Where we work and with whom we work are vital aspects of life. Employees spend a significant chunk of their time at work, and their overall feelings about their jobs have a crucial impact on productivity and office morale. Amid the pandemic-induced Great Resignation, employers must take employee morale even more seriously to avoid losing their best talent.
The 2022 Engagement and Retention Report from Achievers Workforce Institute shows that the Great Resignation (also called the Big Quit and Great Reshuffle) is far from over: 66% of employees surveyed reported that they plan to job hunt in 2022. This is bad news for employers, many of which struggle to fill open roles.
However, the report found some critical insights into what employers can do to keep their teams happy and reduce employee turnover. It should come as no surprise that one of the most significant factors impacting retention is employee morale.
Employee morale encompasses an employee’s overall outlook, attitudes and satisfaction levels regarding their workplace. An employee with higher morale tends to be more productive, engaged and likely to remain with their current organization.
Employees with low morale often feel their current employers aren’t meeting their needs. Thus, these employees will seek employment elsewhere to find what they’re missing. They may want higher compensation, a stronger company culture, better advancement opportunities or more supportive supervisors.
Workplace recognition is closely correlated with morale. As turnover rates soar, research shows that employees planning to remain in their current roles feel valued and supported by their employers. If employees are comfortable in their roles and have a positive outlook on their companies, they are likely to stay rather than jump ship to another employer.
When an employee quits, it can be quite costly to replace them. The average cost to hire a new employee is around $4,000, but that doesn’t reflect the full cost of employee turnover. Other costs are harder to measure quantitatively.
For years, companies have tried to entice workers to stick around by offering job perks and changing the onboarding experience. However, perks aren’t necessarily enough to instill a sense of belonging in employees. Employee morale is not all about perks; it’s also about communication and culture.
These are some of the most significant factors affecting employee morale:
The Achievers Engagement and Retention Report doesn’t just highlight problems; it also offers some solutions. Here are the top suggestions for improving employee morale in order to reduce turnover.
The researchers offered advice on building a culture that attracts and retains excellent employees: “[The] key to retention is having a strong culture of belonging, built on a foundation of communication, employee input, and connection.”
Take the time to reevaluate your company culture. As the workplace shifts toward remote and hybrid working arrangements, consider changing how the people in your organization work together. Implement ways to engage remote workers, such as scheduling virtual hangouts and finding ways to gamify your workforce. Solicit employee input to understand how you can take your team’s needs and desires into account while reshaping your organization’s culture.
Providing more recognition to employees is an excellent way to improve morale and encourage retention. The researchers at Achievers advise employers to make recognition timely, specific, public and aligned with the company’s values.
Be especially diligent in providing recognition to employees taking on extra tasks due to staffing shortages. Many employees have had to adapt to changes in work styles, responsibilities and more, and it’s essential for employers to show appreciation. Recognizing their extra effort through increased support and compensation can also reduce turnover risk during internal labor shortages.
Employees want to feel heard. However, immediately making changes based on employee feedback can challenge business owners. The researchers have an excellent solution: Start small.
“Wherever possible, identify team-level micro-actions that will have an immediate impact on your employee base,” the report said. “Other feedback may require larger scale, slower actions at an organizational level, but when you can take action at the frontline, your employees will see and feel that effect directly.”
Show employees that you are listening and taking steps to integrate their feedback into your processes and decisions.
Colleagues and team members contribute significantly to employee morale. Employees who feel connected with their peers are more likely to view their organizations and jobs favorably. Achievers advises business owners to encourage teams to hold social gatherings, whether in person or remote, once a month to build relationships outside of task collaboration.