What influences employee morale?

Human Resource professionals understand how important employee morale is to having a happy, productive, and stable workforce. But how do you go about improving employee morale at your company? Here at SurveyMonkey, we recently conducted a study on the factors that influence employee morale for HR professionals and employees in other departments. By examining the results of these two groups across generations, we came up with some answers that may be eye-opening.

 1. Satisfactory work-life balance

In our survey, a satisfactory work-life balance came out as the most important workplace element for both groups, with 53% of surveyed workers considering it extremely important and 60% of human resources employees agreeing. To ensure a satisfactory work-life balance at your organization, consider these tips:

  • Provide flexible schedules. Flexible scheduling can have a big impact on an employee’s decision to take a job and whether or not they choose to stay at a company. In fact, this ranks as the most important job perk among millennials, Generation-Xers, and baby boomers. And more than half of all employees say they would actually be willing to change jobs for flextime.
  • Allow employees to work remotely. Employees rank this as the second most important benefit across generations: 32% for Generation-Xers, 31% for baby boomers, and 25% for millennials.
  • Offer time off. Your workers need time off for vacations, sick days, and to manage personal issues. Time off from work lowers stress, increases health, and leads to happier, more productive employees.

2. Meaningful work

In the modern workplace, employees rank meaningful work as the second most important workplace element; HR representatives, on the other hand, rank it 12th. This indicates that Human Resource departments need to rethink their approach on soliciting new hires and keeping current employees happy. Giving your employees meaningful work has additional benefits as well. We’ve found that companies that offer a strong sense of purpose and a values-driven culture are more likely to have a positive work culture and a lower rate of employee burnout. Here’s what the data tells us:

  • 94% of employees who feel their work is meaningful have not experienced work burnout within the last 6 months, while 75% of those who don’t feel they have meaningful work have.
  • 93% of workers who feel proud of the work they do haven’t experienced work burnout within the last 6 months, while 80% of those who aren’t proud of the work they do have.

3. Workplace benefits

Most HR workers rank workplace benefits as the second most important element for influencing employee morale while workers rank it third. This shows that when considering whether to take a new job or stay at an existing one, employer benefits still matter a great deal. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute:

  • Health insurance is most important. 64% of those surveyed in both 2015 and 2016 ranked this benefit first, while 65% did so in 2014.
  • Retirement savings plans come in second. Employees ranked this as second highest, at 45% in 2016 and 40% in both 2014 and 2015.
  • Dental and/or vision care comes in third. Employees ranked these benefits as third in importance, with 37% considering them extremely important in 2016, 33% in 2015, and 30% in 2014.

4. Compensation package

Here, employees and HR representatives agree, both placing the compensation package as fourth in importance, with 54% of HR and 42% of employees ranking it as extremely important. Salary however, ranks as the most important factor overall when accepting a new job, with 33% of Generation-Xers and 34% of baby boomers placing it first. Only millennials rank it second, at 28%, with opportunities for career growth coming in first for them at 36%.

5. A valued voice 

This came in fifth in importance among employees surveyed, with 39% ranking it as very important. For HR representatives, it came in third, with 56% ranking it as extremely important. While today’s workers do want to have a voice at work, the previous factors mentioned above are currently more important in shaping their attitude toward their job.

6. Path for advancement

Human Resource representatives clearly rank this fifth in importance, with 52% feeling it is extremely important. However, its overall rank among employees is 13th, with just 27% saying it is extremely important. This indicates that Human Resource staff need to consider other factors when it comes to keeping current employees and hiring new ones.

If you are interested in improving employee morale, understanding how these factors influence your employees at work is crucial. While our survey results provide a starting point, you may want to create your own survey to evaluate the specific factors that your employees feel have the most impact on their morale in the workplace. Listening and taking action on this feedback ultimately puts you in the best position possible for improving morale and making your organization a desirable place to work.

Need help getting started? Check out our employee survey templates and find the right questions to put in your questionnaire.