Imagine a scenario at two different companies in which employees are asked to work on two weekends during a particular month. The employees at both companies are paid roughly the same to do the same types of work. However, at one company, the employees turn up for their overtime with a minimum of resistance and an attitude of pulling together to everyone’s benefit. At the second company, employees are bitter and resentful. They turn up and do the work, but they have poor attitudes and are not as efficient as they could be.

If both companies are paying their workers the same amount, then why do the two businesses produces such different results? Clearly, it’s employee morale, but what actions result in high or low morale?

Not every company can provide the perks of a Google or Nike with their game rooms and employee “campuses” in place of traditional office space. However, there are tried and tested ways that employers at all budget levels can increase employee morale. Here are 6 ways your business can benefit from immediately:

Say thank you.

It seems like such a simple thing, but expressing appreciation to employees whether it’s in their daily duties or after they have gone above and beyond can go a long way in boosting morale.

Foster good communication between employees and their supervisors.

An employee who feels as though they are able to discuss problems and solutions with management and is listened to feels engaged and empowered, and this is key for employee morale. Employees who are encouraged to provide feedback feel a measure of investment in the company that increases their sense of loyalty.

Provide opportunities for training and advancement.

No one wants to work a dead-end job, and giving employees opportunities to learn and grow on the job keeps them engaged and invested in their work. If employees see a future for themselves at a company, their morale will naturally increase.

Partner with local businesses for employee perks.

While it’s important to provide tangible rewards in the workplace, it’s equally important to recognise that your employees have a life outside of work, and providing perks in the form of restaurant discounts or passes to games, movies or theme parks recognises that fact. Small perks like these may not cost much when measured against the company’s bottom line, but they can go a long way to increasing employee morale.

Encourage friendships.

Some studies have shown that one of the single most reliable predictors of employee morale is whether employees have a good friend at work. Making sure employees have a little time for socialising with one another while at work is more effective for building a strong work force in the long run than trying to ensure that every moment of their time is spent on productive company projects.

Talk to employees.

Regardless of what management seminars and surveys say, different things will motivate employees. Some may enjoy a day devoted to fun activities like playing games while others may grimace and wish they were back in front of their computer monitors. By going straight to the source and asking employees what they would enjoy, managers can ensure that they are making the most effective choices for their teams.

Employee morale is a crucial aspect of running a business effectively and one that is often overlooked. Businesses that remember to nurture their employees and show appreciation will be rewarded with low staff turnover and a workforce that remains dedicated even when times are tough.