Employee morale is the sum of employees’ attitudes, satisfaction, and outlook while working for a company.
An employee with high morale is often happy and satisfied with their work, while one with low morale may complain a lot or perform poorly.
Managing employee morale can be difficult, but it’s vital to the successful operation of a team. This article will help you understand the impact of employee morale and the factors that influence it.
How can low employee morale affect a company?
When employees have little to no work motivation, it affects different aspects of an organization.
Low employee morale causes frequent absenteeism. Workers may feel like going to work isn’t important or even worthwhile.
Constant complaints and gossip may also start. These can change the atmosphere at the workplace. Voluntary turnovers also become commonplace due to low employee morale.
More importantly, productivity dips as employees become more unsatisfied. Employees either produce less than their regular output or they submit work in poor quality.
All of these affect an organization’s ability to smoothly move toward bigger goals as well. Seeing as it’s an integral part in how a business operates, how then is employee morale measured?
How do we measure employee morale?
Happiness and satisfaction may be vague ideas, but there are several ways to evaluate employee morale. Here are different factors that need to be considered when assessing employees’ happiness at work:
1. Employee Attitude and Office Atmosphere
Happy employees put in more effort and pay more attention to their work. Observe if employees still have that bravado over a job well done or if they expend their energies on other activities instead.
Low employee morale also causes people to complain and gossip more often. Bad talk at the office may then result in toxic work culture.
A lack of satisfaction in team management or the nature of the work motivates complaints. Meanwhile, a lack of transparency within a company is the more common cause of gossip.
In order to gain more knowledge about the problem, managers can conduct a culture assessment. There are many ways to evaluate culture in the workplace.
Leaders can take a culture walk and inspect the physical aspects of a company’s culture. The amount of space provided to a team, common areas shared by different employees, objects on employees’ desks, and notes on the bulletin boards—all of these can provide insight into a company’s culture.
Culture interviews can also show how employees feel about their jobs. Ask them situational questions that reflect their work perception. Some possible questions could be:
- If a friend is about to start work at our company, what would be your advice to them?
- Which co-worker do you consider to be your hero? Why?
- What type of person would not be a good fit for our company?
Finally, managers and leaders can create a culture survey based on what they learned in the culture walk or the culture interviews. Written surveys can also double as a feedback system that can allow employees to air their grievances via a legitimate channel.
2. Employee Turnover
Unsatisfied workers are more likely to look for opportunities elsewhere. This dissatisfaction may root from reasons such as low chances of career development, poor communication, and poor work-life balance.
Feeling stagnant in one’s career may lower a person’s motivation to work. Employees may feel this way if they’re unsure of their progress at work.
What managers can do is to conduct annual performance reviews and provide candid feedback about an employee’s performance.
Poor communication can also cause employees to feel demotivated. Employees need to feel in control with their situation, and managers need to provide a channel through which employees can communicate their concerns and ideas.
Fewer employees also mean more work needs to be distributed. Heavier workloads mean employees have less time for personal activities and hobbies. Working your employees round the clock also causes work fatigue and burnouts.
If low employee morale is causing employees to leave, managers may want to keep a closer eye on the situation since high turnover costs companies money. When an employee leaves, the company loses money on having an unfilled position for a long time and on hiring and training a replacement.
Keep turnovers in check by conducting exit interviews.
An exit interview can reveal both good and bad things about an organization. A leaving employee is a perfect source of information and ideas that managers can later explore. Some good questions would be:
- What are the things that prompted you to look for another job?
- What would possibly cause you to consider returning to the company?
- Do you feel like the company valued your contributions? If not, how do you think could this be improved?
- Do you feel like you had enough training to do your job?
- How do you think did your job description change compared to when you were hired?
- What areas can the company improve on?
- Do you have any suggestions for improving employee morale? What are they?
Leaders can learn a great deal about employee experience during exit interviews because leaving employees are more likely to be honest about their concerns and issues.
3. Performance and Initiative
A telltale sign that employees are no longer “feeling it”: they don’t volunteer to do things anymore. Many things can turn a good worker into a bad one—and if the performances of several employees start slipping, it might be a good time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Take the time to assess employee engagement at the workplace.
Employee engagement is the measure of an employee’s passion for the work and the company. When an employee is engaged, they’re willing to go above and beyond in order to help an organization achieve its goals.
Generally, five things can affect employee engagement. These are meaning, autonomy, growth, impact, and connection.
Meaning refers to an employee’s perception of the job and the sense of purpose it provides. A job takes up a big chunk of a person’s time, and they need to feel that doing the job makes a difference.
Autonomy provides a sense of control to the employee. Granting the freedom to make their own choices regarding the work is a great way to keep employees confident and motivated.
Workers seek progress and personal growth. Good work means good opportunities, and challenging work for good employees are simply doors towards improvement.
Employees also find reassurance in knowing that their work has an impact. Even stapling documents can feel like a grand task if you know that it’s going to help bag that big client.
Finally, a sense of belongingness can go a long way. People need connection, and a good relationship with colleagues and managers is essential to employees’ day-to-day work.
Leaders can provide suggestion boxes for employees to continuously communicate ideas and concerns. According to a study conducted in 2018, 48% of employees said that relaying feedback and seeing management take a corresponding action will make them stay at a company.
Conducting surveys is a popular way of assessing employee engagement. These surveys often ask if employees feel valued in their current position, if they’re satisfied with their work-life balance, how they feel on their current career path, etc.
Aside from asking the right questions, leaders should act on the results that come out of the assessment. Employee engagement surveys are also more effective when done more frequently.