Low employee morale not only limits productivity, but it can also take its toll on your employee's health and well-being. In contrast, a positive employee is more likely to work harder while being engaged, more productive, and have a better quality of life.
Gallup's Wellbeing- The Five Essential Elements underscores the importance of employee morale as disengaged workers not only reported higher stress levels compared to happy workers, they were also more likely to develop heart disease and other health issues due to the high levels of cortisol or the stress hormone in their system.
As work continues to evolve and more employees are working remotely, keeping employee morale high in physical and digital workplaces will be even more important to maintain high employee retention for top talent and boost your company's bottom line.
Why Morale Matters
Employee morale refers to the overall mental and emotional condition of people in the workplace. High morale is characterized by confidence, enthusiasm, and loyalty of your employees.
Happy workers work harder and are more productive, whereas employees with low morale are more likely to arrive late or not show up at all. Worse, dissatisfaction can be contagious and could easily cause low employee retention and lead to conflicts.
Several factors can affect morale in the workplace, these include company culture, type of leadership, nature of the work, compensation, peer support, and work-life balance. Compensation is usually one of the initial variables that management considers whenever there is a problem of morale in the workplace, but the type of leadership oftentimes has a bigger impact on morale.
A study found that low morale stems from a lack of communication between managers and staff, especially when supervisors address employees from a top-down direction with no way to communicate with them regarding workplace issues.
This lack of open communication will breed resentment when your teams work together and could cause conflict in the workplace. Providing an open door policy to address any issues that arise can seriously help to curb the likelihood of a conflict arising.
Another big contributing factor to morale is work-life balance. Ensuring ample time for rest and relaxation for employees can significantly improve their job satisfaction and engagement in the workplace.
Allowing flexible schedules, as well as work-from-home opportunities, are some of the options businesses offer employees to improve employee morale and work-life balance. In fact, Gallup research found that over half of the employees surveyed would accept another job if it offers more flexibility. Another 35 percent would happily change their job to work remotely full time.
The Benefits of High Morale
In a nutshell, employees with high morale perform better, do more, and stay longer. Gaining your staff's loyalty will provide more stability for your business, especially during difficult times.
Knowing that your workforce will stay with you and help with problem-solving already adds a lot of value to your bottom line.
Lower Turnover Rates
Talent retention is easier if you have high morale. Lower turnover rates likewise make your business more attractive to top-notch talent. After all, people want to work for companies with a people-centric approach and one way to gauge this is their ability to retain employees.
More things get done if employee morale is high. People are more punctual and even willing to work more or take on more responsibility without expecting a reward. Low morale, on the other hand, will just lead to higher absenteeism, slowing down your operations, and resulting in financial losses.
Better Overall Performance and Collaboration
Not only are people more productive when employee morale is high, but the quality of their work is also better because they have a good attitude.
Interactions with customers will be more pleasant which reflects favorably on your business. They would also be more likely to provide creative solutions, so during brainstorming sessions, you will be able to gain valuable insights.
Since high morale means people are more likely to show up to work, there will be fewer leave days and sick days which will translate to higher savings.
Businesses need to recognize the value of increasing employee morale because this will lead to higher productivity and profitability.
Specifically, Gallup found that the annual productivity loss from a single disengaged employee is upward of $28,000 due to sick days. Meanwhile, a happy and engaged worker will save you about $840 a year.
Safer Work Environment
Finally, high morale will contribute to a safer workplace for everyone. A good attitude means people are more conscious about safety rules, thus reducing accidents. Morale is also good for camaraderie which means your staff will care more about the well-being of their colleagues and pay more attention to their tasks.
If you look at global brands like Google and IBM, employee morale is central to their business strategy. Hence, they offer flexible work arrangements, training, spaces for leisure, as well as career planning.
Even at a smaller scale, startups without the funds for triple-benefit programs can still foster employee morale by simply providing proper recognition, organizing team-building activities, and creating a safe space for airing grievances.