Watch out for a lack of support in the workplace — and other issues
A number of factors can jeopardize employee morale
Some are fairly obvious — busy periods, for example, can leave workers feeling frazzled. Layoffs that may be necessary during downturns can cause job security concerns.
Companies may not realize, however, that they’re leaving themselves exposed to a number of other, subtler employee satisfaction risks, which can begin to become a problem even when workers appear to be content.
Seemingly innocuous things such as how often employees are thanked for the work they do — or a particularly chilly winter — can have an impact on their mindset and moods.
Employers may not be able to control the weather; before any damage is done, though, they can try to eradicate some of the following employee happiness threats:
A lack of respect for the company employees work for
Feeling a sense of pride in their company is the top happiness driver for a number of employee groups — American and Canadian workers; male and female employees; and workers age 35 to 55 and older, according to Robert Half research that evaluated 12,000-plus U.S. and Canadian professionals’ happiness levels.
Trust is essential to earn respect. Less than half of full-time workers between age 19 and 69, though, place a great deal of trust in their employer, boss or colleagues, according to a global EY survey. To restore their confidence, companies may want to consider instituting oversight to ensure managers and the organization as a whole are held accountable for delivering on the promises they make — something the majority of respondents said was very important in determining the level of trust they place in their employer. Communicating openly and transparently, which 59 percent of workers identified as a very important factor in establishing trust, may also help.
Coworkers and bosses who won’t back them up
Only 36 percent of employees say their supervisors can be counted on to provide encouragement and help — which can be a problem, according to survey involving employees in 19 industries from the nonprofit Mental Health America association. A perceived lack of support in the workplace contributes to higher levels of stress and isolation and strongly correlates with a reduced sense of employee happiness.
While more than 93 percent of managers say they try to understand their team’s needs, only 48 percent of employees feel they’re succeeding, according to a 2017 YouGov survey. An increased focus on treating employees with respect and dignity — encouraging them to contribute, listening to their ideas and respecting their time, one of the factors a 2012 study found was a common reason workers feel disrespected — could improve the situation.
A recent survey involving U.S. workers found more than a third feel winter negatively affects their mood at work; the effect is reportedly more noticeable in cold-climate cities. While employers can’t move every employee to a warmer locale, companies may be able to help them reduce the negative effect cold weather can have on their outlook by encouraging workers to exercise during lunch — possibly by subsidizing a gym membership, for instance — and snack on fresh foods, according to Accountemps, the survey’s sponsor.
In addition to determining a number of employees suffer from a lack of support in the workplace, Mental Health America’s survey found employee perks — such as flexible time arrangements and professional development opportunities — can promote positivity in the office and have the biggest influence on job satisfaction and engagement.
If your amenities could use some fine-tuning, our blog posts on what employees want that you’re not providing, 10 inexpensive ways to improve your value proposition and how to compete with companies that offer big work perks might provide some inspiration.
For more ways to build trust in the workplace, view our posts on utilizing volunteer opportunities to enhance employee happiness and pride, respecting employees’ time off, 4 ways company pride can invigorate engagement and the connection between reduced work-related stress and employees feeling more respected.