10 Popular Causes of Low Employee Morale

Most certainly, employee morale is one of the most important, but most difficult, things to manage in a company. It is vital to attain and maintain a high level of morale to improve retention, but it is often difficult to have an accurate idea on how you people are feeling and what are the causes of their dissatisfaction. This can be a serious concern for your business, as unhappy staff would lead to poor customer service, lower productivity levels and retention issues. Well, you can solve such problem easier by identifying the popular causes of low employee morale.

1. Wasted Potential

Low morale would simply result from wasting talent, especially when you hire people for a job that they are overqualified for or that they have a different set of skills or interests than what their work requires. In this case, they can get easily bored or frustrated with their tasks, where they would end up being more concerned about leaving your company rather than doing a good job. Not only this, but it could also rob them of their ability to reach their true potential. So, find appropriate positions for your employees to avoid unfavorable results.

2. Poor Employee Treatment

Often cited as a cause of morale issues, poor management can come in many forms, and one of them is the failure to treat employees appropriately. One example of this is when a manager acts as though an employee is fortunate enough to have a job, instead of respecting him/her and his/her work.

3. Closed Communication

If your workplace does not allow an open line of communication to the management, then you are risking staff morale. Making your employees feel like they are kept away from communicating with their leaders will present opportunities for rumors to break out and will create resentment. This means that you should often provide your employees with insights into ways of improving office procedures or your service or product, otherwise you will have legitimate staff issues. If they do not feel comfortable with approaching your managers or yourself neither have their concerns or ides heard, then you are running the risk of having problems fester or missing out on creative concepts. Make sure you set up guidelines that allow your people to know how to discuss issues with other people or privately and never make them feel like they are doing something wrong by doing so.

4. Unreasonable Workload

While most of your employees understand that workloads can go up and down, requiring a member of your staff to keep up with unreasonable workload for long periods of time can result to burnout and resentment. This is especially true when you are downsizing on a recession and simply expecting your people to take on more work without even recognizing their effort.

5. Not Recognizing Hard Work

While not each of your employees would respond to the same type of recognition, most of them would be happy to have their efforts recognized in some way. This does not only imply that they are meeting and even exceeding expectations, but also gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work.

6. Unclear and Misunderstood Expectations

Confusion can certainly bring down employee morale, where your people would be unmotivated and frustrated from not knowing what they are working towards. As you can see, you should give regular feedback to your employees to let them know where they stand and what your expectations from them are. When employees lack clear guidance, they will tend to perform poorly by your standards and will experience a decrease in morale as they would start to think they are just wasting their time and the organization’s as a whole.

7. Ill-Defined Employee Development Plan

When you hire employees, they would have a long-term vision for what roles and responsibilities they would take as time passes by. When your company and your people are on the same page, then you should have a clear employee development plans in place, stating that they would be taking on new roles in the future. The failure to do this will run a high risk of your employees feeling dissatisfied and being unable to perform to their full potential in their individual tasks. Then, they would begin searching for other companies to find new opportunities. Thus, you should provide a clear line of how your people will develop their career with you and achieve their goals.

8. Changing Goals

Understandably, your employees would get frustrated if your set goals are constantly changing, especially when this occurs even before the first goal is accomplished or when the new goals contradict the old, which makes obsolete their previous work. Constant changes would also exhaust your employees who are trying to perform well. Remember that having them to focus all their time and energy onto accomplishing a certain goal and suddenly discarding it for a new one can result in discouragement and a sense of lack of accomplishment.

9. Lack of Trust on Employees to Complete Work

Usually, this manifests in micromanagement or in a work environment where employees do not feel that they have any leeway. Take note that your people would prefer to do their assignments as best as possible and be allowed to make the right call without having their decisions often called into question. Respectively, your employees should also feel free to ask questions without receiving negative repercussions as much as possible.

10. High Turnover Rates

When you are experiencing high turnovers, it would put undue stress on your entire organization, where the remaining employees would have to pick up the slack. Additionally, this would also cause the remaining employees to lose confidence in their job security.


Surprisingly, salary does not factor as high as some people might guess when it comes to affecting morale levels, but it still needs to be reasonable and should reflect employee work quality and responsibility level, as there would be more issues and frustrations to contend with if unreasonable compensation is coupled with any of the things listed above. So, make it right and avoid these mishaps to assure your company of a good level of employee morale.