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Employee morale seems to have taken a turn for the worst in recent years.In Gallup's report, “State of the American Worker“, over 70% of respondents reported that theyhated their jobs or were completely disengaged. They reported that company perks would make little, to no difference in morale. Low employee morale can have catastrophic effects on an organization.Not only is productivity hindered,high costs are experienced due to turnover, hiring efforts and recruiting fees. If you are experiencing high turnover in your company you need to take a hard look at what is making your employees unhappy Here are five ways to help increase morale and create a more effective and productive workplace. 1. Let Employees Have a Voice Every employee needs to feel important and appreciated. At HireVue, our Founder & CEO, Mark Newman, holds a monthly company-wide meeting to connect with his team members (he makes sure to never use the word employees) and explains how the company is performing, how each team is contributing and what the future looks like. He also takes time to express his appreciation for each team member and explains that the company would not have been as successful without everyone's efforts. At the end of the meeting Mark holds an open forum and allows team members the chance to ask anything that is on their mind. Because of his candid honesty and inclusion of the entire organization, these meetings create a sense of unity and meaning which produces high employee morale. 2. Give Credit Where Credit is Due A great example of employee recognition comes from Acuity. Acuity management is asked each year to provide a list of accomplishments from their team. The lists are reviewed and a “Top 100 Accomplishments” list is created. The company’s President and CEO Ben Salzmann uses his “Gossip Line” to personally thank employees for their impact on the company’s bottom line. 3. Create Opportunities for Team Building Holding company events that include team building is a great way to boost morale and mix up a monotonous “8 to 5” work day. Entrepreneur recommends activities that include volunteering, physical games like sports, field trips, professional development activities and shared meals. Holding weekly team lunches or monthly volunteer opportunities can provide team building exercises without the awkwardness of “forced bonding” and gives your employees an easy way to connect. 4. Offer Flexible Working Hours Contrary to popular belief, most remote workers actually outperform their peers. Remote employees are reported to be happier, more productive and less likely to quit. In addition, remote employees take less sick days and report to work more hours than their peers who work in the company offices. Giving employees a bit more freedom when they come and go in the office could produce more engagement and overall happiness. 5. Give Employees the Opportunity to Participate in Charitable Projects Another way to build employee morale is by giving back. It's no surprise that MARS was listed as one of the best companies to work for in 2013.The agency's senior copywriter, Debbie Feit, spent a paid month volunteering for two charities, the Association for Children's Mental Health in Michigan and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Not all companies have an ability to give employees a month's worth of salary to be charitable. However, offering a paid work day to employees to volunteer is a great way to increase morale and, even more importantly, benefits others in the process.