5 Signs of Low Employee Morale and How to Counteract Them

If you need to jump in a time machine to recall the last time you communicated business goals or asked your employees for feedback, you might want to assess your staff’s morale and engagement. Why? Because according to an Accountemps survey, one-third of human resources managers interviewed said a breakdown in communication is at the heart of most morale problems. Interestingly, communication also was cited by 38 percent of HR managers as the most effective way to counter low employee morale.

Don’t let low employee morale lead to lower productivity, or worse, a mass exodus of top performers. Instead, learn how to spot potential issues and deal with them head on before the problem exacerbates. Here are five signs of — and remedies for — low employee morale:

  1. Changes in attitude. If employees are unhappy, it will show. Look for red flags — increased negativity, higher rates of absenteeism, or reduced cooperation or commitment. Checking in with workers on a regular basis will help you gauge morale and address budding problems.
  2. An active grapevine. When communication is scarce, gossip and misinformation flourish. Even if you have bad news to share or don’t have all the answers, honesty is still the best policy. The more team members can rely on accurate information, the less grist they’ll have for the rumor mill.
  3. Lack of initiative. Unmotivated employees go through the motions rather than taking an active seat at the table. Foster an ownership environment in which employees are challenged to take initiative and solve problems in creative ways.
  4. Scarce rewards. Step up efforts to recognize employees’ accomplishments with praise, low-cost awards and spot bonuses. Make rewards personal and give them as soon as possible after an achievement.
  5. Poor performance. Morale problems can quickly affect a team’s quality of work. Signs of trouble include missed deadlines, an increase in mistakes or a decline in service levels. Consider bringing in temporary professionals to ease your team’s workload.

Do you have any other tips on boosting employee morale? Please share in the comments below.