Why Team Morale Matters
Morale is the psychological state of an individual which is expressed in their self-confidence, enthusiasm, and loyalty to an organisation. When applied to the workforce, team morale refers to the degree to which teams feel good about their work and working environment – this includes:
- – Enthusiasm and engagement for work;
- – A dedication to shared goals;
- – Positive experiences shared with other employees in the workplace.
Team morale is a pivotal factor for Australian workforces. Why? This state of psychological being has been shown to be a major contributor to job satisfaction, engagement, productivity, and motivation.
Recently, an Australian survey found that just over two thirds of Australian employees identify high team morale as the greatest indicator of wellbeing in the workplace. Additionally, recent survey research shows that companies with high employee engagement are over 20% more productive than their counterparts.
On an economic front, these gains can translate straight into higher organisational performance. For example, one study found that the stock market gain of 11 high-morale organisations was 240% better than the average stock prices of companies in the same industry.
Consequences of Poor Team Morale
Leaders and organisations who fail to address a poor team morale environment will likely face one or more of the following:
- – Poor communication between management and teams
- – Increased absenteeism and turnover
- – Increased employee conflicts
- – Employees experiencing stress and stress-related difficulties
- – Poor work quality and low productivity
- – Lack of inspiration, creativity, and innovation
How to Enhance Team Morale
To improve morale in the workplace there is a large onus on leaders. Leaders need to create a culture of trust. To improve trust, leaders need to role model, allocate resources accordingly, do what they say they are going to do, be authentic, foster openness and be consistent in their actions. Furthermore, leaders must ensure transparency and open communication when it comes to organisational matters.
On the training level, organisations should develop and train leaders so they can seek and develop unique talents and attributes in their teams. Having leaders who can identify these attributes and build on them with the individual can naturally increase morale and engagement.
Lastly, leaders should aim to care and recognise the good. They should try to get personal with their teams – try and get to know their stories and experiences. Furthermore, when an employee is doing something well – let them know. The power of simple recognition can go a long way in boosting team morale.
Open Communication Skills
Effective communication is another critical element to improving low team morale. Effective communication includes communicating a clear vision, allowing anyone to speak up about concerns and inputs, and allowing for feedback and improvement.
One method of doing this is by conducting stay interviews  in which managers interview employees to establish what is making them stay and what needs improvement – this process can make an employee and team feel extremely valued, BUT you must act on some or all of what you find out.
Another key communication approach ties back to trust (as mentioned earlier) – it is crucial to ensure that company information is kept transparent and informed to teams clearly. Other communication strategies include regular consistent staff meetings, dedicating time to one-on-one conversations, encouraging the team to ask questions, and acting on any feedback that is provided.
Recognition and Reward
Recognition and reward ties into the two previous points. Merging this into your leadership and communication styles can boost morale. Steps an organisation can take include:
- – Delegation of authority and tasks. This can increase feelings of belonging, confidence, value, and appreciation, which in turn can enhance productivity.
- – Improve working arrangements: This can include encouraging and providing employees with extra time off, which will help them focus on personal endeavours and feel more personally fulfilled. Working from home can also be offered in this space.
- – Provide plenty of development and growth opportunities, such as extra training, external micro credentialing, and mentoring programs.
- – Show your team that their work links back to the organisation’s values and purpose. Finds ways to display how achieving team goals has directly affected the business goals of the organisation.
Evidently, team morale requires effective team dynamics and cohesion. This can be achieved by increasing the frequency of interactions between team members, providing ample opportunities to discuss group goals, and establishing a healthy amount of competition between other teams. Furthermore, providing opportunities for teams to interact outside of the normal working environment can encourage employees to focus less on work and build more personal relationships throughout the team.
How Performance Science can help with improving team morale
Understanding team dynamics and morale is unique to every organisation. At Performance Science we have worked with different companies from a range of industries. We specialise in team development workshops, building high performing teams, team selection, and team climate. We work with leaders and teams to reflect on what they bring as individuals to the team, as well as what they bring as a unit to the performance.
Our practical experience and evidence-based approach will ensure that we benefit your teams in the best way possible to ensure optimal morale for your organisation.
If you would like to know more on how we can help you and your organisation learn more about our team development workshops in Perth.
 Matsaung, R. G. (2014). Factors Influencing the morale of employees at the greater Tzaneen municipality (Doctoral dissertation, University of Pretoria).
 Baumgartner, K. H. (2015). Stay interviews: an exploratory study of stay interviews as a retention tool (Doctoral dissertation).