Morale is one of the most important factors in determining how efficient and productive a company will be. Companies that suffer from low morale have employees who are unmotivated to perform well. Instead, the employees are often more interested in seeking new positions with other companies than they are in doing their jobs well.
The Cost of Low Morale
Chronic absenteeism is another problem that can afflict companies with poor morale. When employees dread the thought of going to work, they are more likely to seek out excuses to stay home. Over the long run, this will cost the company quite a bit. One study has found that absenteeism costs more than $350 billion a year, and that more than 20 million employees are actively disengaged from their jobs.
Unfortunately, many businesses have failed to make a great deal of headway in confronting these problems, and so the losses continue. Large companies often incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses due to unscheduled absences, and these losses are compounded due to the effect these absences have on other employees.
Because of the problems that low morale causes, it is important that companies focus on finding ways to improve their culture. There are a number of causes of low morale, and focusing on these issues can yield great results.
Causes of Low Morale
One of the major causes of low morale is a lack of opportunities for professional advancement. When employees feel as if they are stuck in a position, their enthusiasm for their job may begin to flag. Even if they initially enjoy their work, they may still begin to feel dissatisfied after several years.
A lack of good channels of communication is another common cause of poor morale in many workplaces. When employees feel as if their concerns are being ignored, they are more likely to feel dissatisfied. Poor management is also a culprit in many situations where morale is low.
Finally, chaotic or constantly changing working conditions make it difficult to maintain morale. When layoffs are frequent or departmental reorganizations occur often, many employees begin to focus on holding onto the position they have, rather than on performing to the limits of their abilities.
Company culture is therefore an important part of establishing a high level of morale which can lead to greater efficiency and productivity. In a number of surveys, employees often agree that the culture of a company plays a major part in determining the level of morale and productivity.
For example, in a survey conducted in 2010, 57 percent of employees agreed that the culture of their workplace played the most important role in maintaining morale and keeping productivity high. Younger workers were particularly likely to agree that company culture played a crucial role in determining their level of job satisfaction.
Among the most important parts of company culture are effective management and strong trust relationships. Other important factors included a focus on the customers, high standards of accountability, and a commitment to continued opportunities for training and personal development.
Therefore, a company that is struggling with low morale and productivity needs to find ways to change its culture to improve morale and make its employees more productive. Fortunately, there are some proven ways to do so effectively.
Improving Company Morale
One of the easiest ways to improve morale is to focus on improving management skills. If supervisors are seen as distant or untrustworthy, morale inevitably suffers. Supervisors should make sure that they are accessible to all of the employees that they are supervising, and that they are seen as behaving in a consistent and trustworthy fashion.
Improving the lines of communication in a company can also yield great results. Employees like to receive clear, straightforward communications on a regular schedule that give them the information they need to do their jobs well. They also like to feel that their concerns are heard and addressed promptly.
Holding regular meetings where employees can voice their opinions is a good way to improve communication. Clear lines of communications should also be established so that employees know exactly who they can talk to about any issues or concerns they may be having in the workplace.
The Benefits of Motivated Employees
Motivated employees are more productive employees, so finding ways to energise staff and make them more excited about doing their jobs will go a long way towards improving the culture of a company. Managers should be focused on leading by example. If they are seen as being excited and enthusiastic about the company’s goals, employees will naturally follow their example.
Finding ways to motivate individual employees will vary depending upon the person concerned, so managers need to understand their employees well enough to do so. For example, one employee might find motivation in being publicly recognised, while another might simply prefer a monetary bonus. Being able to tailor rewards to the individual is an important part of effective management.
Maintaining the cohesiveness of a team of employees or a unit is another important part of maintaining morale. When employees feel that they are an integral part of the team, and that other people are depending upon them to do their jobs, they are more likely to perform at a high level.
The Importance of Communication
It is important to make sure that the team therefore interacts frequently and that each member has an opportunity to contribute to determining the team’s goals. If employees feel as if they are being ignored or taken for granted, their morale, and therefore their performance, will suffer, which can hurt the team as a whole.
Healthy competition with other teams can also improve morale, though it is important not to let this get out of hand. The competition needs to be framed in a positive light, rather than in an aggressive or winner-take-all fashion. Ultimately, the employees need to be focused on meeting their own goals, rather than simply beating someone else.
Maintaining the right kind of company culture is vital for businesses that want to succeed. By focusing on increasing morale and productivity, a company can keep its employees happy, healthy, and focused on doing their jobs well.