Employee morale describes the overall outlook, attitude, satisfaction, and confidence that employees feel at work. When employees are positive about their work environment and believe that they can meet their most important career and vocational needs, employee morale is positive or high.
Like employee motivation, you can’t give an employee positive morale. As an employer, though, you do control large components of the environment in which employees work each day. Consequently, you are a powerful contributor to whether an employee’s morale is positive or negative.
Portions of the environment that you control that have an impact on employee morale include things like the effectiveness of your managers, the quality of manager's interaction with employees, and the way employees interact with each other on a day-to-day basis.
You hold the cards to creating the environment or culture in which these positive factors are valued. For starters, it's as simple as rewarding and recognizing the managers who best display the characteristics you want to see in their interactions with employees.
Contributors to Positive Employee Morale
When employees have confidence in the capability of their company leadership, they tend to have positive morale. When they share a vision for where the company is headed and are positive about the direction, employees also exhibit high morale.
Feeling part of the goals that are bigger than themselves (and their job) contributes significantly to positive employee morale. Many employees want to feel as if they are part of something important and contributing to success for the greater good is a real morale booster. A deep focus on serving the needs of customers also promotes positive employee morale.
Communication is another significant factor in positive employee morale. Employees want to feel that they are privy to the important information about their company, their customers, and their products. They also need current information so that the decisions they make are congruent with their success in the company.
The interaction of employees with their immediate manager and coworkers plays a role in employee morale. Effective, harmonious interpersonal relationships bolster employee morale and make employees feel that going to work is a worthwhile endeavor in addition to collecting a paycheck.
The relationship with their immediate manager and their communication and interaction with the senior managers are also significant. Employees want to feel as if they are valued equally with other employees and held in serious regard by the senior team of leaders.
Positive Employee Morale Detractors
When employees dislike their manager and compete with co-workers for attention and appreciation, morale is generally low. If employees lack confidence in the company’s leadership and direction, morale will also be affected. When an employee is unsure what is expected of them (and hence experience a lack of accomplishment) morale is low.
Steps to Improve Employee Morale
Factors that can contribute to positive employee morale include the following:
- Providing reasonable, supportive management and leadership personnel who have integrity and will treat employees fairly and consistently. Avoid favoritism.
- Treating employees with respect.
- Treating employees as if they are one of your organization’s most significant resources
- Providing regular employee recognition.
- Taking actions that empower employees so they can make decisions about their jobs.
- Offering open and regular communication about issues important to employees.
- Providing feedback and coaching.
- Offering above industry-average benefits and compensation.
- Giving employees the opportunity to develop their professional skills and their careers.
- Providing employee perks and company activities.
You can measure your organization's success, in part, by measuring employee satisfaction. Building positive employee morale is not difficult; it just takes desire, time, and commitment on the part of management and the organization.