Common sense isn't all that common, even among company leaders and owners. It just makes sense to treat employees with respect and value their efforts if you want a company to succeed. After all, without employees, the work wouldn't get done. That's exactly why workplace morale can drive a company or organization to success -- or be the cause of its failure. Employee morale can feed and fuel job satisfaction or sow and grow discontent. When workplace morale is at its lowest, some people don't even bother to show up.
Morale may sound like a touchy-feely intangible topic to some employers, but when leaders continue to be indifferent about its effects at work, it can have harmful consequences. Its definition changes with time, but generally, good workplace morale fosters job satisfaction and the desire of employees to work together to achieve company or organizational goals. Workplace morale acts as a lynch pin in a company's ability to be successful or not. You might even say that workplace morale is similar to self-esteem in that it represents a company's collective subconscious regard for itself.
A report by Circadian, a business that offers performance and safety solutions to companies globally, explains that absenteeism kills a company's bottom line because it costs employers billions of dollars per year in lost wages, productivity, poor quality products and the added work necessary to manage it. When people have unscheduled absences from work as a result of illness or taking sick days, the other employees have to step up to the plate and do coworkers' jobs. Some work, by default, just doesn't get done. The report further details that direct and indirect expenses conservatively cost businesses and organizations about $2,700 for each salaried worker, and up to $3,600 for each hourly employee per year.
Effects of Low Morale
When employee morale is low because of poor leadership and management, poor or little communication, company layoffs or restructures, difficult coworkers, hostile work environments, lack of respect for diversity among coworkers, heavy workloads, no incentive or reward programs, no benefits or simply a bad attitude on the part of management toward its workers, the company suffers as a whole. Employees with poor morale find ways to do as little work as they can; sometimes they sabotage productivity or just don't bother to come in, using illness or sick days as excuses.
Effects of High Morale
When workplace morale is high, employees enjoy coming to work. They feel empowered and find a sense of belonging. Leaders who value their employees instill in them a purpose in life that adds value and motivates them to do their best. Companies that recognize the importance of workplace morale create a clean, comfortable, healthy, safe and welcoming work environment. They provide good benefits and employee incentives, and take the time to counsel employees on career paths and options to keep them engaged with the company. High workplace morale also results in less absenteeism, employee stress-related sicknesses and keeps people motivated to show up.
- Ethics Institute: Bad Morale -- The Facts Now Known
- Workforce Institute: Absenteeism the Bottom Line Killer
- The American Psychological Association: Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program Fact Sheet
- Mindtools: Rebuilding Morale
- Health 4 Work Adviceline: Cutting Sickness Absence and Presenteeism – Making Workplaces Healthier
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