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How can I boost the morale of my employees without incurring huge expenses?

Often, the success or failure of your business can depend on the sense of satisfaction and well-being--the morale--of your employees. High employee morale increases productivity and reduces employee turnover, complaints, absenteeism, work errors, workplace harassment, and even violence. If your employees are discontented, try to figure out why. Then, begin a program to resolve the problem as best as you can.

You can start by placing an anonymous suggestion box in a discrete area, conducting monthly focus groups, having employee-only lunches, and holding employee reviews. Hopefully, your employees will express their concerns and offer suggestions that will help you improve the situation. They may show more interest in becoming involved in the running of your business, and be happier when you show them that you're interested in their welfare.

Next, you can increase employee self-esteem by treating employees with fairness, honesty, and respect. You'll also want to keep them in the loop about what's happening in the business by giving them both the good news and the bad. Well-informed employees will often go the extra mile to ensure that a job is done well and on time.

Finally, think about rewarding your employees and showing them that you do value and appreciate them. It costs nothing to say "Thank you" and shake an employee's hand, but it can mean a lot. Try congratulating your employees on a regular basis for a job well done, personally thanking them for extra efforts or commitment, and showing your appreciation with little celebrations such as office lunches or bouquets of flowers on special occasions.