Three easy ways to boost employee morale

It’s a candidate’s market out there. This year, statistics show that 42 percent of employers worry they won’t be able to find the talent they need, and 86 percent of the most qualified candidates for a given job are already employed and not actively seeking a new position.

So how can employers thrive when the odds are against them? Create a great working environment and keep your current employees happy. In our work with recruiting firm Vaco, we’ve picked up a few solid pieces of advice to do just that. (Bonus: it doesn’t have to be expensive!)


Simply acknowledging great work publicly can go a long way. Consider an office- or department-wide email when someone does something great or a regular recognition opportunity in staff meetings. And remember those team wins, too! Something as simple as bringing in breakfast after landing a big new client will excite employees.

At Obsidian, we work hard to recognize everyone’s achievements! In our weekly staff meetings, someone gets a “gold star” for outstanding work in the previous week. Get five of them, and you get a gift card to Starbucks. We all nominate each other, and winners have been recognized for landing great media coverage, handling things solo while partners were on vacation or getting great client feedback. But it doesn’t stop there. One of my favorite surprises was the time we all participated in a brainstorm for a new client and, because of our solid results, we got to leave early that Friday!


According to the 2017 global Randstad Employer Brand Research report, 45 percent of surveyed employees note work/life balance as an important factor in judging an organization’s attractiveness. Depending on your organization’s setup, this may cost little or nothing to implement!

Flexibility comes in many forms. Consider:

I’ve been with Obsidian for nearly seven years, and I can honestly say one reason I love the company is the flexibility! For the most part, we follow an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday schedule. But if I work a client event on a Saturday, I can use that “comp time” to leave early or come late one day the next week. Our employees are also welcome to work from home or elsewhere as needed. If someone is a little under the weather but able to work from home, they don’t have to worry about missing a day. If an employee has multiple meetings around town one day, there’s no need for them to come all the way back downtown if they can pop into a coffee shop between appointments. In some cases, the flexibility allows us to make the most of vacation! I once had to leave town on a Wednesday night because my husband was in a wedding on a Friday night. Rather than take two useless vacation days, I worked remotely while he was with the wedding party.


Keeping employees in the loop can help them feel a sense of ownership in their work and the overall health of the business. At Obsidian, we get an update every week on where we stand with prospective clients, what new technology we’re considering and any plans the owner or director have coming up. The company also always considers our feedback. When I first began working remotely, we didn’t have a real conference phone in the office. After only a few weeks of calling in for staff meetings via cell phones, Obsidian invested in one so I could participate more fully!

Bonus: Have fun!

Fun can come in many forms. Regular team-building activities, recognizing work anniversaries and birthdays, or even keeping snacks in the office can endear your employees to the company.

At Obsidian, we volunteer together once per quarter, try to get out of the office for a “fun team” event quarterly, and host anniversary and birthday celebrations for everyone. Because we get to spend time together outside the office, it also helps us get to know each other better. For my work anniversary in 2016, everyone knew how much I loved to sleep (and how much I’d given up since my daughter was born the year before!). My gift was perfect – a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond, which bought me a brand-new comforter for my bed, and a spa gift card to take a little time for myself!

How do you build employee morale? Speaking from personal experience – it’s totally worth it!