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10 Ideas to Boost Employee Morale

Gabby VanAlstine
Gabby VanAlstine

Emplify’s culture team, Empower, are the employee stewards of our culture. They’re dedicated to creating programs that foster co-worker relationships, philanthropy, and our mission of helping all people reach their true potential at work—while adding joy and laughter to our everyday tasks.

Empower is a cross-departmental group of people who epitomize what it means to be an Emplifier. We encourage our team to join our culture groups, because we know that investing in employee morale and strategic programming can lead to lower turnover and absenteeism—and increased productivity.

So, together with our people ops team, I’ve compiled some of the highest-impact, most morale-boosting practices and events we have at Emplify. As a bonus: most of them require little to no budget!


  1. Virtual minute-to-win-it challenge: Emplifiers formed teams and participated in challenges ranging from a water bottle chugging contest to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich making race. This virtual event allowed Emplifiers’ families to participate in the fun as well. Empower hosted this event to foster relationships with the team while working remotely, and as an opportunity to get to know the families of Emplifiers as well.

  2. Celebrating major life events: We want to ensure we’re recognizing Emplifiers’ important life events—it’s important to celebrate employees as whole people. We send small but heartfelt gifts like plants for a new house or gourmet dog treats for a new furry friend. We allow Emplifiers to choose a gift for a new baby, like a GrubHub gift certificate or a free house cleaning—things that really help new parents.

  3. Periodic thank you cards: Few things are as touching as a heartfelt thank you note. Our leaders strive to stay connected with our team, and often send handwritten thank you notes to congratulate team members for significant accomplishments. The culture team will also send notes when a pick-me-up or encouraging word is needed (thanks, Handwryten!).

  4. A Slack channel for hypothetical questions: Now that we’re work-from-anywhere, Slack is our main communication portal. We use Slack for important company communications, but also to engage with Emplifiers and have some fun. We have countless fun Slack channels, such as “Hypotheticals, where Emplifiers ask thoughtful questions that result in strange conversations and a lot of laughs, such as, “Do straws have two holes or one?

  5. Peer-to-peer recognition program, Emplifier Spotlights: Celebrating each other is how we demonstrate caring, one of our core values. We have a Spotlights program, in which Emplifiers recognize each other for living our values. We read Spotlight submissions during all-team programming to send virtual high fives to co-workers who embody our core values.

  6. The Donut app: Another great opportunity to leverage Slack, this app is a great way to foster relationships between coworkers, especially in different departments. We love using this to acclimate new hires to our culture as well. This app pairs one Emplifier with another, chosen at random, for a “donut chat.” If you’re in person, then you can go meet up at Dunkin’ and share a real donut!

  7. Everyday celebrations: We have a bell in our office we ring each time a deal is closed. When working remotely, we share details of just-closed deals via Slack, so we can celebrate with fist-bump emojis and Lizzo gifs. 

  8. Suiting up: It’s a long-standing tradition for our sales team to dress their best on the last day of the quarter. Last year, the team extended the invite to the rest of the company to suit up with them and join in on the end-of-quarter momentum. As a tech company, we tend to dress pretty casual, so this is a fun way to dust off our best attire and finish our quarter with excellence, plus it’s just awesome!

  9. Show and tell: Once a year, we host a show-and-tell event where Emplifiers have three to five minutes to show off unique talents or share something they’re passionate about. We did move this virtual this year, and it was such a success. The chat feature added such a cool element to the event and created an opportunity for the audience to interact and encourage their fellow Emplifiers while presenting. From reciting the first 50-digits of pie to sharing about their child modeling career (ask Adam Weber about that one), topics and talents really range. Others showed off many strange and wonderful talents. Show-and-tell events are always a remarkable success because we get to cheer each other on as we share a unique gift or area of genius. 

  10. All the swag: Emplifiers are proud of the work we’re doing, and they love to show it! We shower new hires with a swag bag, including a branded backpack, shirts, socks, carabiner, mug, and books by our very own founders. 

These practices and events provide a lot of laughter, foster relationships throughout our company, and remind us to find joy in our work. They tie directly to key drivers of engagement by strengthening coworker relationships, creating a foundation for psychological safety, and highlighting our shared values. 

If you have any questions or want more details regarding these ideas, feel free to reach out. If you find an idea you’d like to be a part of your work life, borrow it! Make it happen and let me know how it goes—or check out our careers page!

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