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Employee Morale

Employee Morale – Role and Effect

What is Morale?

Morale is a word that conveys different meaning to different people. It might imply the following meanings:

1. Mental Attitude or Mind set from a psychologist’s perspective

2. A feeling of togetherness from an individual’s point of view

3. Group consent in terms of a business environment etc.

Morale can be defined as ” an attitude of mind which conditions how well or how badly duties are performed”- W.H.Walley

It can also be defined as ” the collective attitudes of workers towards one another, the employer, the management, or their work”-J.C.Denyen

Morale is ” the capacity of group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose”-Dr.Deighton

employee morale

Morale is thus the undercurrent in an organisation that determines the performance levels of the employees as it dictates employees’ enthusiasm, voluntary conformance with regulations and orders and willingness to co-operate with fellow workers to accomplish the enterprise objectives.

Poor morale is evident from in-subordination, discouragement and dislike of job, company and associates.

Nature of Morale

What it is? : Emotional by nature , a state of well- being and an attitude of mind.

What it does? : Directly related to quality of work, enthusiasm, motivation, productivity, discipline, co-operation and initiative.

Where it resides? : In the minds, attitudes and emotions of employees as individuals and as groups.

Whom  it affects? : Employees and executives during their interaction and ultimately the customers and the community.

What it affects?: Willingness to work and placing the enterprise objective behind self interest.

To summarise, the ill effects of Bad Morale would be

  • Reduced productivity
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Antagonism towards management
  • Too much of complaints and grievances
  • Increased employee turn-over
  • Friction between employees
  • Alcoholism
  • Accidents
  • Increased lethargy

In contrary High Morale leads to

  • Willing co-operation towards enterprise objectives
  • Loyalty to the management
  • Good behaviour in conformance with the rules and regulations
  • Strong and coherent groups leading to organisational stamina
  • Prioritising jobs and placing self interest behind organisational objectives
  • Increased sense of participation
  • Pride in organisation
Talented employees stay because...

Picture Courtesy: extramadness.com

Ways to Improve Employee Morale

From the workers’ point of view:

  • Fair compensation and bonus
  • Satisfactory working conditions conforming to safety and security
  • Treated with dignity
  • Efficient and amiable leadership
  • Scope for expressing their views for improvement
  • Acceptable working hours
  • Ensuring economic security

From the management’s view point

  1. Co-operation from the employees
  2. Stability of tenure
  3. Increased productivity
  4. Low cost per unit
  5. Loyalty of the workers

Is it possible to measure Employee Morale?

Level of productivity: When the morale is low due to different reasons, higher is the chance of absenteeism, accidents and grievances since the employees try to overlook their responsibilities towards the organisation. Therefore it is the responsibility of the management to settle and score issues relating to employees or unions then and there to avoid those issues blowing out of proportion.

Morale Surveys

These are generally conducted by individual organisations to find out if the employees are satisfied with their job and task and how they feel about it. This is considered to be a fairly important measure to gauge the kind of relationship the employees have with the management.

Surveys also indicate whether the channel of communication is open between the superiors and sub-ordinates and serves as an emotional release for the workers to express their real feelings.

Types of Morale Surveys:

Objective Surveys: Objective type of questions are given to the employees for answering but the flaw is that, the management representative writes the answers and this does not give a chance for the workers to express their feelings.

Descriptive Surveys: Here the employees write their answers to queries asked which  are more descriptive in nature and reflects the actual feelings of each individual.

Projective Surveys: Sometimes psychological tests are conducted to bring out the hidden feelings from tight lipped employees or who fear the management.

The management must be aware of the following morale indicators and take necessary action:

  • Labor turnover
  • Productivity
  • Quality records
  • Waste and scrap
  • Absenteeism and tardiness
  • Exit interviews
  • Medical reports
  • Counselling, insurance and similar services
  • Grievances
  • Accident reports
  • Suggestions
  • Training records

Morale whether high or low, is a chain reaction and affects the entire organisation. Variations if any are to be  detected  in the above mentioned parameters, it clearly indicates a call for action on management’s part.