Understanding Your Company Morale
A company’s morale is the outlook, attitude and general satisfaction employees feel at work. It is a state of mind that involves your staff’s perception of their role, work environment, and the company. Whether morale is high or low, it has a profound and far-reaching effect on the entire organization.
The importance of boosting your staff’s morale
Traditional managers have historically viewed morale as intangible and thus, not a critical business objective. However, studies have shown that it has a direct and measurable effect on productivity and profits — two things that can and will impact future success.
In addition, high morale is directly tied to engagement, and research has shown that engaged companies consistently outperform their less-engaged competitors in profits, customer ratings and retention.
The data is clear: companies in all industries depend on their employees to succeed. If yours have a poor attitude, their commitment and motivation will decline, turnover rates will spike, and productivity will inevitably plummet.
What are the signs of low company morale?
Low morale can be elusive, with many organizations only noticing it once the problem has become so pervasive that it’s affecting retention, productivity, and outcomes. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the signs of low company morale early, as acting proactively may minimize its effects. Here’s what to look for:
Abnormally high turnover rates
If employees are leaving the company in droves, or quitting after just a few months, it’s a sign of many organizational problems — one of which is low morale.
Increasingly negative attitudes
An attitude change is a visible sign of low morale. If you notice increased negativity, diminished commitment and declining cooperation among certain team members, consider it a red flag.
It doesn’t take long for a burgeoning morale problem to directly affect the quality of work your team is able to produce. At that point, you may notice missed deadlines, an increase in mistakes and a decline in service levels.
Lack of initiative
Are your all-star performers suddenly taking less initiative? Do they appear to be going through the motions, rather than taking an active and eager lead? If your staff isn’t taking ownership or creatively solving problems, it’s a sign that they aren’t sufficiently motivated.
How to measure your staff’s morale
In most companies, there are multiple causes of low morale — job insecurity, vague or nonexistent career development opportunities, a lack of fair compensation and disappearing benefits, just to name a few. However, we advise against relying on gut instincts and anecdotal evidence when addressing a potential morale problem. Instead, the goal is to obtain definitive, measurable data that tells you exactly what’s going on with your employees — and how to fix it.
The best way to reveal low morale is through the use of surveys, like the industry-leading, benchmarked surveys CultureIQ is known for. They allow you to accurately measure your staff’s engagement levels, which provides invaluable insight into their morale and outlook.
The most effective surveys are those that are customized to your company because they take into account your unique culture, industry and objectives. As a starting point, we recommend focusing on the following five factors that can affect morale:
Overall workplace satisfaction
Do you know what is expected of you at work? Do you feel that your job is important? Do you have the tools and support you need to be successful? These questions can provide basic insight into how your employees feel at work each day.
Do you have a best friend at work? Are your co-workers committed to doing quality work? Do your colleagues inspire you to do your best? Many studies have found that relationships at work are tied to healthy engagement levels and high morale.
Happiness and fulfillment
Studies consistently show that happy employees are productive employees, so it’s important to measure your staff’s overall happiness and fulfillment levels. Consider asking the following: On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you about coming to work each morning? How often do you feel happy at work? Do you view the office as a fun environment?
Attaining a work-life balance is one of the top sources of workplace stress for employees, which can lead to morale problems. Asking questions about your staff’s quantity of work, forfeited vacation time, and perceived ability to safely take time off can reveal issues in this area.
70 percent of employees foresee a massive improvement in motivation and morale if managers demonstrated their gratitude more.
To perform their best, employees need to be motivated. In most cases, motivation is directly tied to interactions with your company’s leadership and opportunities for growth. Consider asking the following questions: Do your job duties allow you to acquire new skills and grow as a professional? In the last week, have you been recognized for your efforts or outcomes? Does your supervisor appear to care about you as a person?
Once you have collected responses from your staff and analyzed the results, you should have a very clear picture of what’s going on with your company’s morale — along with the steps you’ll need to take to turn things around.
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Creative company morale boosters
Company morale rarely improves on its own. Rather, it requires a concerted effort from the leadership team. The first step is the survey. In addition to revealing invaluable information about potential morale problems, it shows employees that you care about their experiences at work.
From there, you will need to take action based on your survey results. For example, if your staff’s responses indicate that their work-life balance is suffering, you might consider implementing a policy to ensure that employees take advantage of paid time off. Or, you could offer increased schedule flexibility and opportunities to work remotely so your staff can spend less time on their commute and more time with their families.
Depending on the current climate at your organization, additional creative company morale boosters may include:
- Plan company parties during business hours to encourage camaraderie
- Develop transparent career paths so employees know how to get ahead
- Encourage employees to step away from their desks for a genuine lunch break
- Publicly praise employees for outstanding effort and professional successes
- Recognize your staff’s personal milestones and challenges
- Celebrate work anniversaries
- Offer meaningful perks, like paying for or subsidizing transportation, technology, gym memberships, and childcare.
- Allow employees to work from home several days a month
- Offer free professional development programs and tuition reimbursement
- Give your employees a paid day off for their birthday
We also recommend asking survey questions about morale boosters so your staff can request the perks, benefits and improvements that are most important to them.
How CultureIQ can help
To improve your company morale quickly and effectively, you need targeted surveys and strategic action tailored to your staff. At CultureIQ, we specialize in walking companies through this entire process and ensuring that they create the precise changes their employees need.
Our seasoned strategy team will guide you through creating your survey with questions designed exclusively for your staff. Once the responses are in, we will analyze the results to obtain measurable data and help you implement sustainable change that improves morale (and consequently productivity and tangible business outcomes) throughout the organization.
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