Maintaining positive employee morale has long been known to help with productivity and output of employees. Morale also assists with sustaining good attendance which helps the bottom line. A company that engages in proactive policies that help workers does this by giving incentives to employees to work harder and support to the employer.

If you are noticing lower than average employee morale and low productivity in the workplace, it’s time to weed out the root causes. Here are some places to start.

Personal Matters

Many employees have problems in their personal lives that can affect their work. Problems with families and personal issues ranging from health issues to substance abuse can affect an employee’s performance. A company that provides support to employees shows they have an interest in their workers. Companies can provide an Employee Assistance Program to help workers with personal issues. Other incentives like flex hours can help workers with scheduling problems for childcare or in-home elderly family members.

Job Duties

Management needs to seriously evaluate the workloads of employees and observe if this causes stress. Units where productivity is lower Programs that can assist overburdened staff include shifting workloads, targeted training programs, and upgraded software that can help streamline processes. Employees that are overworked can get burned out quickly which could lead to turnover and discontent. By identifying causes of job related stress and resolving them, morale will improve.

Tune In

Communication with employees helps to know where dissatisfaction may be present. Setting up a system of feedback from employees gives management knowledge of where improvements are needed to deal with disgruntled workers. A suggestion box may seem cliché but if taken seriously could be effective. Employee evaluations that allow feedback from workers give insight in problem areas. The best source of employee satisfaction is from employee’s themselves and communication regarding working conditions lays the groundwork for improvement.

Management Style

The leadership style of management can be a source of frustration for workers. If a unit is micromanaged where supervisors intervene in every aspect of business process, employees will feel smothered and unable to feel able to function effectively. On the other hand, in situations where there is little specific direction, workers may be unsure about the correct course of action to take. If the wrong action is taken and the employee is criticized,  discontent may develop. An effective leadership style that fits the company’s needs and ensure workers are effective.


One of the most serious events that can cause dissatisfaction are layoffs. Problems can be compounded when top management does not address the issue. If there are rumors  of layoff, mid-level supervisors are caught in the middle between workers and the company. Management needs to address these issues upfront to workers to the best of their ability to deal with this.

Photo Credit: Castillo Dominici

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