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When Life Hands Your Employees the Winter Blahs, Make…Snow Candy?

The snow is falling outside, and the morale of your employees is falling fast inside the doors of your workplace. It may just be due to those ol’ “winter blahs,” or it may be an aftereffect of recent company layoffs. It may even be a mixture of both — or something else entirely.

If your employees are moping around the water cooler, sleeping at lunch, or sobbing during meetings, it’s likely not a good sign.  You need to get your employees excited about coming into work again — like, now. It’s important to remember that just because employees are on your payroll doesn’t automatically mean they love their jobs or wish to stay with you for the long-term. As an employer, your responsibility for their well-being is just as important as it was six months or a year ago – if not more important.

But when things are so bad, how can you make work fun again? You may be surprised to find that a lot of little things can add up quickly to thaw out your employees’ frozen hearts.

my_frozen_heart

Wellness programs are often a great morale-booster, as an article on The-Daily-Record.com cites. The author also mentions a recent wellness seminar by Dr. Dan Powell, who says that wellness programs may range from no-cost “Biggest Loser” competitions to calling in wellness specialists to work with employees to achieve their goals.

Going green can make your employees happier? Ingram Book Company says they have taken many steps to save energy and reduce waste — and it’s not only saving them money, but has led to higher morale and greater productivity, according to Wes Melo, operations vice president.

We’ve talked in the past about eight ways to proactively improve morale, and those tips still stand. In addition, our 15 fun things that other companies are doing is a great starting point. But sometimes, lack of employee morale may be due to more than just the winter blahs.

An article on EHS Today’ s site, “Five Strategies for Dealing with Workplace Depression,” talks about creating good working conditions by using ecotherapy techniques such as adding live plants and full-spectrum light bulbs, encouraging personalized workspaces, and providing both an outlet to the “outside” world and availability to healthy food. Beyond this, it is important to address workplace depression if you suspect it may be an issue.

What else can you do?

  • Initiate mentor programs and volunteering activities. Encouraging your employees to help each other — and reach out to the community to help those in need — is one of the best things you can do.
  • Bring someone in for a cooking class — or better yet, find out which of your employees is harboring a secret desire to be on “Top Chef” and enlist them to teach a class in-house.
  • Plan a Movie Week and have employees vote for which movies they most want to see. Host the top five choices at lunch each day for a week (or spread it out over a number of weeks), B.Y.O.S.-style (Bring Your Own Snacks).
  • Snow Candy party — it’s not just for kids anymore!  Or, really, a party of any kind will do.

TheHiringSite also asked our Twitter friends what their companies have done lately to improve employee morale and help them beat those winter blahs.

busymeBUSYME We held a coworker appreciation day. Handed out 50 Thank You notes per department. Recip could turn in for $10 gift card. Employees LOVED it! We posted the cards on a bulletin board, so everybody could read them. It was awesome! Company spent $500 on gift cards and considered it a successful program.

expresspros1ExpressPros Ask for employee input on budget cuts. We all know they’re coming, so let staff help decide where to trim! Communication is a key morale booster. People want to be in the loop!

lankyboblankybob My company threw a party at the office with indoor bags, beverages, and catering. I was a great meet & greet since half of our people are never in the office. So it was good for the union technicians to meet the engineers.  Oh, and one of the guys brought over the Wii, so we were playing in the conference room.

Has your company done something cool recently? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments here.

Amy McDonnell

About Amy McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the creative services manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.
1 comments
Marie Adams
Marie Adams

Sometimes boosting morale can be as simple as asking employees what they want. I recently read about a manager who spent 10 minutes with each of his employees and asked: "What can I do to make your job more rewarding, interesting, and satisfying?" You can find the post here. It's a great idea that can work in just about any workplace.

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