Productivity and profitability are king in most businesses. And, the highest levels of profitability and productivity come when there is high morale in the workplace.
Employee satisfaction surveys are a good way of discovering the degree of morale in your business, however, if you don't have time (or the resources) to conduct employee morale surveys then this snapshot of the three levels of morale may be of use to you.
For some additional employee engagement and employee retention ideas you may find the article on employee motivation techniques useful.
Identifying Low Morale in the Workplace
Low morale is a concern because it means that your workforce is not just unhappy, it also means they are unlikely to be performing to their best capability. Some indications of low morale are:
Low productivity - If you are noticing that otherwise competent staff are having trouble getting work done in a timely manner, you likely have a morale problem. It may be that your team does not feel appreciated, or they may think that their efforts aren't being fairly compensated. Increasing pay rates isn't the answer. If you want more ideas on motivating employees, by not increasing pay rates, then access "How to Motivate Employees".
High turnover - If there is a stampede of people applying for jobs, either outside your team, or outside your organization - then this could be an indicator of low morale in the workplace. The best people don't stick around in teams, or organizations, that don't fulfill them.
Similarly, if you advertise a job internally, and you don't have a bunch of people (particularly 'stars') applying to get into your team, you may want to look at what you need to improve, to make your team a more desirable entity. As I explain, in "How to Motivate Employees" - even the most mundane of jobs - can be appealing to people, if the systems and environment are set up to be inspiring.
Inter-personal conflicts - Finding yourself regularly acting as referee, rather than leading your team to high performance? You guessed it - that's another indicator of low morale. Discontent within the workplace leads to conflicts and frustrations spilling over.
Identifying A Medium Level of Morale
This category is the grey area, where determining the level of morale can be extremely challenging. In fact, a workplace with medium morale may seem to function quite well, but there are often underlying issues that crop up from time to time. Indicators that you've got problems include:
Social reluctance - If your team members seem to be okay performing their basic work tasks, but hesitate to show up to things like office parties or other non-required events, then this may indicate that the morale in the workplace is at a medium level. Low social activity, is often an indicator that you are on the slippery slope toward low morale - particularly if previously there had been good socialization within the team.
Putting in the minimum requirements - A workplace with high morale, is characterized by staff that are happy to go the extra mile. If you see a reluctance from team members to step up, and go above and beyond, it may be a hint that something isn't quite right.
Create better incentives, to take your workplace to the next level. As you will discover in "How To Motivate Employees", incentives doesn't just mean cash - there are many ways, you the leader, can improve employee motivation without having to go the bribe route of more $.
Indicators of morale in the workplace
High Morale in the Workplace
High morale is the goal of any workplace. Team Members with high morale display these traits:
- Dedication to the company
- Enthusiasm about their work responsibilities
- Confidence in their performance
- Willingness to do more than required
- Desire to associate with coworkers outside the office setting
Ways to Measure Morale in the Workplace
Here are other methods to discover the level of morale in your workplace:
- Climate/Mood Surveys are a trusted method for many organizations. Generally anonymous surveys deliver better results. However, do make sure the questions you ask, are designed carefully. Ask the wrong types of questions, and you'll end up with information that, at best, is meaningless, at worst down right dangerous and can set the organization along a path that they didn't intend. You may find this survey useful.
- Small focus groups, or one-on-one feedback, can provide a good gauge of company morale. The interviewee will need to know that there are no repercussions for honest answers.
- Studying productivity/efficiency trends will also give a good gauge of overall morale. Here you can see how productive the team is and see how much they are currently achieving versus what has happened in the past.
- Studying complaint trends (both customer and employee) will also show how much the employees care about their work, as well as the quality with which it is completed. By checking the complaint logs, as well as listening to the gripes of employees, you will get a good idea of how they feel.
- Take your turn working shoulder to shoulder with the team ... and not just for an hour ... schedule a block of time so you get a real feel for what it is like 'down in the trenches' You may be surprised!.
What You Can Do To Improve Morale
There are four key elements your organization should address in order to inspire and motivate people toward high-performance. The Four B's (priority order for inspiring commitment and performance) are:
- Believing - In the organization and the role
- Belonging - A sense of belonging and being valued
- Behaving - Clarity on the behaviors that will enable success
- Bottom-line - Tools, resources and context to help achieve results fast
Here are the elements that go into each of the 4 Bs that will help you to get and keep people engaged. Each of these elements are more fully explained in the "How to Motivate Employees" program.
- Connect people to their purpose
- Design people's roles so they can play to their strengths
- A culture that inspires high-performance (criticism, blame, treated unfairly)
- Make sure base needs are met: Money, Safety, Security, Job Conditions
- Provide challenging and meaningful work
- Celebrate success
- Promote a sense of community, social interaction and teamwork
- Ensure regular face-to-face contact
- No culture of politics, competition and in-fighting
- Give regular, direct, yet supportive feedback
- Keep it fun
- Enable input and choice in how work gets done
- Offer opportunity for learning, growth and advancement
- Rules driven
- Unproductive meetings
- Withheld information
- Toleration of poor performance
- People punished for making mistakes
- Systems, tools and information to do job well not provided
- Set clear targets and expectations and measure performance
- Reward fairly
- Under-utilize people's capability and strengths
Morale in the workplace is critical to the success of any organization. By recognizing the signs of high, medium and low morale, you can work to create a more positive and productive work environment, so that everyone wins - You, Your Team Members, Your Organization and Your Customers.
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