Establishing and maintaining a positive work environment is essential to any successful business, as it not only helps to improve employee performance but also fosters a sense of loyalty and commitment among staff. Additionally, a Gallup study showed that employees who had high morale and were engaged in their work increased profitability by 21%, making it a worthwhile investment.
Improving employee morale has been a top priority for HR professionals over the last several years. But high morale can only occur when employees feel valued and taken care of, which involves employers going above and beyond their duty of care.
What is employee morale?
Employee morale is the overall mood employees have about their work environment and their role in it. This reflects their outlook, satisfaction, happiness, engagement and confidence at work.
Morale can be seen as the glue that holds organisations together. When morale is high, organisations are proven to have increased success. This is due to a number of factors that are improved when morale is high:
- Reduced stress – less stressed employees display reduced absenteeism and are more productive, making this a benefit to the employee and the business itself.
- Enhanced productivity – when employees feel happy, motivated and satisfied at work, they produce more work and to a higher standard.
- Attracts new talent – organisations with high morale and happy staff stand out from the crowd and appear more desirable to prospective employees, affording employers a wider pool of candidates when making new hires.
- Increases job satisfaction and retention – a positive work environment with high morale can make employees feel happier when they come to work, increasing job satisfaction and decreasing employee turnover.
Discover the 8 employer benefits of investing in workplace wellbeing
How can employee morale be measured?
In order to understand the levels of morale within your organisation it’s vital to hear from your employees themselves.
One of the best ways to do this is by conducting an anonymous survey. By including questions that measure employee engagement, motivation, job satisfaction and stress levels, you can gain a full picture of how your employees are feeling about work.
This will allow you to identify any potential issues and make necessary changes. The survey remaining anonymous is key to getting accurate results as employees are likely to be more honest when assured there are no repercussions for answering truthfully.
Another way to assess your morale is to look over your employee history. Look out for any patterns relating to grievances, sick leave and staff turnover. When doing this, you should be aware of averages and what rates should be concerning.
When employees do leave, it is also worth conducting exit interviews where employees can be completely honest about their experience at your organisation. Ask questions relating to morale and record the results of all interviews so that they can also be used to look for patterns and trends over time.
What can cause low employee morale?
Low morale can be caused by several factors, including poor leadership, lack of recognition for hard work, unfair treatment, long working hours and inadequate resources.
How to boost workplace morale
We’ve put together six simple tips that you can implement to help boost workplace morale.
1. Focus on communication
In today’s working world where many of us work from home at least some of the time, maintaining regular communication can go a long way in boosting morale and employee mood. Communicating often reduces feelings of isolation, encourages team relationships, and can lead to ideas being shared, making work easier and reducing stress.
Additionally, continuous performance conversations have been proven to encourage coaching, build trust and help employees to see managers in a more positive light. Managers communicating with their staff regularly will also allow them to spot the signs of burnout, become aware of any stressors and build positive personal relationships with their team. With the knowledge of how staff are feeling and what they may be struggling with, steps can be put in place to support them.
Communication from HR about positive news can boost morale across the organisation. Reminding employees to book their holiday, building hype around company social events and sharing positive news can give employees something to look forward to and boost their mood throughout the week. You could also run fun ongoing competitions with regular updates. This could be anything from a Fantasy Football League or sweepstake to an ongoing charity fundraiser that you share updates about when new milestones are met.
2. Show appreciation
Acknowledging people’s hard work can go a long way in boosting morale and helping staff to feel valued. Small gestures such as Employee of the Month or Employee of the Quarter awards can help employees to feel appreciated and recognised for their hard work. In turn, this boosts the mood of your work environment and acts as motivation for employees to continue working hard.
Increased praise and recognition can also help to improve retention rates. Glassdoor reports 53% of employees stay at their jobs longer if they get appreciation from their manager. Regular recognition can alleviate some of the day-to-day tensions that employees may experience, giving them a more positive view of their role and how their work contributes to the success of the business.
3. Get employees involved in decision-making
Involving employees in the decision-making process is a great way to show them that their opinion matters and that their ideas can be used to help make positive changes in the workplace. When employees are given the opportunity to contribute to important decisions, it can increase their sense of ownership and responsibility for their work.
Giving employees the opportunity to have a say in decisions can also demonstrate that they are valued and appreciated by the business, which can go a long way towards building morale and trust between employers and employees.
4. Encourage teamwork
By encouraging collaboration and teamwork, employees can learn from each other, create stronger relationships with their peers, and build on each other’s ideas. Employees having friendly relationships is likely to have a significant positive impact on how they feel about coming to work.
Team building activities, team lunches and company socials are easy ways to encourage your teams to build more personal relationships. For remote teams this can be more difficult, but you could consider hosting virtual activities such as a lunch over video chat or a virtual quiz.
5. Promote work-life balance
Since full-time employees spend a large portion of their time at work, it is not surprising that most people prefer to work for an employer who respects their personal lives as well as their professional ones. For 67% of people, sick pay is the employee benefit that they value most, closely followed by flexible working.
To ensure morale is high, employers should show that they value employees having a positive work-life balance and prioritise real-life needs. Providing employees with an environment where they can look after themselves means that they are likely to be more motivated when they come to work as they feel respected and are less likely to take time off due to burnout.
6. Invest in meaningful perks and benefits
It’s no secret that work perks can boost morale and make employees see your organisation more favourably, with 53% of employees saying that employee perks give them a better quality of life and 79% of employees preferring new or additional benefits to a pay increase. But these perks need to be meaningful to your staff to have the maximum effect.
Taking some time to review your existing perks and replacing outdated benefits can go a long way in boosting morale. Research shows that for 57% of employees flexible working hours is the employee perk they value most and for 40%, they value mental health and wellbeing support above all else.
Our own research found that 60% of people feel unsafe commuting on public transport during unsociable hours and that 21% of employees have personal safety concerns at least once per week. It is clear that employees need more support from their employers and nearly half (48%) would see them in a better light if a solution was offered. Personal safety technology can play a critical role in protecting employees, reducing stress and addressing the safety concerns held by many.
“My employer could provide personal alarms, so it could be used if it’s needed in an emergency, which would make me feel more protected and happier.” – 45-54 Male, Healthcare worker
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Download Peoplesafe SOS App eBook
The Peoplesafe SOS App is a simple and cost-effective way to offer 24/7 support to your staff. Unlike other personal safety apps, when an alarm is raised via Peoplesafe, the user will be immediately connected to a trained ARC Controller with the ability to bypass 999 and contact emergency services where necessary.
The app also enables users to share their live location with chosen contacts via SMS, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, helping to provide peace of mind on their journey, anytime and anywhere.
Continue to improve
Employee morale isn’t linear, so it’s vital to stay on top of it. Once you have established what works within your organisation and have taken steps to implement these measures, continue to regularly monitor morale to look out for any dips.
With an open environment for communication, you can encourage staff to provide feedback at any time and use this insight to make positive changes. This will ensure you are consistently investing in your staff and meeting their changing needs.