Employees are your biggest asset. As a group, their attitudes and feelings about your company and your workplace can have a significant impact on your bottom line. We’re talking about employee morale here, and there are some very good reasons to be talking about it and taking action to improve it.
Why Employee Morale Matters
Employee morale refers to the attitudes, opinions and outlook that employees have about your company. Assessing the morale of your workplace can be tricky. It’s often elusive to measure, but if it’s poor it can have a very negative impact on your entire business.
Low morale can be a major obstacle to achieving your organization’s goals. It negatively affects your company’s ability to compete in the market and it undermines many of the positive things your company may have going for it.
In practice, the reason it matters the most is because low morale typically leads to increased employee turnover and lower productivity. Both have a negative financial impact on your company.
Low morale can also be dangerous because it can spread. One person with low morale can pull down the morale of the rest of the team. This can lead to an unhappy and unproductive team.
In contrast, with high morale, employees are willing to go the extra mile for your company. They are more engaged and tend to be more creative when making suggestions and solving problems.
Recognize Low Morale
Usually, there are some telltale signs of low employee morale. Some of the things to look out for include:
- Frequent absences
- Poor work quality
- Interpersonal conflict
- Increased customer complaints
- Lower rankings in satisfaction surveys
- Missed deadlines
- Poor communication with management and the team
- More mistakes
4 Morale Boosters
Boosting morale takes time and a commitment from senior management. Usually, morale is influenced from the top down, so you (the business owner) need to be involved in setting the tone for your company. Some strategies for boosting workplace morale include:
- Promote work/life balance
These days it’s clear that helping employees achieve a good work/life balance is actually good for your company. Having employees tied to the workplace with no life outside of work can cause burnout. It’s actually more detrimental to your productivity because employees don’t have time to recharge and come back with fresh ideas and motivation.
One increasingly popular way to promote a good work/life balance is to provide flexible working hours or allow employees to work from home. What works for one employee may not work for another; being flexible and open to alternate working arrangements can mean a lot to employees.
Encourage employees to actually use their vacation time. Don’t let vacation time be carried over year after year enabling employees to skip taking an important break from work.
Most importantly, make sure to foster the expectation that employees don’t have to be “on” 24/7. E-mail shouldn’t be checked after hours. During the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone had to switch to remote work, many employees began working more than ever. Before the pandemic, work ended when you left your workplace. But as more and more employees began working from home, many found themselves answering e-mails and working long past regular working hours. This led to a higher instance of burnout as many employees felt they couldn’t get “away” from their work (because their home and office were one). This kind of mindset can be detrimental to the business.
- Provide supports for mental health
Remove the stigma around mental health. Train managers on mental health and how to recognize and support someone who is experiencing a mental health challenge.
Support employees with access to an employee and family assistance program (EFAP). An EFAP gives employees a single telephone number that they can use to get help, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The program includes free short-term counselling and lots of relevant, easy to read information and tools online. This way if an employee is feeling stress, anxiety or simply struggling with some of life’s many challenges, they have somewhere to turn to. Working through a mental health challenge with support can improve the employee’s workplace morale, and their outlook on life.
- Sponsor an employee health benefits plan
Providing your employees with coverage through a health benefits plan shows that you care. It demonstrates that you are willing to support their health, and that someone has their back.
Extended health benefits help employees improve their physical and mental health. Benefits like prescription drug coverage, paramedical coverage or vision care can all help improve the health of your employees. It’s difficult to have a positive attitude when you’re in pain or feeling poorly. When health issues are addressed, employees feel better about themselves and the world. This typically means better employee morale.
When sponsoring a plan, be sure to recognize that your employees are individuals with different needs. Choose a plan with built-in flexibility so that there are options that work for all your employees.
- Give them a LIFT
Boost morale by providing access to virtual fitness training like LIFT. LIFT encourages employees to pursue a healthier lifestyle, which in turn improves their overall health. In today’s world, so many services are available remotely that it makes perfect sense that personal training should be as well.
LIFT offers personalized workouts, access to coaches, live supervision, group lessons or one-on-one training. It is meant to support employees in reaching their personal fitness goals.
Because it is virtual, LIFT can fit into your employees’ schedules and their various lifestyles. It removes barriers such as travelling to the gym or feeling uncomfortable with visiting a gym.
Boosting morale can be done in many ways. One overarching concept when trying to improve morale is the need to clearly and effectively communicate with employees. Don’t leave employees in the dark or cause them to be the last to know about what is going on in the company. Communicate with them about the company’s goals, their employee benefits plan, changes coming to the organization and everything else too. Employees will be happier and more engaged if they know what is going on.
Good Advice is Key
Is the morale at your organization optimal? Do your employee benefits effectively support employees in order to boost morale? If not, it’s time to make some changes. Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone or in-person or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.