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Inexpensive ways to improve business curb appeal and morale

Happy employees and happy customers are a win-win for business
Happy employees and happy customers are a win-win for business

The recession has created interesting situations among businesses who’ve cut back or laid-off staff in that letting little things go can create unintended downward spirals in morale. Meanwhile, if a customer actually does walk in the lobby employees may not be ready… So how do you get that edge back? Here are a few low and no cost ideas that will work for small to large companies.

Improve morale and curb appeal to prospective customers and staff with an inexpensive facelift. think about first impressions...Look around: Is the reception area welcoming? Warm and inviting or cold or untidy? Check walls for smudges, carpet for stains and spot clean. Does the reception area smell inviting? How does the building smell? Air freshener is inexpensive and low maintenance. Real or artificial plants add warmth.  Your reception area is your first impression inside the office. Check outside the building as well. Is the paint chipped, is your business sign in tact? If not think about the impression it makes. Even if your business doesn't regularly host customers, the employees, vendors and creditors are impacted by the positive or negative messages.  Keeping morale up and letting your staff know you care is an essential retention tool. Retaining valuable staff is a solid cost saver.

Often managers who don’t punch a clock don’t use the same entrance as hourly workers. What does that entry look like? Welcoming? Consider the employee entry hallway as launching stage to a productive day by posting uplifting quotes.   Ensure the Mission Statement is posted at the employee entrance on the wall where employees enter and or clock-in. If your mission statement is lacking invent or update it and make sure its posted for all to see. Consider putting it in the lunch room or conference room and beginning your next all staff meeting by asking who can recite the mission statement (then on the spot in front of everyone, hand that person a $10 gift card for Mcdonalds or Target or the local coffee shop around the corner). Little surprises that shake things up especially among companies that have been hanging on by shoestrings can make an impact.

Another suggestion: Look at your men’s and women’s restrooms (go inside, smell the air, open each stall, inspect the walls and floor). Is the restroom clean or less than appealing? (Sure, you want employees to do their business quickly so they can come back and do yours but what does this area say about you?) You have a captive audience, consider placing posters in the bathroom reminding everyone you care (employees, prospective customers, vendors, creditors) and that you want to encourage you to exercise and keep good health habits. Rotating and occasionally changing messages will keep it interesting. Again, air freshener, artificial or real plants, a little artwork add warmth to an often bleak place.
Send positive messages to customers and suppliers that you take pride in your company and care about staff and visitors. If you don’t manage your building or restroom space is shared, talk with the landlord or tenants for a win-win for everyone.

Another thoughtful and low cost way of showing your employees, customers and vendors that you care is to put notices in their paychecks, invoices and payment envelopes. Whether its once a week or once a month people will notice, they can be uplifting quotes  set up the notices to fit inside an envelope. This is a great task for a clerk, intern, creative administrative person or a business owner with a touch of insomnia. You can even invite your employees or vendors to submit content such as favorite recipes (a bonding and morale booster to be sure, ensure you credit all contributors.) You may find your staff or clients comment when there isn't a note in their envelopes once they get used to seeing them. Using colorful paper (which is inexpensive) is a way to make sure they aren't overlooked.

These inexpensive but thoughtful touches show pride in the workplace that goes a long, long way to lifting morale and maintaining customer readiness.



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