How to Tell When Employee Morale is Suffering (And What to Do About It)

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Most business owners would agree that employee morale is vital to a company's success. Satisfied employees get along better with their co-workers, make fewer errors and are more productive. Conversely, disgruntled employees—even a few—can spread negativity throughout a company like a wildfire and hurt its bottom-line.

But low morale in the workplace can be intangible and hard to discern. Here's some advice on what to look out for and what measures you can take to counteract this problem in your business.

How to Tell When Employee Morale is Low

  • Poor Performance: Missed deadlines, customer complaints, or an increase in mistakes are all signs of low morale. Team members might be feeling pressured by their workload or are experiencing personal problems.
  • Changes in Employee Attitude: Watch out for changes in your employee's attitude, like increased absences, unwillingness to cooperate or commit, or a rise in negativity. These are clear signs that your employee is unhappy about something that has to be addressed immediately.
  • Lack of Initiative: Be on the look-out for staff members who are just doing the bare minimum at their job. Employees who lack motivation or are confused about their tasks find no reason to be proactive, show leadership skills, or find ways to solve problems.
  • Active Office Gossip: You can't stop employees from talking, but be wary when the information being spread at work is inaccurate or leads to conflict. Office gossip typically happens when there's a lack of information or reliable communication with the management.
  • Increase in Resignations or Transfers: An uptick in resignations or requests for transfers to other departments are a sure sign of employee dissatisfaction. Employees who feel they're not treated well or that their talents are wasted are apt to transfer or quit and look for employment elsewhere. A 2015 survey by Campaign US, revealed that unhappy workers are 3.5 times more likely to search for another job.

5 Ways to Raise Morale in the Workplace

1. Promote your own.

Knowing that there's a chance to advance in their career path is a strong motivation for every employee. Find out more about your employees' job aspirations and invest in training programs for them. You can also give team members a chance to bloom simply by placing them in positions that better match their skill sets.

2. Touch base with employees on a regular basis.

If you don't know what's causing low morale among your staff, ask them. Schedule one-on-one meetings or have group discussions to flesh out underlying problems in the workplace. You could even conduct quarterly employee reviews that allow employees to air out their grievances anonymously. Also, keep your doors open to employees so they can talk to you whenever they feel the need to do so.

3. Share your vision.

Give your employees a purpose or a goal they can work towards. Make your workers feel like they're an integral part of something greater by sharing your vision for the company. Knowing the end goal and their contribution to it can inspire and motivate your team.

4. Don't underestimate fringe benefits.

Giving your employees more money is nice, but fringe benefits can also go a long way toward boosting morale. Something as simple as a well-stocked pantry, providing tasty lunches during a meeting, or a free monthly massage will do wonders. Sending gifts during important milestones, like weddings or birthdays, also make employees feel valued and loved.

5. Have some fun. 

Doing something enjoyable should be a regular thing in your company. Bowling matches, an in-house sports competition or even a scavenger hunt are fun and can boost morale. Make things more interesting by creating teams and offering prizes to those who achieve particular goals.

[Featured image via Pixabay]
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