The past two years haven't been easy, and employees have seen their share of difficulties. Millions lost their jobs and had to use their retirement savings during the transition. The work-life balance has been problematic for employees working from home and those who lost their loved ones to the pandemic.

Now, a recession is looming over us; inflation has taken over, and prices are sky high, making employees' lives iffy. As if that's not enough, the negative impact of mental health has been a thorn in your employees' side – in fact, about 46% of US workers struggle with mental health issues.

While everything is falling apart, employees want one thing stable in their lives; their work.  

They want to feel safe, secure, supported and appreciated, and employers have been doing their best to help (Hubspot gives their employees access to therapists as a perk). So, discover how to improve employee morale during the recession in these five ways, and the results will trickle down to various facets of their lives.

Make sure payroll is done on time & is accurate.

Everyone holds on to money tightly during a recession, and your employees are not the exception. According to HRDive, 49% of employees claim they would leave their jobs after two payroll errors; just two. If they can't trust you with their money, they don't feel safe working for you. 

With 54% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, your employees count on you to make timely and accurate payments. 

Consider the issues your employees may be dealing with outside of work; childcare, caregiving, night school, the recession, and student debt. A bit of mistrust will send them on to greener pastures. 

If an employee is underpaid, they will barely function at work – absenteeism goes up, morale goes down, connection with the workplace is severed, and quitting is on the horizon. 

But the case of overpayment is different; you might have to let the employees keep the money because recovery might not be possible (where an employee leaves the company or consent is necessary), which negatively impacts your bottom line.

If you choose to recover the payment, in which case the state labor and employment laws allow, you might leave a negative perception about your company in your employees' minds; careless much?

Nevertheless, to err is human, so you must be fast to correct a mishap. Different states have different labor laws – hence employers have different time frames within which they should correct payroll errors. For instance, it's 14 days in Pennsylvania and 33 days in California.

Maintain proper time & labor management

It's your job to keep track of attendance, overtime, staff time and balances, manage schedules, and ensure all these comply with FLSA, ACA, and FMLA guidelines. Each state has legislation governing how time at work is tracked. Do it well, and improving employee morale will benefit your small business. 

The consequences of poor time and labor management are dire; payroll mistakes, low staff morale, attrition, and financial loss. If their pay stubs are inaccurate, employees won’t rely on you for accurate information, and this diminished trust leads to an exodus of employees.

Enable employees to control PTO & make schedules

Contrary to what some employers may think, intense focus on work won't boost productivity, especially if you struggle to improve employee morale.

As absurd as it may sound, the best solution is to encourage disconnection from work. You may offer paid time off (PTO), but do you encourage your employees to use it? Help your staff get refreshed by allowing them to control their PTO and make their schedules, which creates room for coveted vacations, and you'll see an astonishing increase in morale and productivity in the workplace.

Research shows that 93% of employees experience a spike in productivity after a vacation, while 98% credit their improved performance to vacation time. What's more, 78% of employers believe that vacation boosts employees' focus, and 81% believe it reduces burnout. 

When employees take control of their PTO and work schedules, it kills another bird; it enhances payroll accuracy. With PTO and schedules passing through more sets of eyes, the chances of payroll errors decrease dramatically. 

Enhance the employee experience w/ self-service.

The best way to ensure payroll data accuracy and consequently boost employee satisfaction and morale are by enabling employee self-service. Some tasks employees can do by themselves include annual leave planning, updating staff data, and time tracking.

No more filling out forms or sending emails requesting leaves, employee information changes, and other employment matters. For good measure, employees can view their W2s and paystubs and raise issues with the HR department in advance, shifting the burden to the staff and ensuring an accurate payroll process. 

The resulting transparent, accurate, and timely information increases employee engagement in the workplace.

Invest in the right technology

The right HR technology reduces the need for PDF scans, spreadsheets, paper, and word documents for managing HR needs, centralizing HR data, and reducing payroll errors that ruin the mood in the workplace. Your employees will appreciate a program allowing them to access their timesheets and PTO, and submit requests on their own.

Automating administration tasks also means payroll is always timely, and there’s no delay in employees receiving their pay. The time saved in administration tasks can be put into more ideas to boost morale at work, like organizing team-building events and getting the staff to engage with employee benefits.

PrimePay at your service.

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