Employee Morale

  • Employee Conduct
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

In this guide, we'll discuss what positive employee morale looks like, its impact on your company, and methods of boosting employee morale.

Keeping your staff happy should be at the forefront of your business strategy. Failure to do so might lead to a decrease in employee morale, which could have adverse effects on your company.

Workplace satisfaction comes from engaging, motivating and developing your staff. Without it, employees might withdraw from their job responsibilities. Consequently, it could lead to lower levels of workplace productivity, employee engagement, and employee retention.

In this guide, we'll discuss what positive employee morale looks like, its impact on your company, and methods of boosting employee morale.

What is employee morale?

Employee morale is the overall satisfaction, beliefs and perception staff have towards the business they work for. The outlook staff have on a business is a big motivator regarding their drive to succeed.

For example, if your workplace has high morale, employees feel empowered to complete high-quality work. But if your team morale is low, staff members will be less engaged with your workplace culture. Subsequently, it could negatively impact your business's operation.

What indicates poor or low morale of employees?

There are several factors that can indicate poor or low morale of employees. General unhappiness at work is the biggest cause - but a number of elements can impact this. Let's explore them in more detail:

Poor work performance

One indication of low employee morale is poor work performance. This might look like small mistakes, missing deadlines, or even failing to work well with other employees. For example, they might frequently have conflicts with other team members.

Several factors can cause poor work performance, such as an employee having personal problems. But, if your employee is unhappy and disinterested in their work as well, it could be a sign of low morale.

Disinterest in company development

Another factor that indicates low employee morale is a general disinterest in your company's mission. This could be staff failing to engage in team brainstorms, or even a lack of drive to develop themselves.

For example, a new position might arise in your company that you think a specific employee is fit for. However, the employee is not keen on the position, despite it being a step up the career ladder. If there's no valid reason for their disinterest, they could have low workplace morale, as they have a lack of drive to succeed.

Workplace gossip

Another sign of low morale is gossip in the workplace. If employees gossip frequently at work, it could suggest a lack of respect for you as an employer - which can cause lower morale. And if new employees are present for gossip, it could impact their perception of your company.

For example, a new employee joins your business. In their first week, other staff members complain about the workload, lack of resources, and the turnover in your company. The new employee develops doubts about your workplace, and consequently, it causes them to have lower morale.

Why is good employee morale important?

Good employee morale is important because it can be beneficial to your company, as happy employees are more motivated to succeed. And a workforce motivated to do well can improve productivity, as well as the overall quality of work.

Let's take a look at some other reasons why good company morale is important:

Increases employee job satisfaction

Employees having high morale might increase overall job satisfaction. When employees feel they have the tools, co-workers and support to succeed at work, they are more motivated to perform.

For example, your employee identifies software that could help them perform better in their role. You inform them that the business will purchase it. This is a good example of supporting an employee because you have listened to their concern and provided a solution.

Widens your candidate pool

High morale within your workplace culture can also widen your candidate pool, because job-seekers will see that you retain happy employees. Consequently, it will attract people to your business who mightn't have considered joining before.

For example, an applicant with mental health issues might see a job opening on your website. From your company's reputation, they may be aware that staff morale is high and employee happiness is paramount. As a result, they're more inclined to apply for a role.

Increase employee retention

If you boost employee morale, you might notice that your staff retention increases. This is because staff will want to remain with an employer that provides a nice place to work, with staff who also work well in a team.

This, along with other benefits such as flexible working, mental health support or employee assistance programmes, will encourage employees to remain in your business long-term. Because they know not every employer offers an extensive benefits package.

What negatively affects employee morale?

There are several aspects of your workplace that can negatively affect employee morale. It's important you assess them all so you know what you need to work on. Negative effects are:

Poor leadership team

Poor company leaders can have a negative impact on your team's morale. From small business owners to bigger operations, unfair leadership can make it difficult for your team members to stay motivated.

Poor leadership comes in many forms. But it typically looks like a senior member of staff failing to support the needs of their direct reports. This can affect morale as employees will be less motivated to succeed.

Poor communication

Another factor that can negatively affect employee morale is poor communication. The ability to communicate effectively is a necessity in any business. It ensures work is done to the standard you require, employees are clear on deadlines, and your company's mission is clear.

If employees fail to communicate, the quality of work within your business will decrease - as it'll be more difficult to understand what is required of them. Not to mention, conflict within the workplace could increase because employees may frequently misunderstand each other.

Unhealthy work-life balance

An unhealthy work-life balance can also negatively impact employee morale. Employees feel valued when you promote a positive work-life balance, because they know you are prioritising their wellbeing above all else.

When employees have an unhealthy work-life balance, they are usually overworked and not looking after themselves properly. As a result, absenteeism could increase in your company, as well as staff turnover - meanwhile, employee morale decreases.

Lack of support for mental health issues

It's your legal duty to care for your employees, which is why employee mental health is so important. Staff with poor mental health need extra support when it comes to the workplace. This support could drive them to succeed - as it will assure them that their employer wants them to thrive.

Failure to support team members with mental health problems could result in a discrimination claim to a tribunal (if the employee's mental health issue counts as a disability). For example, if you fail to make reasonable workplace adjustments without a valid reason.

Employee burnout

Employee burnout can also negatively impact employee morale. When employees burn out, they develop a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. In turn, this might impact their quality of work and productivity, because it affects their overall health and wellbeing.

Which is why it's important to prevent employee burnout. It's also necessary to remember managers account for a proportion of your workplace, so ensure you check in with them as well.

Why do employees burn out?

There are a number of reasons why employees might burn out. Luckily, some factors are under your control. These are:

An unbalanced workload

One cause of employee burnout is an unbalanced workload. Predominantly, this means a workload where an employee is unable to stay on top of it.

If employees feel they have too much work to do and not enough tools or people to do it with, it can cause them to feel stressed at work. And ultimately, lead them to burnout.

Lack of boundaries at home

Another reason why employees burn out is they're unable to implement boundaries at home. This is especially apparent with remote employees because their workplace is also where they live.

A lack of boundaries between personal and professional lives can make it difficult for employees to separate the two - and lead to burnout.

Lack of resources at work

Employees might also experience burnout if you fail to provide them with the resources they need to perform their role. This could include certain software or equipment.

It may not seem like anything serious, but without the right resources employees will find it difficult to complete tasks. If they feel like work is mounting because of this, they might become stressed and experience burnout.

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The consequences of low employee morale

Low morale can have several consequences for your employees. Knowing what these are will encourage you to prevent them from occurring in your business. Consequences include:

Decreased productivity

One consequence of low employee morale is decreased productivity. If employees are less driven to succeed because their workplace doesn't motivate them, they'll be less willing to work as hard as they can. As a result, the quality of work an employee performs will decrease, as well as their productivity.

Lower employee engagement

Another consequence of low morale is low employee engagement. Low engagement is when employees are less than enthusiastic about their employer, or the business' objective. Engagement and morale go hand in hand, so if either is low - the other is likely to be as well.

Lower employee retention

Low employee retention is another consequence of low company morale. If morale is low in your workplace, employees will likely look for another position elsewhere. Moreover, new employees will see your retention is low and might develop lower morale because of it.

Ways to boost company morale

There are a number of ways you can boost employee morale. It mostly comes down to ensuring employees feel empowered, supported and motivated to succeed. Ways to boost employee morale include:

Promote a healthy work-life balance

One way to boost morale in your company is to promote work-life balance. Promoting healthy boundaries between work and home life can boost staff morale, as well as employee satisfaction.

This is because employees leave their work at work - and enjoy their personal life in their spare time. As a result, they are more refreshed when they return to the workplace - and have more focus to work hard.

Promote workplace diversity

Another way to improve morale is to promote workplace diversity within your company culture. This means training employees on inclusion at work, writing job boards that encourage anyone to apply (regardless of factors such as sex, race, or religion) and offering internships for those from minority backgrounds.

This helps improve morale because employees feel a sense of belonging, and ultimately feel happier at work. It also encourages staff to adopt positive behaviours that ensure they treat everyone with respect. In turn, staff could be more driven to succeed in a workplace that supports them.

Provide employee recognition

It's important to offer positive feedback to each employee. For example, if you recognise employees performing well on a specific project, let them know they're doing a good job. Or, if a staff member comes up with a good idea, ensure you credit them if you pursue it.

Employee recognition is important as an employee feels valued when their hard work is being noticed. In turn, this might improve employee morale.

Prioritise employee mental health

You could also boost morale by prioritising your employees' mental health. This might mean catching up with staff on a monthly basis to check in or offering an employee assistance programme. This is where staff can speak frankly to a confidential employee hotline about any personal or work issues.

If you encourage staff to speak openly with you, you can iron out any issues at work more quickly. This is instead of letting your employees bottle up their emotions - which can lead to them to workplace conflict, or even to apply for a role elsewhere.

Encourage communication

You can try boosting employee morale by encouraging staff to communicate effectively. Open communication will help employees understand what work is required of them. And helps prevent mistakes from being made. You could also ask employees to discuss how they like to be communicated with.

For example, they might prefer tasks sent by email rather than being briefed in person. Giving them control over this will encourage team members to communicate in a way that ensures efficiency.

Consequently, this might improve morale, as staff will enjoy working in a business with faster, more streamlined processes.

Get expert advice on employee morale from Peninsula

You should ensure you maintain positive employee morale within your business. This means encouraging employees to communicate effectively, checking in on their wellbeing, and providing constructive feedback to aid their development.

If you fail to boost employee morale, your business could be impacted negatively. This could decrease rates of productivity, engagement, and even retention.

Peninsula offers expert advice on employee morale. Our teams offer 24/7 HR advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our HR experts.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.


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