Employee morale can make or break your business. Employees with higher morale have a better attitude, maintain higher customer service levels and are more productive. On the other hand, bad morale reduces efficiency and productivity, spreading through an organization quickly from just a handful of disgruntled employees if left unchecked.
Employee morale is not just one thing but is made up of many aspects. Your business may do well in one area but still have low morale if the other areas are poor. These aspects include job satisfaction, work conditions, workload and perceived fairness.
Happy employees are productive employees. Employees who are positive about their jobs and motivated will tend to miss fewer work days and work more efficiently when they are there. High morale is also correlated with fewer errors in the work being performed and fewer workplace accidents. Your customer service will also benefit from high morale because employees will be more friendly and helpful when dealing with customers.
Employee morale is not all, or even predominantly, about money, and giving employees raises will not automatically improve morale. Morale will suffer, however, if employees are significantly underpaid. However, the reverse is not true as further raises will not improve morale if pay is fair. Instead, employees may be more concerned with intangible benefits, such as work life balance and the atmosphere in the workplace.
A drop in employee morale can be caused by a change inside or even outside your business. Bad management is a main cause of poor morale, particularly if employees view management as unfair or disrespectful towards them. Morale tends to be lower if general economic conditions are poor because employees start to worry about job security and their future. Culture clashes and adjustments following a merger or other major organizational shift can harm morale. Finally, poor morale can start with one dissatisfied employee and spread to others.
The first step in tackling poor morale is to address its causes, such as bad management. Train managers to treat employees fairly and with respect. Bad morale can spread, making it difficult to determine a cause, or the cause may be general circumstances, such as poor general economic circumstances. In this case, offer your employees extra perks to improve morale. These can include time off, the option to work from home, a flexible schedule or simple recognition when work is well done.