Good time for morale boosters

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Feel like you’re up to your butt in alligators? As the owner or manager of a dealership or marina in this economic climate, the old gag -- “It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better” – may apply to you (and I can’t be sure about the “eat better” part these days!).

Because the burden of keeping the lights on weighs most heavily on you, it’s possible to forget that your employees can likely experience stress, too. Make no mistake about it, when customers aren’t coming through the door your employees will also face discouragement.

Morale, then, is vital to every organization. It’s especially true during a recession. So, these are the days when some relief from the stress of current circumstances is important for every member of your team. Here, from Successful Meetings magazine, along with some of my own, are 12 ideas you could use to build and maintain morale:

1. Group Lunch: It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant. Ordering a six-foot Subway can be just as much fun.
2. Humor Breaks: Take turns designating someone to tell a joke/story during a daily “humor break.”
3. Humor Board: Designate a bulletin board as a place to post cartoons, jokes, humorous photos, etc. Laugh stress away.
4. Bet on it: Staff-only betting pools on some events – NCAA Tourney, American Idol, Dancing w/the Stars, etc. -- can be entertaining and fun. Keep it simple and cheap.
5. Go to the Movies: During lunch breaks, run a funny movie or old TV comedy in the lunch area or a conference room.
6. Flextime: Work out a schedule that allows people to arrive late or leave early one day a week or every other week, etc.
7. Snapshots: Take candid shots of your team at work. Post them, perhaps with a humorous caption, on the humor board.
8. Off-site Meetings: Schedule a team meeting away from the store. If it’s a nice day, move it outside to a nearby park, etc. Bring some subs or pizza if it’s lunch time.
9. Celebration Break: Whenever there’s a boat sale, or completion of a big service order, etc., have a team celebration break with cupcakes, noisemakers, etc.
10. Special Days: Hold an “ugly shirt” day, “old school sweatshirt” day, “worst gift received” day or something similar that everyone can participate in. Give prizes, etc.
11. Special Delivery: Bring an ice cream or home-made baked good, etc. to every team member’s desk or work area.
12. Stay in perspective: Remind yourself and your team that tough times are always temporary, and that things aren’t as bad as they often seem during the stress of the moment.

These are just ideas. Create your own. Indeed, if you’re using some morale builders in your business right now, how about passing some on to us here at Dealer Outlook?

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