Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

What Are the Causes of Low Employee Morale?

Low employee morale can be crippling for any business, and low morale or high anxiety is directly linked to low productivity, according to This in turn results in lower profits, putting the business in danger of being financially unstable. There are a number of factors that influence and cause low employee morale, and being aware of what they are means that you can take steps to avoid them.

Poor Leadership

A leader is supposed to set a good example in any organisation. If a manager or supervisor is seen to be behaving in a poor way, such as exhibiting laziness or blatantly breaking company policies, employees can become unhappy. This is especially the case if the manager is a repeat offender but does not seem to be disciplined for his actions.

To overcome this, those in higher management must keep a close eye on all members of staff to ensure that they are pulling their weight and setting an example for others.

Low Accountability

If the company is in financial difficulty, or if its reputation has been damaged by a recent event or incident, employees can experience lower morale if nobody is held accountable for mistakes that have been made. They can grow disgruntled at the lack of urgency by those in higher authority in taking disciplinary action against those who have made costly mistakes.

Employee Conflict

Employee morale can be lowered if there is a lot of fighting within teams, departments or the business as a whole. Continued arguments and conflict can produce a negative atmosphere in which it is very difficult to work productively.

Managers should be aware of any conflict within their teams and take urgent steps to speak to the parties involved to reach an amicable agreement to prevent affecting the morale of others.

Lack of Appreciation

If an employee has produced an outstanding piece of work, or has been continually impressive and incisive over a long period of time, they may suffer reduced morale if they feel that they have not been suitably rewarded for their efforts. This feeling of not being appreciated results in the employee being less inclined to work as hard in the future. Managers should ensure that members of their team, or the team as a whole, are rewarded upon the production of an excellent piece of work.

Lack of Progression Prospects

It is safe to say that every employee on the lower rungs of the career ladder is always looking to further their careers when possible, and they can suffer from low morale if they find themselves working for a company where they have limited career prospects. Perhaps managers always recruit from outside the business, or favouritism within the company makes it highly likely that you will be passed over for promotion; a number of factors regarding the lack of obvious career progression prospects can result in reduced morale.

No Communication

Employees may become disheartened and lose morale if they feel that those in management positions are not communicating with them regarding important business information. This becomes worse if the media is reporting stories and rumours about the business and employees are not being told the facts in an honest and open manner.

Managers and supervisors must always ensure that they communicate openly, honestly and fully with their teams.

Lack of a Clear Vision

A team can become disillusioned and confused if they are not given a clear business objective to work towards. This can result in conflict and infighting as each team member voices his opinion on how the team should be progressing and what they should be working on. Managers must always communicate the objectives and aims of the business in a clear manner to their employees.

High Workload

If employees are overworked, or have a workload that is unmanageable, they can suffer from reduced morale. This is due to the fact that they can not see a "light at the end of the tunnel," and no matter how hard they work they never seem to be able to control or manage their workload.

Managers should ensure that tasks are spread evenly throughout the team, and you as an individual should learn to politely refuse requests for additional work and delegate work to others if your task list begins to grow out of control.

Job Insecurity

Especially prevalent in poor economic climates, if an employee feels that their position may be at risk of redundancy, this could lead to reduced morale and lower productivity. Rumours will be rife amongst employees, with gossip and hearsay perhaps adding to the distress of the individual.

Those in higher management should talk honestly to their employees if there are any threats of cutbacks or redundancies so that everyone has all of the information that they need and fully understands the situation.