Definition: Employee Morale is all about the attitude, satisfaction and the purview of employees, about the organization when they were employed there. Generally, organizations with bad working conditions, environment and organizational culture may find low morale in their workers. It determines the employee’s enthusiasm, willingness and energy for working or absence of it.
This is because low morale gives birth to low productivity, absenteeism, low employee satisfaction, etc. In a nutshell, we could say that morale is an indicator of how content an employee is, in an organization. This will be reflected in their attitude towards work, organizational policies, management, seniors and subordinates.
Employee Morale is a blend of an employee’s feelings, expectations and outlook that contribute to the basic feeling of satisfaction. It is a mental state and enthusiasm that affects a person’s will to work, which affects the organizational and individual objectives.
Characteristics of Employee Morale
- Psychological Concept: Because it defines the mental state of an employee towards the organization, it is a psychological concept.
- Intangible: Morale is not a material thing, it is intangible. This means one cannot see or touch morale, but it can only be felt. Due to this reason, it is difficult to measure.
- Contagious: Just like a virus, morale is also contagious. Think of it this way, if an employee is not satisfied with the organizational policies and keeps on complaining about this with other employees as well. Then after a point of time, his colleagues will start thinking like that.
- Group Phenomenon: Morale is a combination of multiple feelings, attitudes, expectations, beliefs and outlooks.
- Long-term concept: Development and maintaining the morale of employees is not a one-day affair. It is a long-term concept and a continuous process.
- By product of motivation: Morale is the aftereffect of motivation and group relationships. It is a mental process, which when started, spreads throughout the entire organisation. Further, it develops a mood that results in a common attitude.
Types of Employee Morale
It is all about having awareness of one’s own expectations and meeting those expectations. This means that if we know what we actually need and how we can fulfil them, the morale is going to be high.
It refers to the overall tone of a group of people. Here, each member of the group contributes to the morale, which can either heighten the spirit of the entire team or lower the same.
High Morale is when the zest and willingness to work, of the employee is high. You should know that, just like good health is important for an individual, high morale is also necessary for the company. This is because it reflects the level of satisfaction among the employee along with their desire to continue working in that organization and willingness to reach the goals.
When there is high morale among employees, the grievances and complaints of workers is less. Also, there is clarity in goals. Plus, their relationship with the organization is also very strong.
Benefits of High Morale
- The loyalty of the employees towards the organization.
- High morale leads to high productivity
- Discipline is maintained, i.e. employees conform to the organizational rules and regulations voluntarily.
- Degree of interest of employees in the jobs and organization.
- Reduction in absenteeism and labour turnover.
- Increase in employee cooperation and coordination.
Low morale is the situation of mental unrest in an employee towards the organization. Due to this, he is not able to give his 100% to the work. Also, this will develop a persistent negative attitude. It may be reflected in their work, i.e. their performance and work quality declines. It acts like a silent killer of work performance and productivity.
An employee with low morale feels down and disengaged. Also, their work is not up to the mark. However, it is not easy to identify.
Measurement of Employee Morale
- Measurement is challenging: Employees generally hesitate to express their opinions in a brave or bold manner. As we have already said it is an intangible subject. That is why researchers need to combine different methods to measure the morale of employees.
- Observation: Managers can notice the difference in the employee’s behaviour through:
- Their attitude towards work
- Aggressive talk
- Willingness to work
- Enthusiasm etc.
However, it is not a very effective method, because the change in employee’s behaviour can be a result of other reasons also.
- Surveys: Surveys can be a good method to identify how the employee feels about the organization, colleagues, job, supervisors, and so forth. The management can collect responses from the employees using a questionnaire or interview.
- Records: Past records of absenteeism, turnover, grievances, strikes, etc. can be of great help to understand the level of employee morale.
- Suggestion box: Employees can offer suggestions, put forth their complaints, without mentioning their names, and post them in the suggestion box. The box is placed at a certain location in the office.
Factors Affecting Employee Morale
- Organization: When goals set by the company’s top executives are achievable and acceptable, the workers develop a positive attitude about the job and the organization as well. Also, when the organizational structure is clearly defined, the workers have complete knowledge of their duties and responsibilities. This also encourages people to work confidently.
- Leadership: A good leader influences the way in which his subordinates think. When the employees get fair treatment and, they get equitable rewards and recognition for good work, it has a very positive impact on employee morale. Employees feel connected when they work under a sympathetic, inspiring and caring leader, rather than one who acts like a dictator.
- Coworker: Coworkers can make any workplace heaven or hell. Think of a person who always talks negative points about the organisation. These people make the workplace hell for everyone.
- Nature of work: No one likes to do boring, repetitive, monotonous work. It not just reduces their creativity but also hampers their growth. People often like to work harder when the job is challenging and interesting. Also, when they get an appreciation for performing a challenging task, their morale automatically elevates.
- Work Environment: The environment of work plays a crucial role in developing particular thinking in the minds of the employees. A safe, clean, sophisticated, hygenic, and comfortable workplace will boost the morale of employees.
- Employee: The way an employee perceives himself in the organization also greatly influences the morale.
The company’s management can take these steps to improve employee morale:
- Fair and equitable remuneration to the employees with regard to the wages prevalent in the industry.
- Job security for the employees
- Treatment of the employees should be like resources and not tools. Management should invite employees to participate in important decision-making for the company so that they can feel connected and an important part of the organization.
- Job enrichment can also help in making the job more happening and interesting.
- Open communication can help the employees share their grievances with the management. the management can take steps to resolve them.
- Organizational structure should be such that the distance between management and workers should be minimum. This is because there is always distortion in communication when the distance between the lower-level worker and top management is too much.
- Appointment of employee counselors to handle the outcomes of poor employee morale such as labour turnover, absenteeism, and tardiness. They can guide the employees in their not only on their issues and complaints but also in their careers. In this way, the employees can get back on track promptly.
- Sound leadership is an add-on to all these steps. Top management should listen to the employees and their issues so that they can offer best practices. These practices can be related to grievance redressal, safety measures, welfare activities, compensation schemes, and so forth.
A word from Business Jargons
All in all, morale is the overall level of satisfaction that an employee derives from the job and its related environment. It influences the overall organizational climate. Or we could say that the term ‘morale’ describes the organizational climate as a whole, that is prevalent among the employees of that organization.