Just How Important is Employee Morale?
One thing that is often overlooked but can have a massive impact on your business is employee morale. If your employees are not happy, then they will feel less inclined to work hard and deliver for your business.
Low morale can impact many different areas of your business. The obvious one is that productivity will be lower in a less driven workforce, meaning lower output and smaller turnover. But there are other, less obvious areas that are affected by poor morale. You are more likely to have a higher staff turnover which will lead to higher recruitment costs and further loss of productivity if roles are left unfilled for long periods of time. Your business could also suffer from a poor image – never underestimate the negative PR effect of a disgruntled or unhappy employee telling all their friends what a bad place your company is to work.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of strategies you can implement that can have a meaningful and measurable impact on the morale of your employees. Here are six of the simplest strategies for improving morale in your business.
1. Colleague reward scheme
Think about introducing a scheme where colleagues can nominate each other for demonstrating excellent performance or behaviour. Not only will this have an impact on morale but it is also an excellent way to share good practice and inspirational behaviour. A great way to make colleagues feel even more involved in this process is to let them pick the winner from a shortlist, either by open vote or by nominating a group of colleagues to be the voting panel.
2. Workplace conditions
Take a look around your business. Visually, is it a nice place to work? Does it have all the facilities that employees need or want? Everyone will feel more positive and engaged about their work environment if it is pleasant, clean and attractive.
A huge part of an employee’s morale is dictated by the management style displayed in a business – is your management team treating your staff the way you think they should be treated? From the employee’s point of view, if their manager or team leader is a little rude, shouts a lot or simply never talks to anyone, does that make for a good working atmosphere? If you think your team leaders or managers need it, consider some employee engagement training to show them how important and influential their behaviour can be to the workplace atmosphere.
Offering an incentive can be as simple as buying cakes for everyone at the end of the week or letting people go home early if a major target is met. These rewards do not cost much in the grand scheme of the business and can lift spirits in the workplace. Why not ask your team what sort of thing they would value as an incentive? You might be surprised at what ideas they come up with! But be careful when thinking about setting incentives – there is a very fine line between incentivising people and pressurising them. Fall into the trap of setting your target too high and you’ll end up with an overworked, over-stressed and very unhappy team.
5. Ideas box
This is a very low-tech approach, but one that can often deliver great ideas. From the employee’s point of view, seeing an idea that has originated at ‘shop floor’ level being taken on and implemented can have a big positive impact. It makes people feel that they genuinely do have a voice and a part to play in improving the way the business is run. And you can reward really great suggestions by linking this into a reward scheme.
6. Remember to say thank you
The final suggestion to improve team morale is the simplest, cheapest and easiest to implement. Always remember to say thank you. Your staff will instantly feel more valued, recognised and appreciated if you remember to say thank you to them for a job well done.
Many improvement programmes fail because they run out of steam after the initial excitement, leaving your staff probably feeling even lower in the morale stakes than when you started! Don’t over promise and under deliver – make sure that what you are committing to do will get done.
Resolving your morale problems will make a huge difference to your company – not only will you see your turnover improve, but your business will also get a reputation as being a great place to work, which in turn will attract better potential employees. It’s well worth investing some time and effort in this important workplace issue, for everyone’s benefit.
Georgina Stamp works in the interim management industry for Marble Hill Partners. Georgina helps to analyse the skills of executive candidates including that of managing employee morale in the workplace.