By Felecia Brasfield

When employee morale is high, staff members are more productive and experience more positivity. On the other hand, low morale can weigh a company down, resulting in less productivity and motivation. Contrary to popular belief, low morale isn’t always the result of a company issue. Lifestyle and personal demands affect an individual’s attitude at work. Unexpected economic changes and illness while juggling personal and professional demands can also make it difficult for an employee to stay engaged. 

Employees who are satisfied with their work and their workplace tend to be more productive and less likely to resign. Therefore, by recognizing and empowering employees, organizations can increase motivation and improve performance. 

Benefits of Positive Employee Morale

It is regularly reported by research and survey groups that happy employees and respected staff members will stick around longer. However, the benefits of positive employee morale extend far beyond improving employee retention. Positive morale benefits include:

  • A productive and efficient workforce
  • Creates a healthy work environment keeping turnover low
  • Attracts skilled individuals to the company. Companies with a reputation for treating their employees well can expect job seekers to search them out. 
  • Aids in reducing expenses by eliminating the costs associated with turnover and recruiting

What Causes Low Morale?

Employees can experience ups and down at any point during their employment. Some factors that cause employee morale to diminish are outside an employer’s control, while others can be mitigated. 

Lack of room to grow is one of the top culprits of low morale. Employees need to grow personally and professionally during their employment. Those who cannot experience growth can become bored or frustrated and eventually disengage. Lack of clarity can also contribute to low employee morale. If a staff member does not understand their job expectations clearly, then they can lose sight of getting the job done efficiently or on time. 

Having issues with a supervisor and changes in leadership are also causes of low employee morale. It is not uncommon for staff to get concerned during changes in company leadership. Frequently worrying about job security or changes in job responsibilities. There doesn’t need to be a change in leadership just for it to be a relating factor. If those in current leadership roles are not managing their workers wisely the low employee morale is caused by poor leadership.

Ways to Bolster Morale at the Office

If employee morale seems to be low at your company recently, there are many ideas you can implement to lift everyone’s spirits. For instance, having an employee recognition program is a good starting point for boosting employee morale. Recognizing employees can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as: 

  • Provide an Employee of the Month parking space. Giving an employee a primo parking spot places them in a position of admiration from fellow employees. 
  • Conduct annual awards ceremonies. These events are focused on honoring employees publicly for things like excelling on a special project, continually showing up on time, or surpassing production goals. 
  • Institute a Peer Recognition Program where employees are encouraged to recognize or nominate a fellow co-worker for a job well done.  
  • Allow employees to be involved in making decisions within the company. Employees who feel trusted and heard experience higher morale. 
  • Encourage employees to take breaks on a regular basis and provide a space for them to decompress. By giving someone a few minutes to change their environment and be able to take a break leads to a more productive employee. 
  • Reward an employee’s efforts at work always! It is common for people to be rewarded for a success or an accomplishment. Rewarding employees for working diligently communicates that not only their success, but also their dedication is important. 

Employee recognition isn’t the only way to boost office morale. Focus on being transparent with the staff and organizing team-building activities from time to time. This helps employees get to know their co-workers better and often themselves. Also, remember to establish opportunities for employee growth and career path advancement. Both of which keep employees engaged and uplifted. 

Recognition is the greatest motivator.”

Gerard C. Eakedale

Also, be sure to become comfortable with feedback, both giving and receiving. Giving employees feedback through performance reviews or monthly meetings helps keep the team members on the best path for success. The other important piece is being able to receive feedback from the employees. They need to be comfortable sharing their concerns or ideas with management at any time. 

Be Mindful as You Recognize Employees

As the company begins integrating employee recognition programs, there are some items to consider. First, it is essential to ensure the award is being given by a person or group that the recipient respects. For example, some workers may be more receptive to an award from upper management, while others may respond more favorably to co-workers or direct supervisors. 

Timing is everything! When an employee is recognized, it impacts how the recognition is received. Many companies choose to acknowledge employees during the holidays with bonuses or at the start of each year. However, finding ways to thank the staff during challenging times throughout the year may be a wise decision. Thank you notes, recognition days, and encouraging words at the start of the busiest season could wind up being just as worthwhile.
It’s human nature to enjoy displaying our talents and successes. Recognizing the hard work and dedication of your staff can go a long way toward improving employee morale.

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