When the Going Gets Tough: Creating and Maintaining Team Morale

When the Going Gets Tough: Creating and Maintaining Team Morale

Conduct a search for “morale” on Harvard Business Review’s website and you’ll find nearly 400 results dating back to 1965. The study of organizational communications, work performance and morale has helped establish entire departments aimed at managing talent with varying schools of thought as to what motivates – and demotivates – employees. There is, however, one common conclusion: factors driving morale are unique to company culture and fundamentally ingrained within the DNA of an organization.

As PR professionals, many of us thrive on the excitement of a busy auto season, a packed summer of pitching or a time-intensive event. And for some, the thrill of new experiences motivates you from one project to the next, while others enjoy small tokens of gratitude along the way. Agency leaders face a sizable challenge – creating consistency for teams of type A high-performers who have varying motivations and goals. When that balance is found is when morale becomes ingrained in culture.

Stratacomm prides itself on exceptional client service, which sometimes leaves team members with little downtime. As tasks begin to pile up and the occasional sense of anxiety kicks in, the team unifies to reignite the otherwise dimming light at the end of the tunnel.

Simple, organic gestures are the foundation of our team’s consistent, positive morale. From a quick, “Hey, I just wanted to check in,” to an “I have extra time to help,” each team member is ready and willing to jump in to help a colleague reach the finish line.

Here are five small, but mighty gestures that we do at Stratacomm that might help your team keep its spirits high.

  • Move Them  Encouraging a change of scenery can go a long way in increasing productivity and creating a sense of “one team.” Whether a coffee shop, a comfy sofa or a cornered-off bean bag chair, we’ve found that this helps carve away at a challenging workday. We frequently move to the sun-lit conference room to co-exist while checking things off to-do lists. The wide-open space serves as a healthy, open and collaborative workspace alternative to our everyday cubes/office spaces.
  • Teach Them – Professional development should be the foundation of any organization, whether small or large. Stratacomm regularly hosts “Lunch and Learns,” where experts offer new approaches, tips and tricks, or simply highlights a new tool that can help make our lives easier. Don’t fret! These can be cost effective. Our experts vary from industry leaders to former colleagues and existing team members. There’s knowledge in all of us, and there’s a special feeling of achievement when asked to share your project’s success with the firm.
  • Feed Them – This one is easy. If you feed us, we will come. Pizza, cupcakes, brownies … Chipotle. Nothing beats a meal ordered in when back-to-back conference calls make up your Tuesday.
  • Celebrate Them – Birthdays, engagements and babies, oh my! We love a chance to toast to one another, but we don’t forget annual holidays and events like spirit week, Super Bowl, St. Patrick’s Day and the obligatory happy hour. Grab a glass and gather ’round.
  • Volunteer Them – No, not for the event with a 4 a.m. arrival time. Charitable efforts inspire and remind us that being hung up on by an editor really isn’t the end of the world. Serving your communities as a team is a great way to relieve stress and recharge batteries.

Team building events like these help us to wind down and get to know each other as people, resulting in increased productivity and life-long friendships, helping keep our team close, loyal and happy – ultimately, leading to the amazing work we churn out for our clients every day.

Brooke Ziomek is a senior account executive at Stratacomm’s offices in Detroit.

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