February 14, 2020 1:00 am
Employee morale is a critical part of workplace success, as it determines how well personnel will perform. There are a number of issues that may decrease employee morale, and several ways that managers and executives can boost employee morale, centered on three major aspects:
Employee morale is simply the mood and mindset of personnel and is associated with the energy, excitement (or lack thereof), and job satisfaction of a company’s staff. When morale is high, staff are motivated to complete tasks and have the energy to not only finish workflows and projects on time but also have the drive to be more creative and effective at their job. On the other hand, when morale is low, company staff may lack the drive to complete tasks with the energy and drive that is needed for each workflow to be finished with high quality that is expected of the business. Employee morale is directly linked to staff efficiency and productivity and is closely tied to the profitability of the company.
As noted by Formstack, high workplace productivity is key for a successful company but is a complex factor that can be affected by many internal and external phenomena (a critical one being employee morale). Employee morale is a key factor that either inhibits or increases productivity in the workplace, and can be affected by other staff attitudes, by the attitude of management, by compensation levels, and more.
Formstack also notes that according to Gallup’s State of the Local Workplace, 85 percent of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work, resulting in $7 trillion in lost productivity – which is often a result of low morale. This same article cites that several studies have revealed factors that are innately linked to employee mood/morale and often reduce company productivity, costing companies hundreds of millions of dollars:
According to a PWC study, “employees who are stressed about their finances are nearly five times more likely to be distracted by their finances at work, and twice as likely to spend three hours or more at work dealing with financial matters.”
12 percent of employees miss work due to stress-related illness, as noted by Formstack and reported by the American Institute of Stress.
Managers and bosses that are more prone to treating personnel badly often help to foster a workplace culture of low employee morale, leading to personnel not being punctual, employees taking longer-than-allowed breaks or doing tasks incorrectly, and overall withholding effort with their tasks.
Virtually any factor attributed to producing low company efficiency and productivity may actually be a result of low employee morale, which can be costly.
Higher employee morale leads to an internal desire and drive to do better, which results in employees putting forth their best effort with the innate goal of getting the best end-result for the company. Such a drive often translates to increased energy and passion for work, which usually means better end-products, a better top line, and more revenue for the company. On the other hand, low morale often translates to employees simply not caring about their work due to low motivation, which means a product of lower quality being produced due to lower efforts being applied.
It’s only natural that when employees are happier with their job, they will put forth their best effort and work as hard as they can. These employees often feel a sense of satisfaction and gratification at having done a good job, which forms a feedback loop of putting forth the same high level of effort with the next task or project. Ultimately, such excited, passionate workers want to keep working, which results in lower turnover rates, which can be costly for a company.
Such high levels of motivation result from an atmosphere where work is appreciated and results in high quality, all of which keep employee morale up and helps keep employees focused on producing the highest quality results possible.
When employee morale is kept high, employees want to keep coming to work. When a workplace culture is peaceful and ordered, it can also help motivate workers to succeed with every task that they come across or need to accomplish. A desirable workplace environment fosters an attitude where employees desire to go the extra mile, instead of having to be forced to by management.
Management can employ numerous methods for boosting employee morale. These efforts result in higher productivity and efficiency, higher profit margins, and fewer resources consumed. With a little effort and focus, executives can optimize the workplace culture, internal operations, and their interactions with all employees.
One of the most simple and obvious ways for managers to both retain employees and boost their morale is treating them with respect, which includes honest communication, respecting everyone’s ideas, and giving everyone an equal chance to be heard. This requires the utilization of soft skills (“emotional intelligence”), and for managers to take a genuine interest in their employees, like finding out about their personnel’s birthday, spouse, family events, and hobbies. It’s simply managers showing that they care.
Managers can encourage their personnel to do their best work in many ways, from salary raises, to simple confirmation that their work is appreciated and valued. Recognizing all employees for a job well done or for achievements lets personnel know that their work is appreciated, inspiring them to try their best and put forth their best effort.
Besides telling personnel that their work is valued, it helps to show employees the tangible results of their hard work, that is, not only in abstract words but in something concrete that employees can directly translate and connect with their work. Managers should remind personnel of the impact and results that they bring to the table as a result of their efforts and hard work.
Honest, open communication and welcoming feedback lets employees know that they are valued and that their voice is being heard. This means not only interacting with personnel in a respectful manner but also creating an open, ordered, honest environment (workplace culture) for everyone, where every opinion can be heard in a meaningful manner.
Being honest, candid, and transparent with personnel can help to foster a positive work environment that encourages employees to do their best work. There is safety in knowing that they are working in an environment of respect, transparency, and honesty.
Being transparent with employees means informing personnel about what is happening in the company, keeping personnel filled in on major projects, and ensuring that the truth is out there in the open. Transparency will put a stop to any gossip and false rumors floating around, which results in an atmosphere of decreased productivity.
The above actions result in increased employee trust, and greater respect for managers, which always translates to happier, harder working employees.
Fostering a positive workplace environment often means ensuring that the onboarding process for new recruits happens in a manner that encourages the best from them. This often means investing in the employee, which shows the staff member that they are valued, and that their best interest is at heart. For instance, providing employee training and development opportunities helps to boost the confidence of employees and shows that their future is important to management.
Adding incentives and rewards to employees that go the extra mile helps to reinforce the fact that their work is valued, and that their hard work is paying off. This helps to boost the confidence of personnel and encourages them to keep striving to put forth their best effort at all times.
Incentives and rewards for employees can include:
Rewards will always stimulate more productive and happy employees, which helps to ensure that personnel is as effective as they can be, which translates to a more productive workplace.
Most businesses operate with departments or teams. As opposed to the age-old issue of separated inter-departmental silos, it’s important for managers to foster cooperation as opposed to competition within the workplace. Promoting team spirit among internal teams helps to ensure that everyone is working together, and more importantly, that everyone wants to work together, creating a peaceful, happy internal workplace culture and environment for optimal success.
Promoting such intra-corporate peace and teamwork can be accomplished and carried out in the form of organizing team-building events, make the office fun with daily breaks and even cognitive-building (or team building) games, and having annual tournaments, among other things.
The best leaders are those who lead by example and foster a measure of respectability that makes personnel want to do their best. This means seeing managers working to do their best, putting forth their best efforts, building up others, working well and honestly with others, communicating transparently, and doing their best to make everyone comfortable, with the ultimate goal of bettering the business.
This also often means managers sticking up for their personnel and “going to bat for them,” championing their cause, and helping them to do their best and achieve their corporate dreams as well, all of which ensures more loyalty and respect from personnel.
Ultimately, the best employees in any company are those who are happy – personnel who are valued, respected, paid well, and communicated with honestly in a transparent and ordered atmosphere. It is thus important for managers to keep their employees happy, as that happiness, in the general sense, translates to more productive and effective employees, who have a drive and passion to put forth their best effort. When this is done, the best work is usually put forth, products/services are delivered with the highest quality, and profit margins increase, while overhead decreases. Employee morale isn’t just an intangible concept or philosophy for the workplace, it’s a concrete ideal that directly translates to practical corporate gains, and can help a company scale, grow, and increase their top – and bottom – line.
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