Morale is a feeling of satisfaction and optimism in your work. That moment when you finally finish a project or when you step away to grab some breakroom coffee, and you can’t help but smile. It’s that little bit of giddy all workers need to feel motivated. It drives us, allows us to look forward to coming into the office each day, and feeds our work ethic.
Morale is very closely linked to company culture. It’s the attitude and outlook an employee has towards the organization. While good morale is a communal effort affected by the company as a whole, many managers tend to take on the responsibility of controlling morale themselves. This article explores how to improve and maintain office morale at any level within the company.
WHY EMPLOYEE MORALE IS IMPORTANT
The biggest reason morale has become an important workplace issue is because studies have demonstrated that increased productivity and efficiency come from a positively regarded workplace. When your staff genuinely enjoy their work and the people around them, they become highly motivated. Not only do they get more work done quickly, but the quality of their work is also improved.
The competitive edge an organization receives from positive morale is impressive. This is largely because a company with high morale will attract and retain more top notch talent. An office with high morale also reduces operating costs; employees taking fewer sick days, having fewer workplace accidents, and lower stress, all lead to less paid time off. A lower turnover means the company will also reduce recruitment and hiring costs.
WHAT CAUSES LOW MORALE?
Humans thrive on challenges. We need personal growth just as much as a business needs to grow. When the company stops growing, or stops allowing their employees to grow, employees often become bored and unmotivated. Without growth and the challenges it brings we become disengaged with both our work and the organization.
A lack of proper equipment and supplies to get the job done, can also tank office morale. This includes ensuring they have everything from the right computer to improved office furniture.
Low morale can also be a result of a workspace that offers no clarity or clear-cut direction. It’s important for managers to set clear, realistic expectations for each employee. Without boundaries and expectations an employee may procrastinate. Tracking progress through one-on-one meetings is a good way to stay connected to each employee, as well as keep your finger on the pulse of the organization.
More often than not poor leadership is the biggest trigger for low morale. Those in a leadership role need to understand how their presence, demeanor, and performance affects the team. Managers who are blind to this connection are often confused when morale (and therefore productivity) suffers.
Leadership changes are necessary to uplift morale. Regardless of employees’ opinions on the previous manager or their leadership style, it is important to ensure an employee’s confidence in the company is not shaken. New staff, especially leaders, have the potential to dramatically change company culture.
TOP 3 TIPS TO IMPROVE OFFICE MORALE
Just because productivity and optimism are dragging, doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. Try these proven methods of improving office morale.
- COMMUNICATE OFTEN
Sharing positive company announcements is a great place to start. This could be the launch of a new product, or even an awesome customer review. It’s also important though, to keep them in the loop when something goes wrong (especially if it affects the employee). By keeping the lines of communication open during the good and bad times, your employees feel more valued.
Employee feedback is an important part of communication in the office. About one-third of employees surveyed said they feel they get the proper amount of feedback required. Feedback is not just about criticizing or complimenting an employee, it must be constructive to give them the tools they need to get the job done and the confidence to get it done well.
- EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION
This sentiment echoes the idea of keeping the lines of communication open. When employees feel appreciated – sincerely and genuinely appreciated – they have more self-worth and become more productive. Many studies have proven the benefits of employee recognition, with positive outcomes from management and staff. Even customer satisfaction increases.
- EMPLOYEE GROWTH
When employees have a sense of purpose, a goal to work towards, they work harder. They feel motivated and excited to work. Simply offering the opportunity to improve their skills has a significant impact. In fact, a study by Chronus (a firm specializing in employee retention) found that retention is 25% higher for offices with a company-sponsored mentoring program. The opportunity to teach and learn is inspiring for workers.
Researching employee morale and continually monitoring morale trends is going to be of great benefit to your organization. Speaking to your staff about morale too is going to help; it keeps those lines of communication open, while also making them feel valued. Even more so if you implement their ideas, and give credit to employees that help the company culture.