You’ve probably worked in an office where there was a lot of negativity – it’s a fairly common occurrence for companies. In fact, most people have things that they would rather be doing than working, and sometimes if there is the wrong team atmosphere, many members of staff can start to feel their morale dropping.
If you’re lucky, you might also have worked in an environment that was a lot more positive, and everyone wanted the best for the business. It’s not surprising to learn that statistics say that happier staff are likely to be more productive. Research from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School found that happy workers were on average 13% more productive.
But what is it that makes workers happy in the first place? And why is it true that they are likely to get more work done? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the link between high morale and greater levels of productivity to establish why positive workers get more done.
Workers want to care
It is important to note that the problem is generally not down to workers and their attitude to their job. Some employers believe that staff are not being productive because they simply don’t want to put in the greater effort to work hard, and that they are lazy. However, this is actually not the case at all.
To understand this we need only look at workers’ attitudes towards the companies they want to work for. For example, a recent survey revealed that around three-quarters of millennial workers would be happy to take a pay cut in order to work for a company that values sustainability. This shows clearly that employees are often very happy to work hard for a business that they care about.
When workers feel positive about a business they will think about more than just themselves – they will actively want to work for the company and feel good about its success.
Morale is contagious
It is really important to remember that when you talk about morale, you have to think about the team in its entirety, and not just about individuals. If a small number of individuals are performing well but the rest of the team has a negative attitude, you shouldn’t assume that this is the fault of your team.
The fact is that morale – both good and bad – is contagious. If there is a generally negative working environment, the majority of people are going to feel it. This also permeates into new staff starting at the company.
If you have a morale problem it is important to think about ways that you can deal with it as soon as possible. And it’s important that this change comes from the top down with effective policies and positive strategies. Workers are always influenced by the attitude of managers, directors, and leaders across the business. If your senior employees can’t be positive – no-one else will be either!
Investing in your team helps you and them
One of the best ways to ensure a positive team atmosphere is to show workers that you care about them by investing in them. Providing your team with training and learning opportunities helps them to become more effective workers for you, but it also makes them feel good because they are progressing and taking on new skills.
It is a great idea to pay for workplace training for your team. The skills they learn can be applied to the business, so this is likely to make them more productive anyway. But the further boost to their morale will add a further benefit in productivity.
A boost for creativity
Remember that high morale staff has far-reaching implications beyond productivity. It’s true that positive staff are also more likely to be creative and come up with new ideas and innovation. This can only be a positive for the company.
Of course, the reverse is also true and those companies that do have low levels of staff morale are more likely to see their creativity stagnate.
How to raise staff morale
If your team is a little low on morale, it’s good to know that there are plenty of ways that you can help boost their attitude and performance whether they work remotely, in an office or at another setting.
- Show them you’re proud of them – one of the best ways to raise the staff morale is to show off that you are proud of them. It’s a great idea to have photos of the team at work together on your website; not only does this show clients and customers that you’re a real business with a dedicated team, and it also helps the staff feel appreciated. Top tip: you can do the photography yourself without spending too much: buy second-hand or look for a provider that offers a trade-in option to offset the cost of a newer camera.
- Understand your employees – every business is different, and what will make a difference to your particular team will depend on the specifics of the company and the workers. As such, it is essential to get regular feedback from your staff about the challenges that they face. Top tip: allow staff to give anonymous feedback – this will make them feel that they can be completely truthful.
- Recognize and reward – staff respond well when they know that their efforts are being seen and appreciated. This doesn’t need to be anything as grand as an ‘employee of the month’; often it is more successful to celebrate and reward the small details. This allows the team to value everyone’s success rather than focusing on one individual. Top tip: create a monthly report that documents the successes of individuals in each team. Try to include something for everyone.
It is true that positive workers are more productive. If you get your team to a place where they feel invested in the business, you will have a more cohesive team that is working for each other and genuinely wants the company to succeed.