The Importance of Employee Morale
Employee morale is 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 professional needs at work, employee morale is positive or high (Young, 2017). Employees who do not feel confident or appreciated in their work environment have a negative effect which can cost a company thousands of dollars. Proponents of the study of workplace’s morale and how it affects productivity like Alam (2015) considered moral as being an integral part that determines the employees’ willingness to work. At its lowest form, the concept of morale entails the human behavior’s expression of an attitude that is necessary for the organization to meet its set goals, particularly in profit making. Scholars and researchers have delved into the concept of morale and have come up with the social, the classical and the psychological approaches of morale. The concept has been important in determining the employee retention, productivity, and satisfaction in the work environment.
For morale to be boosted in the work environment, it is necessary for the managers and the human resource department to understand the concepts of high versus low morale and the difference between the individual and group morale. Mc Parland was an important theorist who scrutinized the real meanings behind the high and the low morale. He considered high morale as existing when the workers’ attitudes are favorable to boost the attainment of an individual or groups’ objectives (McParland, 2011). On the other hand, low morale is behind the inhibition of willingness to engage in activities that enable an organization to meet its goals. A high morale is synonymous with the meaning held by words like enthusiasm, loyalty, and zeal. Low morale is denoted by words like apathy, laziness, bickering, pessimism and the lack of interest. Individual morale is a personal attitude towards work while a group morale is interrelated and does not have to be necessarily identical.
Various studies carried out on the benefits of employees’ morale have revealed that it has a direct impact on the degree of motivation (Brayfield & Crockett, 1995). Motivation and morale are two intricately intertwined concepts that should be considered as a single entity. Motivation refers to the activity of inspiring people, in this context, the work environment. With a high morale, there are higher chances that workers will try to uplift others emotionally to meet the requirements of production. Motivation is accompanied with an inner feeling which pushes a worker to meet both satisfying and unsatisfying demands. Many times, motivation is facilitated by monetary and non-monetary incentives which have a positive impact on the ability for the workers to cooperate willingly. While motivation help to mobilize the energy required for work, morale determines the mobilization of possible sentiments. Managers and supervisors can, therefore, borrow important lessons from the role of morale on motivation and provide a conducive environment where these elements can thrive.
Morale affects the level of productivity in an organization. The attitude of workers is often reflected through their morale and a need, therefore, arise to scrutinize the effect on productivity. Various studies on the relationship between the morale and productivity have proven that there is no direct relationship (Kahn & Katz, 1960). A high morale can lead to increased productivity, but at the same time, production can be on the decline. It can, therefore, be argued that although a high morale results to increased productivity, the level of output tend to differ. If morale was to be quantified, 10 percent of morale could not necessarily lead to 10 percent increase in the productivity level.
The area of the effects of morale on productivity is the most researched and has a rich content to inform management decisions in an organization. Among the areas that are thoroughly researched include the low productivity-high morale, high productivity high morale, low-productivity low morale and high productivity-low morale. Whenever workers are satisfied with the job they are doing, and the high productivity-high morale takes place in an organization. Workers thus try to achieve their standards of performance which eventually result in the increase in the production level. Low productivity-high morale happens when an employee is satisfied and contented with the existing working conditions that triggering a spirit of high morale. The blame here can be attributed to the presence of obsolete technology, supervisory roles that are not professionally guided, and defective materials like the office machines that are in use. High productivity-low morale, the administration can use stricter supervision rules that outline the various forms of negative sanctions that follow low productivity. Low productivity-low morale happens when there is the absence of coordination between factors of combination and higher morale.
The four types of relationships reveal that the relationship between productivity and morale is complex. However, organizations that are informed and aware of the existence of these for types of relationships can fairly predict the reasons behind the increase or the decline of productivity in relation to the employees’ morale. Besides, the relationship between the two concepts is fairly unpredictable because they differ from one organization to the other. Morale further gives a reflection of the employees’ attitude which affects the productivity level. Because it is impossible to express all elements of the attitude when put into practice, then morale cannot be said to be a true indicator of productivity (Young, 2017). Productivity, therefore, becomes a function of morale, attitudes, individual and organizational factors.
High morale is also associated with the reduction in employees’ absenteeism. Motivated workers in any organization will avoid missing work as opposed to the disengaged employees. Absenteeism is associated with the decline in the productivity level which cost companies a great loss. In organizations where task are carried out collectively in groups, attendance increases the chances of forming positive relationships with other group members which help in fostering a positive relationship with other workers. The interactions can also cause a high morale among the workers hence strengthening teamwork and the achievement of the shared vision.
A high morale in the workplace is also associated with positive teamwork. Without a good morale, workers cannot effectively collaborate with others. In such a situation, they may end up failing to establish the right working relationship that is grounded on cooperation. Workers in an environment that has a high morale tend to be more comfortable and always willing to collectively work together to meet the organization’s mission and vision. A high morale is also associated with increased self-esteem and a higher degree of satisfaction. Whenever employees are appreciated for their good work, they tend to strive towards repeating the same experience because of the rewards that act as positive reinforcers. People seek jobs in the companies that have policies which contribute positively towards boosting their self-esteem.
Morale is also associated with increasing the creativity in the workplace. Whenever the morale is high, workers tend to be more creative and less indolent. Creativity can be at the personal of or group level where brainstorming is an important activity. Whenever a problem is tabled in a platform with people who have a high morale, there are myriads of possible workable solutions that are arrived at. The same achievement cannot be realized when the morale is kept low by the various factors at the workplace that do not encourage the employees’ working spirit. Studies have also shown that high morale reduces the number of off-days that the workers take (McParland, 2011). Employees become happy with the working environment and do not want to miss office even during their off days. They tend to feel more happy and comfortable working due to the various benefits that accrue. High morale is also associated with the ability to pay attention to detail. With a low morale, workers tend to laid back and easily distracted when taking details. The result of this is the slow rate of work and committing many mistakes that are avoidable.
Other researches have shown that boosting the employees’ morale creates a safer working environment (McParland, 2011). The safety is attributed to the detailed attention to laid out instruction like running machinery. Been keen, cautious and paying details to the rules and guidelines of work thus reduces chances of getting injuries from failure and malfunctioning of machines. Besides the increased productivity, finer studies have also found out that a high morale is responsible for the increased quality of work. Workers who feel that their needs are addressed to not just execute task with the required degree of commitment. They tend to focus more on how the quality of work can be improved, an activity that benefits the organization in the long run.
Conclusively, it has become paramount for organizations to look for various ways in which they can boost the morale of the employees. Failure to have these measures in place increases the rate of turnover, which negatively affects the productivity level. Employees who have their morale boosted either through monetary or non-monetary incentives cannot afford to lose their position in companies that show care for their affairs and benefits. Productivity and morale relationship is one of the areas that are deeply researched, and the results have shown that a high morale does not necessary lead to high productivity. Managers and human resource departments, therefore, ought to look into the issue and come with policies that ensure a high productivity whenever the morale is boosted. Besides these advantages, boosting the morale makes the constructive social institutions within a given company for thriving. The social institutions ensure that workers get to know each other more and gear their effects towards the achievement of the collective goals. Organizations should, therefore, ensure that a thorough research is done to find out all the possible means to boost the employees’ morale and seek possible ways to improve the existing measures which make employees happy, hence reducing the rate of turnover.