Here’s what’s crushing team morale in your organisation

A quick summary:

  • The impact of high turnover 📊
  • Problematic leadership ❌
  • A lack of communication across teams 💬
  • The damage of poor brand reputation 👀

Team morale often goes overlooked. What a lot of leaders fail to realise is how influential (and detrimental) it can be to business success. In recent years, more of us have begun to work remotely or on a hybrid basis. Because of this, boosting morale is even more important than ever before.

It may come as a surprise to know that there are hundreds of reasons staff morale has been crushed in your organisation. Identifying all of them would take a lifetime, so we’ve explored the key red flags. 

With team morale, it isn’t a question of how many negative actions your company suffers from - one is more than enough to crush morale. As a leader, you may already be aware of just how vital staff morale is. 

A staggering 71% of executives say employee engagement is critical to company success. And as a lot of us know employee engagement is the remedy for low morale. Before we dive into the key morale crushing actions that are happening in thousands of offices, what is team morale?

Team morale meaning

To put it simply, team morale refers to a combination of enthusiasm, optimism and excitement amongst employees as they strive to achieve specific business goals. It is the overall atmosphere of an office and can have a direct impact on company culture. 

A low morale environment is obviously going to come with a ton of negative consequences. This could be in the form of toxic relationships between employees, a dislike for projects, a hatred for leadership and many other negative traits - It’s as serious as that!

With high morale comes increased productivity, performance and the ability to collaborate effectively. Of course, as a leader, it’s your duty and responsibility to play a pivotal role, but it’s also about how motivated and inspired people feel in the workplace. 

High staff turnover rates

We’ve all been there, where we’re trying to build relationships with colleagues by arranging social events outside of work, but there’s one problem… everybody keeps leaving the company. You question whether the work really is all that meaningful; whether people know something you don’t.

This scenario plays out in businesses all over the world. And while we might expect the worst about our employer and workplace, it’s usually the case of greener pastures. After all, we all know how easy it is to jump from conclusion to conclusion and get carried away with rumours. It’s in these moments that team morale takes a kick to the stomach. 

Once isn’t a problem, but a constant flow of employees isn’t sustainable for company culture or business goals. Managers don’t want to spend their waking hours training new starters and team members just want exactly that, a team. 

If these changes are happening on a leadership level, then expect a lot more concern from employees. It’s a leader’s duty to ensure team morale remains high through the good and bad times. And it’s safe to say high turnover isn’t the best of moments. If these departures are leaders, it can leave the remaining employees with nobody to motivate and inspire them.

High turnover begins to ask questions and starts conversations around who’s next and why? The best way to deal with turnover is by being transparent. Explain to colleagues why people have left. Don’t allow rumours to dictate the discussion in the office.  

Problems at a leadership level

Team morale problems aren’t only caused by leaders jumping ship. It’s leaders who steer that ship into shark-infested waters that can be potentially worse. Some work relationships simply don’t work, and that’s just a part of life. In most cases, we can all remain civil despite our differences. Many people, however, intentionally bring down an atmosphere and make their feelings known. 

It’s a leader’s responsibility to quell any conflicts and toxic relationships. If you’ve noticed a number of employees complaining about another senior member of your team, it may be a red flag. 

After all, culture is built by leadership, and any form of toxic behaviour will flow through the company and create a tsunami of problems. And as we’ve learnt, poor culture produces poor morale. What’s more, it’s leaders who should boost morale in team members, not crush it to the core. 

If you’ve noticed this very dilemma play out in your company, it is worth speaking with said senior colleague. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, ask another team member to have this conversation. Whilst difficult conversations are never enjoyable, the rut that is poor morale is much harder to overcome. 

A lack of communication throughout your team

Communication in every sense is vital. Not just in the workplace, but in general life. Failure to communicate your point of view, opinion, ideas or decisions can lead to horrendous outcomes. As a leader, expectations need to be articulated and done so effectively. Yet, the reverse is also as important; employees should speak up if they don’t understand tasks and projects.

What’s more, poor explanations can lead to a breakdown in understanding. This could be the difference between great work and tasks being done incorrectly. Managers should keep their requests clear and easily understood to avoid confusion. Going that one step further and ensuring everybody is on the same page is even better.  

In addition to work-related issues that arise from poor communication, employee wellbeing can also be hindered. In extreme cases, managers and employees do not regularly discuss how they feel about the workplace, their role or general job satisfaction. Bottling up this negativity can cause an eruption of high turnover, conflict and toxic environments.

Great managers make it their mission to understand how team members feel about work. Some even go as far as to host wellbeing meetings. Asking people how they’ve felt this past week can truly make all the difference to morale and happiness. It often feels like a weight has been lifted after discussing how we really feel. 

Finally, communication should be key to managing remote teams. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees have started working from home. This creates a whole new set of challenges. Especially for team morale. That said, modern technology provides ample tools for communication, and companies should have very few hurdles to ensure teams can speak with one another. 

Just like the need for regular 1-2-1’s between managers and employees in the office, remote teams should also be taken into consideration. Managing remote teams effectively can be challenging at times, and communication is only one part of it. But failure to communicate well, and you face isolating employees and damaging wellbeing in your company.

Poor brand reputation

In some cases, businesses suffer a poor reputation. Sometimes through media, other times through the power of word-of-mouth and online reviews. Too much negativity can see employees steer away from their association with your business. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll leave their jobs - people have bills to pay for after all. 

This dissociation leads to low morale amongst employees, who are less committed to their role and the company’s mission. Ultimately, people want to make a difference in life. It’s the results of a business that drives job satisfaction and the dedication to building something meaningful. 

Now, this isn’t to say your business isn’t creating something greatly positive. But a storm of reviews and negative comments should be enough to assume something isn’t right. In the worst-case scenario, employees will jump ship in fear of being tarnished with the same brush. And we know about the consequences of high turnover.

Clearly, a poor brand reputation can be vastly detrimental. Culture cannot be built in a team that doesn’t agree with what the business is doing. Likewise, people can’t give their all to a cause that generates only negative results. If you want to build a successful business with high team morale, start with a product or service that customers love. Anything else is a recipe for disaster.

An employee benefits platform to boost team morale

Employee benefits can play a huge role in boosting staff morale. It’s through incentives and rewards that people feel a sense of achievement and recognition for their hard work. Yet, so many workplaces miss out on this opportunity. 

Through Heka, employers are boosting team morale each month with a wellbeing allowance. This provides their people with the option to book and buy from thousands of healthy experiences, products and services. 

That could be yoga classes, virtual therapy sessions, outdoor adventure activities and many more - the list certainly goes on - meaning employers can achieve a personalised benefits package once and for all

By building a culture of health and wellbeing, companies are creating happier teams that thrive in the workplace. And as you can imagine, team morale is through the roof!

If you’d like to discuss the benefits of our wellbeing platform, book a demo with one of our wellbeing experts.

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