Morale is one of those hazy issues that keep managers and business owners awake at night. In part, this stems from the fact that you can’t trace morale back to just one factor. It’s a response to a range of issues that include job security, compensation, and even a company’s outsourcing policies. The other reason it keeps people up at night is that low morale is inextricably tied to higher rates of workplace injuries and accidents. What is the connection?
The simplest way to define engagement is to say that it means employees care. Engaged employees tend to show good morale. They care about their job, the company, or the vision the company strives toward. People who care tend to read things like safety rules at face value. We don’t do this, or we do this because it’s the safest way.
Disengaged employees, meaning employees who don’t care, are far more likely to ignore those rules. They may do it to get things done more quickly. Some may even ignore them to spite their managers or supervisors. Here’s a chilling factoid. Around 70 percent of American employees are disengaged.
Low employee morale triggers a high rate of employee turnover. This is often a byproduct of stress from the workplace. If, for example, employees see their coworkers getting injured, it causes stress. This can also make poor morale worse because it seems like management doesn’t care if employees get hurt.
If your employees develop a mindset like this, it can lead them to seek employment elsewhere. Even if you replace them with an experienced worker, there’s an adjustment period while the new person finds their groove. That period where they’re not quite in sync with everyone else can create situations that lead to injuries.
A common thread in employee polls is a desire for more feedback. Most employees want to know if they’re doing well and, if not, where they can improve. They want more communication from the top of the organization. Even if it’s just a monthly state of the business update from the CEO or owner. They want praise. Most people would also like more money, especially if they’re paid less than others in similar positions.
Poor morale ties directly to poor workplace safety. Unhappy, disengaged employees don’t put in the effort to follow the rules or even ignore them on purpose. Once workplace injuries start happening, it creates a sense that management doesn’t care. Also, if that’s not true, employees believe it. The most straightforward fix is more consistent feedback and communication from the top.
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