Do you like your job? What about the place where you work, is it a pleasant atmosphere? Does your boss seem to appreciate you? Do you hope to remain employed there indefinitely? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, more than likely, you have a fulfilling job. However, if you dislike the workplace environment and/or your supervisor and even dread going to work each day, there is still hope that you can turn things around. Rather than thinking of yourself being stuck in a rut you have the potential to play a leadership role and improve employee morale in the workplace.
What Is Employee Morale?
First of all, what is employee morale? It can be defined as a positive condition where workers have favorable attitudes about their jobs and the company they work for. They are satisfied with their job status and position and understand just how important their duties are in attributing to their employer’s success. Overall, they would like to see this company grow and prosper. Hence, each is willing to do his/her duties and do them to the best of their ability to ensure favorable results.
Workers that contribute to employee morale generally possess the following traits as they:
- love their jobs and rarely, if ever, dread coming into work
- respect their employer and plan to work there on a long-term basis
- get along with most other coworkers and make all efforts possible to see that operations
- within their department flow smoothly
- are less likely to take days off or come in late or leave early
- respect their supervisors and feel they get the support they need
- are willing to go that extra mile to solve problems or help prevent them
- are more dedicated to their job than social affairs at work
- don’t feel overworked or underpaid
- don’t engage in unethical activities as employee theft
Employee morale requires that workers cooperate with one-another and work as a team. This means being willing to fill in for other workers’ duties when someone is absent. Each person must actively engage in his/her assigned responsibilities rather than expecting others to pick up the slack for them. Likewise, each must be willing to help others out instead of complaining, seeking revenge, or doing other things to cause friction. Overall, workers must maintain a level of maturity and integrity plus go with the flow rather than against it.
The Costs of Poor Employee Morale
Each employee must realize how detrimental poor employee morale can be for a company. Low morale can seriously hurt an employer’s bottom line. First of all, it leads to high absenteeism. For each sick day a worker takes, the employer is paying him/her for a day’s work this person never done. Those who take numerous sick days cause a bigger loss in productivity than they realize, especially when they use them all up. Second, employees who become stressed out can cause problems in their department. Likewise, high stress leads to health problems, especially for workers who step out for a smoke break two or more times a day. Medical issues usually cost employers hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Poor employee morale causes high employee turnover. Of course, employees who dislike their jobs and scorn their employer are more likely to quit. When workers quit their jobs, especially without notice, businesses suffer as production is greatly slowed or possibly halted. As a result, companies must spend money in advertising for replacement workers and training them in. The costs of employee turnover may be anywhere from 30% of an entry level employee’s annual salary to 400% of the salary of high-level worker.
How Employers Can Boost Employee Morale
If you feel your company makes no effort to build employee morale, you can take the lead by making the following suggestions to your supervisor:
1. Praise each employee for work well done: Remember employees are people too. When they do a good job, they need acknowledgement from their supervisor. If a worker makes a great deal of effort and never hears anything positive from his/her boss or if the boss fails to communicate altogether, the worker will feel that the boss doesn’t appreciate them. If an employee receives praise, they will know they’re doing the right thing and will be encouraged to continue working hard. Whenever possible, a supervisor must inform their workers of the results of their hard work. For example, they can announce the total amount in sales or the money one saved the company.
2. Encourage communication: Communication is one of the most important aspects of productive work and good employee relations. A supervisor must be calm and understanding and easy to communicate with. If two or more coworkers experience conflict amongst themselves, rather than have the workers fight out their problems, the boss should be notified and a solution must be rectified. Likewise, a boss must be willing to accept feedback. This can be done by a suggestions box as well. Periodic meetings should be held as necessary.
3. Keep workers informed about the employer: Workers like to know how the company they work for is doing. Hence, their supervisor must hold a periodic meeting to keep them aware. For example, a retailer can hold a monthly meeting informing employees about sales in the previous month or a fund raising agency can tell workers how much in donations were collected in total. Companies should tell their workers about goals they have set, why they’re important, and whether they have been met or not. Even if the business is not doing so well, workers like to know that too. If there are gaps in communication of a company’s performance, then gossip and rumors ensue. On the other hand, well informed workers can contribute ideas on how to improve operations.
4. Offer perks for good work performance: Production gets redundant after so long, especially when workers don’t know their work benefits their employer. As a result, employees tend to slack off. Not only must employees stay informed about their work performance, but be encouraged to improve it. Therefore, each department must set goals on what that unit wishes to accomplish for the week and reward all employees if the goals are met. Such rewards can be $25 gift certificates, a company paid lunch at a nice restaurant, or free tickets to a local event as a baseball game.
5. Make the workplace pleasant: Reporting to the same old drab office or warehouse setting day after day gets old. If the workplace looks run down and the company has no intention of sprucing things up, they are likely to lose interest in their jobs and just flat out, hate this place. A dirty break room is disgusting, especially if it lacks a clean refrigerator and has old, beat up microwaves that are seldom cleaned out Unkempt restrooms not only are a big turn-off, but an annoyance as well. Employees who are forced to tolerate these miserable conditions may conclude that either this company doesn’t care about them or can’t afford improvements because it isn’t doing all that well. Hence, they are likely to walk out the door soon.
Repainting the walls with bright, lively colors enhances the place greatly. Replacing worn out carpeting with new can make a big difference. Providing a sanitary break room and clean, well-stocked restrooms with no broken sinks and toilets enhance the appeal of the workplace as well. Decorating the place for upcoming events and holidays make employees feel at home, especially at Christmas time. Large companies often have murals on their walls, sky lights, and new upholstered couches.
If your workplace looks run down, dismal, or disgusting, by all means suggest to your supervisor or HR what improvements can be made. Even the smallest improvements can boost employee morale.
6. Offer training or opportunity for advancement: Employees like to acquire gainful skills that will enhance their careers or lead to advancement. The more skills a worker learns, the more empowered and fulfilled he/she feels. For example, a warehouse employee may want to learn to operate a forklift or an office employee may want to learn how to use a particular Microsoft application. Even those who lack computer skills may want to learn how to operate a computer. If there is a duty or function in your workplace that you would like to learn, let your supervisor know.
If you dislike your employer, before walking out the door, don’t be afraid to make suggestions on how to improve things. The workplace can be augmented in so many ways and need not cost the company a fortune. In the end, your supervisor will act more favorable towards you. Take the lead. Help boost employee morale.