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Karen Dwyer: Building Employee Morale Needs to Be a Team Effort

Activities, rewards and good working relationships are essential to the success of any business

By Karen Dwyer, Noozhawk Columnist |

Henry Ford, founder of the century-old Ford Motor Company, once said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Ford was a great achiever because he realized the power of teamwork, where people working together can accomplish goals that would have been impossible to attain alone.

Teamwork is the key to building company morale. Working as a team not only helps employees work toward a common goal; it also fosters an environment in which co-workers respect one another and function well together. Creating great working relationships will help streamline processes and boost productivity.

According to an Express Employment Professionals survey of 15,000 current and former clients, less than 30 percent of businesses are offering team-building activities to boost morale.

In any business, making sure that employees work well together is essential as it makes for both a happier environment and a more profitable company. Employees who feel they are part of a team tend to provide quality work at a faster pace.

What can you do to better build up your team?

Make Every Individual Feel Like an Important and Contributing Member of the Team

» Appoint a team leader to oversee the progress and to keep everyone motivated to finish a project on time.

» Assign jobs according to each team member’s strengths for the highest level of success possible.

» Praise team members for a job well done. Acknowledge each person’s hard work and dedication, and be sure to pass along any positive feedback from clients or upper level management.

“Great teams do not hold back with one another,” said Patrick Lencioni, author, leadership expert and president of The Table Group. “They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses and their concerns without fear of reprisal.”

Team-Building Activities and Ideas

Here are some easy tips to implement team-building ideas that numerous successful companies have put into practice.

» Recognize each team member’s birthday by either a card signed by everyone, a birthday cake, group gift or simply singing “Happy Birthday” together.

» Volunteer for charity work as a team. Your team could raise money for a cause, run a 5K for a charity or volunteer at the local homeless shelter serving lunch.

» Go out to lunch together at least once a month to help build camaraderie.

» Set up a team rewards system. If your team completes a project, consider giving them a “jeans day,” bringing breakfast one morning, letting them leave an hour early one Friday or giving out gift cards as a way to reward the team for working together.

» Bring in a team-building expert to conduct a daylong session/seminar with your team.

» Form a morale booster committee to plan yearly events such as company picnics and barbecues, company softball games, a potluck or Easter egg hunt — anything to get the company employees together to have fun and get to know one another.

Nearly 40 percent of clients surveyed by Express Employment Professionals felt that the lack of morale was from feeling unappreciated — something that can be an easy fix in most businesses.

Remember, by doing team-building activities, rewarding progress and developing work relationships, businesses can make employees feel appreciated, and in turn, build a more successful, productive and happy work force.

Overall, team building will boost office morale, and morale in the workplace is critical to the success of any organization.

— Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 1025 Chapala St., Suite 206, in Santa Barbara. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.

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