You might have read a lot about how to improve employee morale in the workplace, the types of employee morale, and factors affecting employee morale. But how familiar are you with the actual concept of morale and the benefits of high employee morale to performance and productivity?
Employee morale describes the “overall outlook, attitude, satisfaction, and confidence that employees feel at work.” In more basic terms, employees with high levels of morale are happy employees — and companies with happy employees have been known to out-earn and outperform their competition. Clearly, morale is a huge business concern, and one we should prioritize daily. To further emphasize this, we have listed the seven major benefits of employee morale below.
1. High employee morale results in increased teamwork — With high employee morale comes heightened levels of job satisfaction and general feelings of wellbeing. As a result, individuals are more inclined to work together and collaborate as a well-functioning, cohesive unit. Employees with good levels of morale have a better outlook regarding their work. They also feel more secure in their role and invested in your company, making them motivated to work hard and accomplish more as a team. After all, content employees don’t want to jump ship; they want your company to thrive. They have a shared vision and know teamwork is the best way to ensure your organization’s long-term success.
2. Companies with high levels of employee morale have better retention — Happy employees want to remain at your company for the long haul. This is why companies with high levels of morale find their retention levels are greater. Retaining employees is important to your bottom line. The cost of high turnover can be overwhelming for a growing business — especially when you’re constantly trying to replace employees with particular and desirable skill sets. Employee satisfaction and retention rates are key performance indicators for business success. So it is worth your while to prioritize employee morale and keep hold of valued members of your team.
3. Good morale improves office relationships — When morale is high, employees tend to exhibit fewer negative behaviors and experience less workplace stress. This high morale ultimately results in improved workplace relationships between employees and with management. When employees have a better relationship with their managers, they feel more confident to ask for training and clarification on their goals and organizational objectives. This relationship can make all the difference in terms of engagement, performance, and productivity.
4. The higher the morale, the more productive the team — Unsurprisingly, when employees are positive about their work and enjoy their environment, they are much more productive and willing to put in discretionary effort. This fact is backed up by a huge body of research. According to a 2014 University of Warwick study, when people experience happiness-inducing activities their productivity spikes. In 2004, researchers Rath and Clifton found that employees were far more productive when they had more positive than negative exchanges at work. Furthermore, a Wharton Business School study confirmed a long-term link between happy companies and shareholder returns.
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5. Happier companies struggle less with absenteeism — Unsurprisingly, not all sick days are due to an actual legitimate illness. The truth is, sometimes employees decide to take a mental health day or call in sick because they can’t find the enthusiasm to turn up. They do this because they are unhappy with their role, the company, and what they do. A 2008 Gallup report found on average each unhappy employee takes 15 extra sick days per year. This absenteeism results in wasted time, money, and performance. With a little effort, companies can create effective performance management systems that are designed to elevate levels of morale, so employees are eager to turn up each day.
6. Greater morale results in greater attention to detail — Understandably, low morale often causes employees to stop caring about their jobs, which leads to more mistakes. This fact is true in every field but is especially obvious in medicine. According to research, doctors who are in a good mood make diagnoses quicker and more accurately than their unhappy colleagues. A further study from the University of Toronto revealed low moods could negatively impact how our brains process information. In a high-morale setting, on the other hand, employees tend to have higher attention to detail because they genuinely care about the outcome of a project.
7. Happy employees are more creative — When we’re happy, we can relax and let go of all the negative emotions and frustrations that restrict creative thought. Therefore, when companies have higher levels of morale, they notice their workforce becomes more innovative, solving complex problems in out-of-the-box ways. There is a whole host of science behind happiness and creativity. Most of it boils down to the fact that when we are stressed or feel a degree of fear, our “fight or flight” response kicks in. When this happens, our brains slow down to prepare the body for survival. Clearly, this is not a great recipe for creativity.
Thankfully there are plenty of ways to boost workplace morale. By making that extra bit of effort and implementing different strategies to help employees be happier with their workplace, you can stand to benefit in all of the ways above.