When there’s high employee morale, it seems like there’s nothing your team can’t accomplish. Tasks are done before or right on time, work quality is stellar, and your employees are having fun and have a positive outlook on their everyday work.
In contrast, with low employee morale, goals aren’t reached, work output quality suffers, and motivating your team can feel like an uphill battle. As an added challenge, low morale can be hard to detect and difficult to address when everything’s too late.
Worry not for this post will help you out. Keep on reading below to learn more about the various signs of decreasing employee morale and how to properly deal with them.
Apathetic And Sluggish Employees
Lack of interest, monotony, and sluggishness in completing tasks are common indicators of low morale. There are several causes for these, however, they’re mainly caused by employee burnout.
So, what is employee burnout? Employee burnout is a type of work-related stress. It’s a state of emotional or physical exhaustion which involves a sense of reduced personal or professional accomplishment.
In general, employees with burnout might still love their jobs. However, they’re so overworked or emotionally exhausted that their morale plummets and this shows up in their sluggish output and disinterested attitude towards labor.
To prevent apathy and sluggishness at work, you need to address burnout. There are several ways to reduce burnout at work. For one, keeping communication open can help employees feel more comfortable talking about their struggles and asking for help.
As an added measure, you can provide flexible work schedules to foster healthy work-life boundaries. Further, consider implementing lifestyle-focused strategies by offering meditation classes, flexible leisure hours, and wellness coaching.
Persistent Negative Attitude At Work
Sometimes, it’s difficult for employees to hide a foul attitude after they’ve had a bad day. Even normal levels of work-related stress can also give rise to discouragement and frustrations. These are normal reactions to temporary issues and setbacks.
However, a consistently negative attitude, particularly from your employee who has been a positive force in the team before, is a big red flag of severely deflated morale. In addition, the lack of willingness to cooperate with their teammates or commit to new tasks is another clear warning sign of low morale.
The first step to resolving this issue is to identify what the problem is. You need to set up a time to talk one-on-one with the employee in question. If they’re working remotely, you can call them and schedule a face-to-face interaction.
Ask your employee if the issue is about work or personal. If it’s the former, you can look up strategies that help mitigate the issue. For instance, you can set standards in the workplace and be specific about the changes you want to see. Up the ante with your coaching to transform negative attitudes into positive ones. Try to avoid getting into an argument as well.
That said, if the reason is more personal, you can encourage your employee to take a time off to address the issue. Then, make the necessary arrangements to ensure that their responsibilities and role are covered in the interim.
Absenteeism And Lack Of Engagement
If employee morale is high, employees will always come on time, have perfect attendance, and are highly engaged. But low morale creates latecomers and absenteeism. And this is often caused by low job satisfaction, or there’s no ‘why’ behind the work.
When employees do the same things every day, projects turn into routine tasks and a series of to-dos that need to be checked off before the weekend. Eventually, the reason and inspiration behind the work fade, taking motivation and productivity with it. When this happens, employees will experience low engagement and sometimes, they won’t even show up.
To solve this issue, you need to inspire them and rekindle their motivation. You need to help your employees remember the ‘why’ in their work. You can set up weekly meetings with your employees. Ask about their work goals, reasons, and how to achieve these goals.
Encourage them to be honest and explain that it’s not a test and that you just want to find out how to keep them engaged, happy, and satisfied with their work. Plus, you can plan team-building events that help employees build and nurture relationships with their co-workers, enhancing productivity and keeping them engaged.
Workers Feeling They’re Left Out
It’s obvious that feeling left out can reduce employee morale. Work alienation means a sense of incomprehensibility among employees about their work roles and responsibilities, the means to accomplish these responsibilities, the contribution of the work to a larger purpose, and the future course of action. In short, it occurs when employees feel separated from themselves and others in the workplace.
There are several causes of alienation in the workplace. Your company may not be as inclusive as you think. Or, if you have a remote or hybrid work setup, you may not be providing them with the necessary technology and communication tools to feel included.
Keeping employees in the loop is one of the best ways to prevent alienation. Whenever feasible, you need to keep your employees updated on the company’s financial performance goals. This makes them feel more connected to the company.
You also need to give them a chance to voice their opinion and shine. Actively seeking feedback from employees can help keep them happy and engaged, ultimately improving employee morale. To boot, create talent pool segments to heighten your company’s workplace diversity and inclusivity and address inclusion issues in the workplace.
Also, it’s important to treat employees equally and distribute tasks and work fairly. Make a conscious effort in giving everyone a fair chance and stop playing favorites. Lastly, make sure to always recognize your employees’ contributions to the company, regardless of how small or big they are.
Low employee morale is a silent killer of workplace performance and productivity. Not only does it impact work quality and prevent innovation, but it’s also highly contagious. One negative worker can pull down the entire team. Thus, it’s important to persistently monitor your workforce, look for the above-mentioned signs, and implement the suggested solutions to improve overall productivity and happiness.
Alice Brown is a business management consultant with ten years of experience under their belt. They offer professional services to multiple organizations, both big and small, and help entrepreneurs and managers to reach their targets fast and efficiently.