What is Staff Morale?
Staff are often considered to be the #2 asset in our business because if we didn’t have them then essentially we would not have anyone to deliver or support our #1 asset, our businesses products and services. So, if our staff are not happy or do not have a positive morale, it is going to have a negative impact on our business in many different ways. But what is “Staff Morale”?
Staff morale is considered to be the emotions, attitude, satisfaction, and overall outlook of staff during their time in a workplace environment. Effective productivity is thought to be directly related to the motivation of your staff. Staff who are happy and positive at work are said to have positive or high staff morale. Companies that maintain staff who are dissatisfied and negative about their work environment are said to have negative or low staff morale.
The Theories Behind Motivation
Motivation is crucial to getting our staff stimulated and happy in the workplace. There are many theories that have been developed over the past few years which are believed to play a factor in motivation when it comes to people, and more specifically in this case, a staff member’s motivation and work morale. Let’s take a look at 2 theoretical foundations, firstly Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory.
Although we are in 2021, 1950’s theories still seem to apply! In the 1950’s Hertzberg developed the Two-Factor theory of Motivation which was based on research that motivation and hygiene both influence an employee’s satisfaction.
- Motivating Factors – These include factors which result in motivating employees to work harder and feel satisfied. Examples of Motivating Factors include achievement, recognition, room for growth and advancement, and can be found within the job itself.
- Hygiene Factors – Poor Hygiene factors are considered to be causes of employee dissatisfaction, and include company policies, work conditions, salary, security, and relationships. These factors generally surround the job.
Managers may use hygiene factors like salary or job security as tools to motivate staff to perform and that may be a successful motivator in the short term. Hertzberg’s Theory suggests that offering perks like a flexible work schedule and opportunities for promotion, advancement, and further learning can be much more effective for high staff morale in the long term, provided that your organisation removes any poor hygiene factors that cause employee dissatisfaction.
The Expectancy Theory
The second historical (1964) yet relevant theory that we see occurring today is the Vroom Expectancy Theory of Motivation. Vroom’s theory tells us that people will perform based on what they expect the outcome to be. For example, a person is more likely to work harder if they are told they can work a shorter amount of time, rather than if the staff assumes this. Similar to incentivising children for doing chores with chocolate or pocket money.
The Expectancy theory is based on three elements;
- Expectancy – The belief that your effort will result in the desired goal
- Instrumentality – The belief that you will be rewarded if you meet performance targets
- Valence – The value placed on the reward
Therefore, according to the theory, people are likely to work harder if there is a reward in place for their output (Possibly more than just their salary).
Remember that rewards are not only given in monetary value, but can also be in the form of flexi work. A reward can be anything, if the staff is satisfied with the benefit then they will give their best in completing the task. If staff are provided a flexi work schedule and told if they finish a task within a certain amount of time, shorter than that of a 9 hour working day, they will push to meet this deadline to reap the rewards of going home earlier. This should then hopefully result in higher work turnover and higher productivity.