Employees with high morale are engaged, motivated and efficient. They willingly put in more hours and are more productive on the job. Conversely, employees with low morale are less engaged and suffer from increased rates of depression and heart disease, according to the American Psychological Association.
Employees who enjoy a positive work-life balance and perceive genuine concern for their welfare by the company tend to have high morale. The end result for an employer is stronger employee retention, the capability to develop leadership from within and sustainably high organizational performance. Committing to building and maintaining high morale is one of the smartest managerial moves you can make for a stronger team and workplace.
Consider these facts about the importance of morale:
Employees who think they have a positive work-life balance are "more productive and dedicated by 21% than those who don't think so." Forbes
Employees who like their jobs are "twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall — reporting strong relationships, effective money management, good health and engagement in their communities — as those who are disengaged and unhappy at work." APA
Roughly four in five U.S. workers gave their jobs' day-to-day tasks, work-life balance, company morale and benefits packages a letter grade of B-. Poor communication and a lack of transparency were among the reasons cited. HR Dive
How Strong Morale Is Developed
Building morale begins with making the right hires at every level of the organization. Employees who bring a can-do attitude, a collaborative mindset, strong communication skills and the ability to do their jobs effectively are indispensable, especially at the management level.
Employees must also enjoy a satisfactory work-life balance, including the ability to work flexible schedules as necessary. They must feel their work is meaningful, their voices are valued and their career aspirations within the organization are transparent and achievable. Of course, talented employees with options also want strong compensation and employee benefits packages.
Benefits of High Morale
Productivity: A recent study compared the productivity of workers in Greece who worked an average of 42 hours per week with German workers who averaged 28 hours per week and had much higher morale, due largely to the reasonable work hours, and found that the Germans were more productive by 70%. Higher productivity leads to greater promotions from within, as well, which correlates with stronger organizational performance over time.
Cost-Effectiveness: Paid sick leave days cost U.S. employers $160 billion dollars in revenue per year. Higher morale leads to better physical and psychological health, resulting in employees taking far fewer sick days. Employees with manageable workloads feel less overwhelmed and have time to develop professional relationships essential to their well-being.
Collaboration: A positive feeling among workers results in feelings of cohesion and teamwork. Employees with higher morale happily support one another in projects and show willingness to work together toward common goals.
Retention: Happier employees stay with their firms longer than unhappy employees. One study showed that 25% of workers who felt they had no support for a positive work-life balance planned to quit within two years, compared to only 17% who felt they had support. Flexible work plans, correlated strongly to high morale, provided an 89% lift in retention, according to another study cited by Forbes. Considering that the median cost of employee turnover is 21% of annual salary for most positions, the retention benefit alone justifies an organizational commitment to high morale.
Fostering high employee morale is just one of many effective management practices integrated into Southern Oregon University's online MBA curriculum. Earning your MBA online at SOU gives you the opportunity to gain new managerial skills, enhance your business expertise and propel your career in a new direction.
Learn more about SOU's online MBA program.
Sources:HR Dive: Most Employees Would Grade Their Jobs a B-
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