Shu of Strongwell will be holding a breakout session on Millennials in Manufacturing.  Also, on August 22nd there will be a Lunch & Learn, Managing Five Generations at Work, at the Crossroads Institute in Galax, VA.