Employee morale, by definition, is the overall outlook, satisfaction, and confidence that employees feel towards their job. It’s a complex concept that still puzzles business leaders today. Yet, it remains to be one of the most important aspects of company management.
Most employers see low employee morale as the main issue; when in reality, it’s just one of the many results of bigger organizational problems.
So, before we delve on the ways to improve employees’ well-being, let’s first know the possible causes of low employee morale within the workplace.
Causes of Low Employee Morale
- Lack of leadership and collaboration
- Unequal opportunities for pay and promotion
- Lack of recognition and poor compensation
- Closed communication
- Poor employee treatment
- Lack of work-life balance
- Company’s rejection of innovation
- Lack of purpose and challenge
- Negative colleagues
- Personal problems
- High turnover rate
These factors cause employee-employer disconnect and make unhealthy work environments. Stress breeds in workplaces where dishonesty, inequality, and inconsideration thrive. If these factors were left unresolved, it can be detrimental to employee morale and performance. (READ: 6 Common Employee Performance Problems & How to Solve Them)
6 Ways To Boost Employee Morale
1. Assess what boosts your employees’ morale.
Each organization employs different sets of people, with different personalities and different needs. Some employees get fulfillment through quantifiable accomplishments; some through the seamless work process. Bottom line: you should be able to streamline work responsibilities based on your people’s talents and expertise.
Get to know your employees. Identify the kind of benefits and incentives that will keep them inspired. You may also issue anonymous suggestion forms so they can feel like they are being heard. Doing so also helps you get to a clearer standpoint about what drives each of your employees to strive better.
2. Remember that appreciation has more impact than monetary rewards.
In Jobstreet Philippines’ Job Satisfaction Report, Filipino employees whose job roles are already at supervisory levels say that pleasant relationship with their colleagues and bosses are the primary drivers of job satisfaction. High employee morale also equates to longer tenure in their jobs.
We are creatures of emotions and we value appreciation. A lot of employees look into intangible benefits that include management support, respect, and recognition. These things often mean well more than anything else for employees. A simple “Good job!” or “Thank you for your hard work!” goes a long way to boosting an employee’s morale.
3. Conduct group ‘stay interviews’ with loyal employees.
You already know the importance of regularly checking in with your employees. But usual check-up conversations, no matter how well-intended, can eventually lose its meaning. “How are you doing?” can easily be met with, “Everything is okay.” And in reality, most conversations already stop there.
Conducting ‘stay interviews’ in groups is an opportunity to build trust and openness with your employees. Make sure that your most engaged and tenured employees are there as they will have a great positive influence to others during the stay interview. It allows employers to know what keeps employees motivated at work, assess the degree of employee satisfaction, and deal with current concerns (if there’s any).
4. Compensate based on standard market value.
In a study conducted by multinational consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, low pay was named as the top cause of stress by employees in the Asia-Pacific region. It’s important that your employees are well-compensated for the job roles they fulfill in your organization.
When cash is no longer an effective employee morale booster, make rewards more meaningful for your employees. Develop an effective benefits and rewards program. Recognize their performance and hard work when they deserve it. Offer incentives that will allow them to evolve into the type of professionals they want to be. (READ: Rewards & Recognition That Fit The Philippine Culture)
5. Develop programs that promote work-life balance.
Other Asian cultures like the Japanese and Chinese work extremely long hours and take a little vacation during the year. But in the Philippines, that is not the case.
Filipinos value work-life balance more than anyone in SouthEast Asia. Our culture values time with family and friends. Of course, workload management is part of an employee’s job. But as a leader, one way to boost employee’s morale is to encourage them to have a life outside the office. Some of the common practices done by companies in the Philippines to promote work-life balance include the following:
- No overtime policy
- Higher no. of leaves READ: Department of Labor and Employment - Leave Policy
6. Give them a sense of growth.
When leaders push employees to grow and go beyond their comfort zones, employees feel challenged to do better at their jobs. Companies like Shell get positive employee feedback for the ‘great career development opportunities’ and ‘good learning experience’ they give to their people.
Don’t just discuss opportunities for growth during the recruitment process. Be clear about an employee’s promotion tracks. Let them understand what needs to be done in order to get to their goal. And lead them well in that direction.
Building positive employee morale takes time and commitment. Even the most successful brands believe that taking care of their employees’ well-being is an essential part of their company’s growth. Employees who feel that they are valued and appreciated are more likely to give their best and contribute to a great working environment.
However, what employees should also keep in mind is that it’s not always going to be about the efforts of the organizations they belong in. A key factor in building positive employee morale comes from within. Employees have a role to play in terms of toughening up and developing a positive outlook towards their job.