Why low morale creates poor productivity in the workplace

Gary Bartley
Gary Bartley
September 16th 2019 - 3 Minute Read

Imagine a typical employee in your workforce. How do they feel about coming to work? If it’s more damp squib than flames of passion, the likelihood is they’re not alone. Did you know 36% of those employees are planning to leave your company in the next year? And the real price of high staff turnover can cost more than cash alone.

The UK has an engagement deficit, ranking 9th in the world’s 12 largest economies. But at what cost? UK worker output is only 80% of other G7 nations. Unhappy employees are less productive and as a result, are costing you money. It seems the two go hand in hand. Low morale and poor productivity often begin and end in losing good employees, but why?


Employees question their situation

High staff churn is a catalyst. When large swathes of the team leave, the people left behind are reconsidering their own circumstances. Are they valued and appreciated? Does their work matter? Are they paid their worth? Could they get a better deal elsewhere? These questions will only surface in the mind of an unhappy employee. Happy employees won’t go in search of greener pastures if they don’t need to.


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High staff turnover undermines employees’ value

When new colleagues are constantly coming and going it sends a signal to employees that they are replaceable. Not ideal for making people feel appreciated or valued in their role. If there’s a negative feeling in one area of the business, this can be quick to spread. Your employees’ passion, confidence and motivation are what drives innovation. If collectively the whole team is questioning that, where does that leave you?


High staff turnover reduces productivity in your workforce

Let’s face it if you don’t feel good about something you’re not likely to put your heart and soul into it. And there’s plenty of figures to back that up. One4all did a survey and found 39% of employees admitted they would work harder if they were happier in their work. Engage for Success calculated there are 20 million British workers not realising their full potential in the workplace. That is a huge percentage of the workforce, how many of them work in your business? Low morale is also linked with higher rates of absenteeism which costs the UK over £18bn annually.


Burnout of existing employees

If your existing employees are constantly picking up the work of the leavers they experience an increase in workload and pressure but receive no additional reward or thanks. If that stress and pressure continue to grow it can be hugely detrimental to the wellbeing of the employee, leading to emotional and physical exhaustion. Not only is this damaging for them but to the business. 46% of human resource leaders say employee burnout is responsible for up to half of their annual workforce turnover. Being chronically and regularly understaffed, or unsupported by adequately trained team members puts too much pressure on the rest of the team.


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Creates conflict

Another side effect of low morale is an increase in workplace hostility. If high staff turnover means the pressure’s on because you’re understaffed or relationships with management begin to fray, tensions will undoubtedly rise. Poor retention means your HR function will already be juggling trying to recruit replacements, their regular day to day tasks and putting out fires where arising conflict is concerned. This also means existing employees might not get the support they need from an already overstretched HR team.


But it’s not all doom and gloom

High staff turnover, as damaging as it is, is controllable. And because employee happiness and productivity are so interlinked it pays to care how your employees feel.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Find out how one company reduced their employee turnover by 42%, and how you can do the same 


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Gary Bartley

Gary is on a mission to help businesses understand the role that customer and employee happiness plays in their success.

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