What Impacts Employee Morale | 5 mins read

What Factors Impact Employee Morale?

what factors impact employee morale
Dakota Sheetz

By Dakota Sheetz

How Morale Impacts an Organization

Employee morale is the collective work climate that is created by how employees feel at work. It is a direct result of their opinions about work, their level of satisfaction while working, and their confidence in doing their job.

If employees feel supported in their work and that the job they have aligns with their career goals, employee morale would certainly be high. If workers are dejected, have a hard time doing their jobs, and feel that their work is a dead-end career-wise, morale would most likely be low.

Employee morale is the bedrock on which company culture is built. Having good company morale leads to a company culture conducive to growth and profitability.

Signs of High and Low Employee Morale

Although employee morale is not a physical object that you can see, it is not hard to detect the level of morale of your business. Let's look at common signs of good employee morale and then some giveaways that employee morale is low.

The signs of good employee morale-

  • Little or no unscheduled leaves - When morale is low employees will tend to want to minimize their time at work. This could come in the form of unscheduled leaves. Conversely, a high employee morale work environment will have very few incidents of unplanned leaves.
  • Low attrition rate - When employees stay with the company for long periods of time that tends to be a sign of good if not high morale. This contributes to low employee turnover in general and chances are they're remaining at the company because they enjoy working there.
  • Employees owning their job - When employees show accountability for the quality and timeliness of their work and a sense of initiative at making their work better this is referred to as job ownership. This can be a representation that within organization employee satisfaction and morale is high.

    A wonderful mix of pride in work, and a sense of responsibility. It means that the employee values and holds a stake in the business almost as much as those who own it. This kind of attitude can only come from a place of high employee morale.
  • Willingness to socialize outside of work - High employee morale fosters a feeling of being a family or team. This feeling of unity would most likely manifest outside of the work hours.

    When workers invite each other to personal events like weddings or parties or simply enjoy a round of drinks on a Friday night these are good signs that morale is high.
The signs of low employee morale-

  • Frequent absences - Also known as absenteeism. In fact, they would most likely be so unenthusiastic as to call in sick. A bad sign especially if it happens often and to a significant number of employees. This points to low morale and could even be an example of poor work life balance for your employees.
  • High turnover - So what's a good turnover rate? The answer is to have a better turnover rate than the average for US companies. According to the Work Institute 2019 Retention Report, more than a third of workers will quit their jobs voluntarily each year by 2023.
  • Low-quality output - When your employees hate their jobs, you'll know it. They only do the bare minimum. Work tends to be sloppily done. Corners are cut. They're not happy and their work shows it.
  • No engagement from employees - Your employees don't give feedback during meetings. Maybe they're scared to give their opinion, maybe they don't care to give their opinion, maybe they just want to get to the end of their shift and go home - they don't want to get involved. Again a sign of low morale.

What Impacts Morale?

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Now that we've established that employee morale is important the next question is- What can you, as a business owner, do to improve morale in your organization?

In order to answer that question we have to look at the factors that impact employee morale-

Management
Bad managers can be a cause of low morale. If you're sensing low morale from the team members under one manager it's worthwhile to look at how that manager is impacting the morale employees feel on a day to day basis - maybe the manager is the problem, not those under their leadership.

Conversely, if a good manager leaves, morale can take a nosedive, particularly if the new manager is not as competent or charismatic as the old one. It's important to listen to employees since you might have chosen the wrong replacement.

Enablement
Do your employees have the right tools to succeed and proper training?

Any job is challenging enough to accomplish, but without the right materials at their disposal, employees will certainly find themselves having an exponentially more difficult time completing the tasks they were hired to do.

This contributes to low morale due to the fact that the employees themselves are exposed to more room for error. Any errors made are then seen as a reflection of the employee's ability and not as a representation of the employer's improper provision of necessary resources.

Opportunities
Employee morale is affected by the opportunities employees have to gain new skills, get a promotion, or have more experiences that will look good in their resume. Underlying this is the fact that employees focus on career goals.

If employees know that their current job aligns with their career goals morale will definitely increase. Companies that provide a clear path to internal promotion, outlining the skills needed to move up to bigger roles in the organization, and providing support to attain those skills will be looked at as an ideal place to work by employees.

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Conclusion

Let's review the key takeaways from this article-

  • Employee morale is the collective work climate created by how employees feel at work.
  • Some key signs of high morale are low absenteeism, low turnover, job ownership, and the willingness to socialize out of work.
  • Some key signs of low morale are high absenteeism, high attrition rate, low-quality output, and low employee engagement.
  • Factors that impact morale involve management concerns, employee enablement, and on-job opportunities.

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