Low Employee Morale: Signs, Causes and Fixes

Addressing low employee morale and overall wellbeing is a crucial component of business performance. During periods of social upheaval, organizational change, and more generally in day-to-day operations, it is essential not to overlook the human aspects and challenges that employees face.

Low Employee Morale: Signs, Causes and Fixes

Taking proactive measures to support employee wellbeing and foster team morale can contribute to maintaining productivity, promoting innovation and increasing your bottom line.

Whether you’ve already noticed some signs of low team morale, or just want to future-proof your organization against unforeseen changes, building long-term resilience needn’t be a costly or time-consuming project. Inaction, however, can cost you dear.

What is the cost of low team morale in the workplace?

The cost of low morale at work can feel hard to quantify. Our Resilience Calculator estimates this based on factors including lower productivity and a lack of innovation resulting from low employee morale.

By putting a monetary value to lost productivity and innovation, as well as the effect of increased staff turnover and sickness absence, the calculator reveals that the cost of ignoring low morale in the workplace can scale quickly and cost your organization millions.

The cost of a half-point shift

Our calculator’s estimates are relatively conservative. We look at the impact of a half-point shift on our five-point scale, which assesses employee wellbeing and team morale. After entering your information, our calculator shows what low employee morale could cost you if your company doesn’t bounce back.

For example, a 200-person organization comes out with a $1 million loss, and that’s only from a half-point fall. While the calculator lays out the monetary estimates, our employee engagement platform can help you navigate your way through periods of low team morale and mitigate these losses.

As well as giving you a real-time feel for how your teams are coping, its weekly cadence also supports line managers to have regular check-ins with their teams which, over time, helps build a better team spirit.

5 common signs of low employee morale at work

Low employee morale can manifest in various ways within an organization. Some common signs you can watch out for include:

  1. Decreased productivity
  2. Increased absenteeism and lateness
  3. High employee turnover
  4. Lack of enthusiasm and innovation
  5. Lack of teamwork and camaraderie

Other factors such as a decline in customer satisfaction, increased complaints and staff grievances and reduced commitment and loyalty can also be a sign of low morale.

Recognizing these signs of low employee morale is crucial for organizations to take proactive measures to address underlying issues, boost engagement, and improve the overall work environment.

There are many ways to measure employee engagement, which can also help you monitor and improve these team morale metrics.

Sign 1: Decreased Productivity

A decline in productivity and efficiency can indicate low employee morale. If your employees are disengaged or demotivated, they may not perform at their best, leading to reduced output and quality of work.

Causes of decreased employee productivity

There are many factors that can contribute to reduced productivity including, poor management, inadequate resources, equipment or tools, work environment, lack of opportunities for employee training and development and also workload and time management issues.

How to fix decreased productivity

It’s important for organizations to identify and address these underlying causes of decreased productivity to create an environment that fosters high performance and engagement among employees. A key factor will be to engage with your employees and establish regular communication about what will benefit them. This may require training and support for management, investment in better equipment, tools, work environment and supporting employees in time management and work prioritization.

Increased absenteeism and lateness

When your teams feel demoralized, they may be more likely to take unplanned absences or arrive late to work. Frequent and unexplained absences can be a sign of low morale and disengagement.

Causes of increased absenteeism

High absenteeism can develop where there are personal and/or work-related issues. Illness and poor health, burnout and work stress, lack of job satisfaction, lack of work flexibility and work-life balance, commuting issues or a negative work environment can all contribute to absenteeism.

How to fix absenteeism

It’s important for organizations to identify and address underlying causes and create a supportive work environment that promotes work-life balance, employee well-being, and job satisfaction. Implementing flexible work arrangements, providing employee assistance programs, promoting a positive work culture, and offering wellness initiatives can help mitigate absenteeism and tardiness issues.

Sign 3: High employee turnover

A higher-than-average turnover rate can be a strong indicator of low team morale. If your employees are dissatisfied with their work environment or feel undervalued, they may be more inclined to seek opportunities elsewhere and even move to competitor organizations.

Causes of high employee turnover

High employee turnover can be influenced by internal and external factors. Some common causes include, lack of career opportunities and growth, inadequate compensation and employee benefits, poor leadership and support from managers, an unhealthy work environment and external market factors such as economic conditions and better job prospects.

How to fix high employee turnover

Organizations can address high staff turnover by developing an environment that promotes employee engagement, growth, and well-being. Giving staff opportunities for development, competitive compensation and benefits, effective leadership, a positive work culture, and clear communication, organizations can work towards reducing employee turnover and retaining top talent.

Sign 4: Lack of enthusiasm and innovation

Low morale can result in a lack of enthusiasm, where staff exhibit minimal interest or passion for their work. They may also show a lack of initiative in taking on new projects or suggesting improvements.

Causes of low enthusiasm and innovation

When employees don’t have a clear understanding of your organization’s purpose, goals, or vision, experience micromanagement and a lack of autonomy or have limited room for growth it can be challenging for them to feel enthusiastic or motivated. Without a sense of purpose, adequate support and resources, employees may struggle to find meaning in their work, leading to a lack of enthusiasm and innovation.

How to fix employee lack of enthusiasm

Addressing and fixing employee lack of enthusiasm requires a proactive approach to boost motivation and engagement. Here are some strategies that can help.

  1. Clarify your organizations purpose and goals. Help teams understand the organization’s purpose, mission, and goals. Clearly communicate how their work contributes to the bigger picture and the impact they have on the organization’s success. When employees see the purpose behind their work, it can increase their enthusiasm and motivation.

  2. Encourage autonomy and creativity by giving freedom to your employees to make decisions and explore new ideas. Foster an environment where they can take calculated risks and think innovatively. When employees have a sense of autonomy, it can spark enthusiasm and creative thinking.

  3. Celebrate small wins and develop a culture of recognition to celebrate small milestones and achievements along the way. This creates a positive and motivating atmosphere that encourages continued enthusiasm and effort.

Lack of teamwork and camaraderie

Low morale can erode teamwork and camaraderie among your employees. If there is a lack of collaboration, support, and a sense of unity within the team, it may indicate underlying morale issues.

Causes of poor teamwork and low camaraderie

When communication channels are poor, it can make collaboration difficult and negatively affect the development of strong relationships among your team members. A lack of clear communication leads to misunderstandings, conflicts, and a breakdown in teamwork.

Business structures with departments or teams who work in isolation without frequent interaction or cross-functional collaboration can lead to a lack of teamwork and a sense of camaraderie. Silo mentality inhibits knowledge sharing and hampers the development of strong working relationships.

How to improve teamwork and employee camaraderie

To address a lack of teamwork and camaraderie, organizations can take the following steps:

  • Foster a culture of open communication, transparency, and trust.
  • Clearly define shared goals and objectives for teams and emphasize their importance.
  • Encourage cross-functional collaboration and break down silos.
  • Provide opportunities for team-building activities and promote social interactions.
  • Recognize and appreciate team members’ contributions regularly.
  • Address conflicts and encourage healthy conflict resolution.
  • Lead by example, with managers and leaders demonstrating teamwork and promoting a positive work culture.
  • Provide training and resources to improve communication and collaboration skills.
  • Encourage and support initiatives that strengthen teamwork, such as collaborative projects or joint decision-making.

3 bonus tips to improve employee morale

1. Lead by example

Leaders and managers play a crucial role in boosting employee morale. Demonstrate positive attitudes, enthusiasm, and appreciation for employees’ work. Be approachable, supportive, and empathetic, setting a positive tone for the workplace.

2. Encourage social connections and team building

Organize team-building activities, social events, or informal gatherings to foster positive relationships among employees. Strong social connections contribute to a sense of camaraderie and boost morale.

3. Foster a positive work culture

Cultivate a positive work environment by encouraging open communication, respect, and teamwork. Promote a culture of support, collaboration, and inclusivity where employees feel valued and motivated to contribute.

Improve employee morale at work with Friday Pulse

Employee wellbeing and morale are key elements in business success. At Friday Pulse we’ve seen first hand how developing measures to support employees, improve morale and promoting innovation affects the bottom line.

If you are interested in learning more on how Friday Pulse can help your organization improve low employee morale please contact our Relationship Manager, Megan, on or book in a demo.

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