7 Tips for Boosting Team Morale – When Bringing Employees Back After COVID-19

This is a challenging time for employees, managers and especially small business owners.  Revenues are down, there is a high level of certainty and customers aren’t flocking to many smaller restaurants and cafes in BC.  Now is the time to check-in and stay in constant contact with your team.  Help them navigate this new normal and keep them informed on changes as quickly as you can.  With any great business how you treat your employees now during these challenging times will determine how loyal they are to you, your brand and to each other.    Employee moral will naturally be down for many, thus now more than ever is the time to invest in your team and culture of your workplace.  It does not matter how amazing the food, coffee or location are, without great staff you will not see long-term success with unhappy employee.  If your team members are not friendly, customers will not come back!  Motivating and inspiring a team and the right work ethic is critical to success. Read below for proven techniques to build a high-performing engaged team and increasing morale (and retention) in your business.

Show Genuine Appreciation

Showing appreciation and thanking your team members, in a genuine way, is one of the easiest things you can do. It is also one of the most forgotten or overlooked unfortunately. When done right it encourages great behavior re-enforcing amazing performance and employees that go that extra mile. A team that feels appreciated will work hard and take constructive feedback better when you coach.

Lead by Example

As the owner or manager of your business, you are the leader. And whether you realize it or not, you give your team permission to act as you do, with your actions, not your words. If you are in a bad mood, you say it is okay to bring your personal life into work. If you are late, you are saying by your actions that being on time is not important. Adversely, coming in every day early and with a great attitude, your staff will model this behavior. Show them how to show-up every day and connect with each other and customers. This sets a clear expectation of what is expected and creates a great environment.

Have Regular and FUN Team Meetings

Inject staff meetings with some fun when you can. Use icebreaker activities and team-building exercises to bond your team with each other. They work hard so take some time to recognize them and have fun in team meetings. Encourage them to recognize each other as well for hard work, a helping hand and/or results. Putting recognition, appreciation and FUN on the agenda shows your team it isn’t all just about results, before that it’s about great people!

Go Above and Beyond for Customer Complaints

It is not easy to run or work in a restaurant, bar or café. The stress and busyness, unhappy customers, and sometimes lower pay can make it a very challenging place to work. Ensure you train and teach your team to handle customer complaints as a good thing. When your front line staff understand and treat complaints as gifts, it can unlock an amazing experience for them as well as the customers. Empower them to go above and beyond for customers, not just bring them back to zero. (What I am referring to here would be making a mistake on a customer’s latte, then re-making her latte and sending her on the way. She had to wait, and didn’t get any extra compensation extra to be encouraged to return other than a sorry?)

When your team gets this right they benefit as well from a happy customer, and a much easier situation than arguing with the customer. The customer will also come back more often if they know your business handles things well, even if they get it wrong once in a while. Remember it doesn’t take much to win or lose a customer – wouldn’t you rather win them over with a $2 pastry versus losing their business forever?

Get to Know Your Employees

Ask your team members about their personal lives – what they do on the weekend, about their family and/or hobbies that they enjoy. Show them that you see them as more than just an employee number but as a person with a life outside of your business. In fast-paced stressful environments, this can be something quickly and easily forgotten about, but extremely important. Also, share some of your interests with your team as well. Employees that feel a personal connection with their leader and each other are more likely to stay and not find another amazing group to work with. They also will work hard for each other and perform their best work!

Address Conflict Quickly

Conflicts between team members can sometimes happen. Disagreements, competition or just personality conflicts arise and must be addressed quickly and with care. Leaders must be on top of these conflicts and address them professionally and quickly, or a toxic environment can be created, impacting turnover.

Collaborate with Your Team and Listen

Asking your team for suggestions can create a high-performance and engaged team. Leaders that regularly engage and collaborate with their teams, asking for suggestions on ways to improve will reap huge benefits. Not only will it foster a creative and open environment, it will have your entire teams brains working towards a common goal together. Set up a process—it can be as simple as a suggestion box with slips of paper—and review the suggestions once a week. Ensure you listen to what is being said, and what is not. And implement some or all of the suggestions. Getting this right fosters a sense of ownership when one or some of their ideas are implemented.


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