Low staff morale can create significant problems for businesses.
Discontentment in the workplace can contribute to high levels of absence and lack of engagement, which inevitably result in decreased work output and poor performance. The consequences can be far-reaching, causing even the most loyal customers to look elsewhere and as a result, it’s important to know what signs to look out for. Some signs of low employee morale may be obvious, others might be less so. Here are a few key indicators to be aware of.
Higher Levels of Absence
A classic sign of decreased morale is an increased employee absence. Employees may start to have more frequent days off work due to illness, or request time off for other reasons. Lateness, or taking excessively long lunch breaks are also an indicator of lack of happiness in the job.
Unacceptable Attitude in the Workplace
Often, discontent in employees can manifest itself in a display of attitude. This might be demonstrated through hostility or bitterness, but may be conveyed in other ways. They may be reluctant to contribute in meetings, or refuse to help fellow colleagues. Sometimes, the signs can even be as subtle as displaying a lack of enthusiasm within their role, resulting in the employee merely doing the ‘bare minimum’ required to keep their jobs.
It’s not uncommon to see employees congregated in groups, perhaps around the water cooler or in the break area. Although this may be harmless enough, it’s important to be aware that low employee morale has a tendency to be infectious, and the most common way that it spreads is through conversation.
If you start to notice increased levels of customer complaint, then be aware that this is a classic sign of employee discontent. An unhappy employee often exhibits their low morale through treating customers with indifference, or worse still, rudeness.
Poor quality work is another classic sign of an unhappy employee, especially when a normally reliable member of staff suddenly begins to under-perform. Poor quality work output can be an obvious sign of discontentment, especially if the employee has recently missed out on promotion or feels under-challenged in their role. For new workers, a lack of quality in work can indicate unhappiness, but it can also indicate poor training or lack of communication in ensuring they understand the requirements of the job.
Low Employee Morale – Finding the Solution
Fortunately, low employee morale is not irreversible. In our next two posts, find out how you can combat discontentment amongst your employees and develop a happier, more productive workplace.