What Is Employee Morale and How to Boost It in the Workplace

Updated 11 October 2022

Employee morale is a way of explaining the productivity, spirit and emotions of employees within a workplace. Typically, boosting morale is important for a company's culture, reputation and overall profitability. Learning about team morale may help you understand it and improve it in the workplace. In this article, we define what morale is, discuss the benefits of boosting it and explain how to improve it in the workplace.

What is employee morale?

The term employee morale describes an employee's attitude and level of satisfaction with their job and the organisation that employs them. Employees who are happy, engaged and inspired by their job are likely to have high morale. Under-stimulated employees or those who feel dissatisfied with their workload or status within the organisation may have low morale. High morale can encourage employees to collaborate and work effectively. Other benefits of high levels of morale are:

  • Increased staff retention and lower turnover rate

  • Improved motivation

  • Improved attitude of staff members

  • Improved communication between colleagues and management

  • Improved productivity and quality of work, resulting in higher profitability for the company

  • Increased collaboration between team members, often resulting in new ideas that can improve workplace operational procedures

Many factors can affect morale in the workplace. These can include an employee's relationship with their manager and also their level of support, job security, access to promotions and working conditions.

Related: What Are the Most Satisfying Jobs? (With Average Salaries)

How to improve morale in the workplace

Here are 10 tips for boosting morale and job satisfaction in the workplace:

1. Encourage open communication in the workplace

If your team members ever feel their morale waning, it may be beneficial for employees to approach their manager immediately and discuss this challenge. This can help to diffuse any minor issues and keep the workplace feeling like a positive, collaborative environment. If you work in a management role, try to encourage an open-door policy between team members to promote a more collaborative workplace. Regular performance reviews or team meetings can also help foster open communication.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

2. Monitor the organisation's current leadership style

Being a leader requires an understanding of team dynamics and employee morale, and the training of managers may reflect this. Workplace managers directly affect employees' job satisfaction through the direction, support and expectations that they place on them. A good manager may help improve retention rates and boost overall morale.

If you're a manager, educate the leaders in the workplace on different leadership models and explain how to give feedback to colleagues and maintain positive communication. Check-in with other managers regularly to see if they're following the organisation's processes, and ask their teams for feedback on their management style. This can help improve leadership methods across teams.

3. Recognise and reward employees

Being recognised and praised for your hard work can uplift and motivate you to exceed your targets. Implementing a few strategies to show recognition in the workplace can help boost team morale. For example, you might offer a bonus or voucher for hitting certain metrics, which might allow employees to motivate each other to reach these targets. You could also organise an event to celebrate your team's hard work. Sometimes, even telling your colleagues that you appreciate them and their efforts can improve their job satisfaction.

Related: 8 Employee Recognition Ideas for the Workplace (With Tips)

4. Ensure workloads are appropriate and fair

A great hiring manager places employees in roles that are appropriate for their skill set, schedule and experience. For example, a lawyer with 10 years of experience has a different workload and set of responsibilities than a new graduate or law student working part-time around their studies. Making sure that everybody's assigned duties are appropriate to them is one of the simplest ways to maintain productivity and reach deadlines. If there's a disparity in your current allotment of work, look at hiring additional staff and delegating tasks to disperse the load more evenly.

In addition, teams that have disproportionately large workloads may find themselves doing overtime regularly, which can cause poor workplace morale. Giving employees more autonomy for their own resource allocation and setting priorities is advantageous to their overall success.

Related: How to Set Personal Boundaries at Work (And How They Help)

5. Offer training for personal development and practical skills

When a new employee starts work, you can boost satisfaction from the beginning by providing a comprehensive induction and training process. This may help them feel more comfortable and supported in their work. Likewise, continued training for existing employees helps them improve their professional hard and soft skills, which may allow them to feel that they're progressing in their careers. An effective training and development system can be mutually beneficial for employees and the organisation and can improve the overall workplace culture.

Related: 9 Personal Development Goals and How to Achieve Them

6. Evaluate levels of satisfaction

There are several ways to monitor employees' overall morale and job satisfaction. This includes organising a staff morale survey, an anonymous review system, an employee counselling program and exit interviews. Taking into consideration the feedback received from these actions can give you a better idea of the general attitude of your team members and ways that you can help to improve their job satisfaction. When results display a sudden drop in group morale, you can work with leaders to identify the issue and resolve it.

Related: Employee Engagement (Definition, Importance and Methods)

7. Promote overall well-being

Work-life balance is important for everyone, so focusing on your team's mental and physical well-being can have a positive effect on their happiness and overall productivity at work. You might achieve this by setting up an employee assistance program, offering paid mental health days off, creating an organisation sports team, offering discounts for gyms or healthcare services or encouraging participation in events centred around mental health. This can be especially effective in office jobs, where employees are sedentary for most of the day, or in monotonous jobs where the employee's daily tasks may offer limited stimulation.

Related: How to Request a Mental Health Day

8. Affirm employees' job security

Job security can bring confidence to employees in their role, reduce turnover rates, increase engagement and improve morale. Employees may feel more productive knowing the organisation has committed to retaining their employment. They may be able to enjoy a greater work-life balance knowing that their role in the organisation is safe.

Creating a growth plan with your team can help them feel more secure and that they're moving towards more financial gains and greater responsibility if they stay in their role. Scheduling regular meetings with employees to create a dialogue can also be a useful way to keep team members feeling confident in their role within the organisation.

9. Provide appropriate tools and software

Try to use up-to-date software and tools to create a productive work environment for employees. Ensure you're regularly looking at any recurring technical issues that arise and fixing them as soon as possible. Encourage team members to suggest new tools for the organisation and then research them to see if they're worth the investment. Implementing new processes or programs that help to make work tasks more efficient can help to make employees more productive, boosting their morale and the company's profitability at the same time.

10. Be open to feedback and fix problems regularly

Above all, great organisation culture comes from being adaptable and accommodating to your team members. Being open to feedback is crucial to continue developing an organisation, even if you already consider the organisation culture to be positive. Every team member has different working styles, needs and strengths, and being cooperative in modifying work practices can help the organisation be accessible to everyone. If any sort of problem arises, management fixing it quickly and efficiently may help show your team that the organisation has their best interests in mind.

Related: The Importance of Positive Feedback and How To Deliver It To Others

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