The Benefits of Good Employee Morale at Work

Companies and teams with high morale are unmistakable in the workplace. When others are struggling to get the bare minimum done, these teams often excel with ease, exceed expectations and do it all with a smile on their face. Many leaders wonder how to get their organizations or teams to the place where work feels fun and almost effortless. Boosting morale can have this desirable effect, leading your organization to excellence and better-than-expected growth.

High Morale Defined

High morale happens when an upbeat, positive attitude meets high energy in the workplace. Employees and teams with good morale are satisfied with their jobs and work environment, making them excited to come to work each day. Instead of fighting difficult emotions in order to try to focus on the task at hand, employees with high morale feel a positive boost from their emotions, which creates unstoppable momentum that propels them forward in meeting and exceeding their goals.

Happy employees equal higher productivity and a more pleasant work environment for everyone. This makes sense scientifically, as the brain becomes disorganized and forgetful when it is under stress, according to the Harvard Medical School. Under stress, the amygdala becomes activated, which limits the capacity of frontal brain areas responsible for critical thinking, decision-making and productivity. In contrast, when a brain experiences happiness, as it does when high morale is present, serotonin and dopamine work to make frontal brain activity even more efficient than normal, leading to high productivity.

Spotting Good Morale at Work

High morale is contagious. If you feel happy, upbeat and connected in a positive way when you walk into a work environment, chances are good that high morale is present. You might also notice the following:

  • Enthusiasm, excitement and energy
  • Joy and happiness
  • Alignment with company identity and mission
  • Confidence in self, team and the company
  • Friendships among employees
  • Natural desire to go above and beyond
  • Group synergy
  • People working in their areas of strength
  • Emphasis on personal growth
  • Sense of support and flexibility

When your team has high morale, it doesn't feel like you are fighting to get things done. Instead, it feels like getting things done is almost automatic due to contagiously high momentum and healthy teamwork. Instead of focusing on problems, people naturally seek and live out solutions that create win-win scenarios for those involved. Growth is emphasized over perfectionism so that mistakes are seen as part of the learning process instead of as stop signs that slow down the team as a whole.

Advantages of High Morale

Morale makes a tangible difference in the lives of your employees and your bottom line. According to Fast Company, employees with high levels of job satisfaction sleep better at night. This leads to other healthy behaviors and choices, like eating well, working out and focusing at work. In addition, instead of having inflammatory adrenaline and cortisol running amok, employees are more likely to experience high levels of dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin which have the opposite effect, all while stimulating productivity.

Other advantages of good morale include:

  • High employee retention rates
  • Lower absentee rates
  • Increased creativity and innovation
  • Improved health
  • Improved bottom line

Boosting Employee Morale

According to Inc. Magazine, in order to boost morale, it is vital to ensure your organization is structured clearly, has solid goals and focuses on well-being. This could mean evaluating the following:

  • Pay structure and benefits
  • Mission and vision
  • Opportunities for collaboration
  • Innovation programs
  • Wellness incentives
  • Appreciation awards and events
  • Community outreach
  • Communication
  • Opportunities to socialize and celebrate
  • Work-life balance
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Continuing education
  • Trust levels
  • Creature comforts

You might notice more than one area of your organization that needs to be addressed. Start by simply focusing on one area that will have the biggest impact and move forward from there. Morale won't change overnight, but small tweaks can make a big difference over a period of weeks, months or years.