Human resources managers are increasingly prioritizing employee engagement as a critical key performance indicator. However, employee engagement is a complex construct to measure, with many different elements constituting how engaged an employee feels. One of the pillars of engagement is enthusiasm or morale, which managers can boost in a variety of ways, including by emphasizing worker well-being.
An employee morale program not only helps increase job satisfaction but also signals to employees that their voices are being heard. Employees who feel that their feedback is valued are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform well at their jobs.
This guide to measuring employee morale describes what employee morale is, why it’s important, and how it can be measured.
What Is Employee Morale?
Morale refers to how an employee feels about their job, the company, and the overall working conditions. While employee engagement typically refers to a broader set of behaviors an employee exhibits in relation to their work, morale usually refers more to the mental attitude and emotional connection an employee demonstrates while they’re working.
A few of the factors that affect employee morale include:
- Workplace culture and organizational leadership
- Alignment between the employee’s skills and the type of work
- Level of feedback, coaching, and development
- Work-life balance and support for managing work-related stress
- Personal health and well-being of the employee
In order to improve employee morale, organizations need to have strategies to help improve each of these areas for their employees.
8 Ways to Measure Employee Morale
Organizations that want to boost employee morale need ways to measure how employees feel about their work. Having various methods of monitoring employee morale helps managers gain better insight into their employees’ attitudes and experiences with the company.
Using a combination of the below approaches can help managers gain a deeper understanding of current employee morale levels and how to improve them.
1. Attitude Surveys
One of the simplest ways to measure morale is to conduct an employee morale survey. Morale or attitude surveys ask relevant questions regarding an employee’s thoughts and feelings toward the organization and their role within it.
Employees are asked to respond to questions on a scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. These surveys often include statements like “I feel valued by my manager” or “I am content with the role I play in my company.”
2. Employee Counseling
One of the ways to not only measure employee morale but to identify causes of variations in morale is to offer employee counseling. During counseling sessions, employees are able to express their true feelings and attitudes toward their work in a safe and confidential session.
Employment counselors support employees in understanding why they may be experiencing dwindling morale. Counselors also make notes of employee sentiments, reporting the results to management so that adjustments can be made to improve morale.
3. Grievance Reporting
Keeping track of employee grievances is essential for organizations that want to boost morale. When employees feel that they are able to express concerns and that those concerns have a likelihood of being addressed, it often leads to increased satisfaction.
Managers can implement systems for hearing, tracking, and following up on grievances. Having an open-door policy is the best way to encourage and facilitate resolving employee concerns.
4. Suggestion Boxes
While human resources experts say that it’s always better to get direct feedback from employees, sometimes it’s good to offer an anonymous option, as well.
When employees have concerns about privacy, confidentiality, and safety when expressing their concerns, organizations can implement suggestion boxes instead. Employees can anonymously submit their grievances or provide feedback on how to improve morale.
Suggestion boxes can be physical or virtual and provide a convenient way for managers to collect employee opinions regularly.
5. Exit Interviews
Employees are an organization’s most valuable asset, and their feedback can help companies make important changes that drive success. One way to gain valuable insight into employee morale is through exit interviews.
When conducted properly, exit interviews can answer three important questions:
- Why do employees stay?
- Why do employees leave?
- What can the organization do to help retain employees?
To maximize the effectiveness of exit interviews, human resources departments should have procedures for implementing and tracking changes made as a result of exit interview feedback.
There is a positive correlation between employee morale and productivity—the higher the employee morale, the higher your organization’s productivity. High employee productivity is often the result of highly satisfied and engaged employees. In general, employees with high morale are less absent and more active, resulting in them producing at higher levels.
While the two metrics are related, it’s important to keep in mind that a decrease in productivity doesn’t necessarily mean a decrease in morale and vice versa. Therefore, if your organization is experiencing high productivity, it’s important not to assume that morale is also high, as these are two separate metrics.
Employee engagement is another metric that’s often positively correlated with morale. According to Gallup, a leading corporate analytics company, employee engagement is defined as the degree to which employees are enthusiastic about and engaged in their work and workplace.
Employee morale constitutes the enthusiasm that an employee feels toward their work. By measuring employee engagement, you can better understand the attitudes and emotions that employees exhibit regarding their work and the organization.
8. Turnover and Absenteeism
High turnover rates and absenteeism could be indicative of an employee morale issue. Highly engaged employees who demonstrate strong levels of enthusiasm toward their jobs tend to remain with organizations longer.
Likewise, absenteeism, which is the state of not showing up for work due to low motivation, is also mitigated when morale is high. If your organization is experiencing high turnover and absenteeism, job burnout may be a contributing factor.
High stress leads to poor health, which leads to increased sick days, so offering wellness support may help indirectly increase morale by preventing burnout.
Boost Employee Morale With Workplace Wellness
Employee morale plays a crucial role in maintaining employee engagement and productivity and minimizing turnover and absenteeism costs. Investing in effective employee morale boosters can help improve employees’ sense of enthusiasm and overall attitude toward their work, resulting in higher performance.
Workplace wellness is a known employee morale booster, with reports showing that 89% of employees recommend their company as a great place to work when they feel their well-being is supported. Wellness programs are designed to help increase employee morale, engagement, productivity, and numerous other organizational success metrics.
Originally published May 31, 2022 - 10:02 AM, updated June 15, 2022