Top 20 Ways to Boost Morale

By C1 Staff

Morale might be as important as a stab-proof vest. It can make or break a team, and can have a huge effect on the outcome of a confrontation.

We took to our Facebook page to ask our readers what they thought were the best ways to boost morale. Here's what they had to say; add your own in the comments.

  1. "Give them a decent raise!"
  2. "Consistency: expect all officers to pull an equal share of the weight. Promote the worthy, not the senior. Spend as much time telling them they did well as you do telling them they screwed up."
  3. "Actually back staff over inmates."
  4. "As a supervisor, don't think that it’s ‘beneath’ you to do a front line employee's duties. Help them out when you can. It'll go a long way."
  5. "Respect! Say positives when an employee does well; not just negatives."
  6. "As a Captain at my facility, right, wrong, or indifferent, I always try to communicate my decisions. Seem to get more respect and better understanding from the line staff, as well as Administration. In my opinion most line staff just want to be recognized for the positive, not just the negative."
  7. "Every once in a while our shift commander will tell us over the radio that we've done a good job and she appreciates us. We all have some witty sarcastic comeback for it...but we also enjoy it."
  8. "A few months back, we had a suicide on my shift. We tried, but were unsuccessful at reviving the inmate. After everything that went down, our shift Sgt. went around and told everyone that he was proud of how we handled the situation. He was even telling other shifts how well things were handled even though the life was lost. He appreciated us more than our administration did. It meant a lot for him to tell us that. A few words of encouragement can go a long way."
  9. "Hire more staff. The prison I work at in Florida is terribly understaffed which causes us to work 16 hour days every day. The officers are exhausted and our chiefs do nothing but complain about how we do not get things done quicker. No support."
  10. "Spend actual time listening to them. Give them credit for the good. Stay positive. Let them know you fight for them. You do that and they will go the extra mile for you."
  11. "Keep the bar high when it comes to expectations and professionalism. Provide ample training. Celebrate and recognize achievements. Actively pursue and act on staff misconduct and insubordinate behavior. Hold yourself to the same standards. Remain accessible."
  12. "Not writing them up for having low morale."
  13. "I had a Captain who never left at the end of his shift until everyone in his squad was out the gate. On payday, you didn't have to look for him...he found you and as he handed you your check (or stub), he would shake your hand and say 'thank you.' It went a long way..."
  14. "Rewards: i.e. pick your post, pick your partner."
  15. "Every so often do something for, or with, your staff. Organize a pizza party, or a cookout. Have a few good minutes away from the grind of the cell blocks, and prisoners."
  16. "Don't just dismiss ideas from your linestaff, they are your frontline, and they know what will work."
  17. "Don't walk out the door before your team does."
  18. "Do something for them out of the blue, not just because it’s National Correctional Workers Week."
  19. "More personal can't say our job is not stressful!"
  20. "Take your squad out for weekly hikes or runs (walk or jog) together, or volunteer together as a team."
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