In your experience, what has been the greatest cause of low morale in the workplace?
Was it low pay, lack of recognition or appreciation, horrible colleagues, a bad boss, or some other unusual reason? Please share your experience in handling low morale.
Living under the threat of a merger for years when every Friday could be your last day of work.
That's what I call major stress, Old Poolman. Knowing one can lose their livelihood at any given moment is definitely a morale killer. Strangely, I hadn't thought of that reason. Thanks for reminding me about what's at stake these days.
Fortunately I was able to stay long enough to qualify for early retirement and I did just that. Many who stayed lost everything and were told to come back when they reached 65 and they could start collecting their pensions.
Wow. I feel really badly for those poor souls who decided to stay. Talk about depressing! I'm glad you weren't one of them, Mike.
That's really true, Mike, When I worked for a small state agency, we faced dissolution every biennial. When we merged with a huge agency, that no longer happens, but office politics in the large one became brutal. One stress exchanged for another.
One of the things I always hated was having to deal with people who had their jobs because of who they knew and not because they knew the job or did it well. There's just no way to win when the incompetent person you have to deal with is untouchable because of their connection to the "powers that be".
Cissy, I too have experienced that many times; it's enough to make a person want to tear their hair out. Incompetence, without any repercussions, drives me a little bit crazy.
People in management positions with no management skills. Often they are in those positions for the very reason you gave.
I was going to say the traditional answers like "feeling like the cog in a machine," $$ or "not appreciated," but Poolman touched on something.
In the modern workplace (post 2000), I think the issue is constant change. There is an "adapt or die" mentality that has seeped into the business world psyche. It has replaced the notion of creating a good product.
That is the complaint that I hear the most from my colleagues and I bet is the source of much of the stress in the workplace. What's next," is the constant refrain. Whether it's because of competitors or just a bored CEO, the pace quickens every year. I've been lucky, as I experienced issues like this my whole career. Changing workplaces, bosses and the threat of layoffs/closure were dealt with early in my life.
It is the new normal but I don't think we as humans were designed for continuous skill set changes.
Sharing. Great question.
Great answer and I agree, CJ. Corporations need to realize that they need to play to our strengths. Once we are required to do everything else besides, productivity goes down, not up. Poolman truly touched on something important.
Liberals value novelty above what works, and rush to embrace the new thing as better - even if it is just a renamed old product/service/methodology. Businesses thus recycle lean, six sigma, employee engagement under new names, chopping and changing
Thanks Savvy. Everyone had great answers. It's so personal. Tamara, you are correct. I see execs doing the "new thing" all the time to no avail.
* money is tight so we're lowering pay, it will go back up when we say so, you agree to it by continuing to work here
* in the name of diversity and tolerance, we will have diversity seminars hosted by people who say all whites are racist, all men are sexist, all cis-gender people and heterosexuals are phobic - what do you mean you oppose being guilt tripped for demographic characteristics that aren't your fault? You horrible evil person, no raise for you. Point out facts that contradict us? FBI stats on interracial crime are hate facts, reprimand.
* we want everyone to be open and honest, and then HR leader pushes people to share personal information in order to "bond", has a no gossip policy but has several women stand up and talk about husbands leave them for men (so that homosexual tolerance will theoretically improve). Say anything other than yeah homosexuality, so glad he's happy, get slapped down as phobic. And the company has invited everyone to hear and talk about a woman with four kids whose husband wants to cheat on the side with a man, the woman with a thirty year marriage over because he abandoned her for a man, the guy whose teen son came out as homosexual and now wants to be a girl - in the name of helping them, you aren't allowed to say anything other than official and enforced "tolerant" views. Get asked to express your views and say you don't think these personal and sexual topics are appropriate for a workplace, get disciplined as a violation of HR police. And thus, the honesty policy was a total lie.
Horrible colleagues, bad boss, and basically a HELLISH work environment. I've suffered 3 nervous breakdowns, all job-related. All the money and perks in the world cannot make up for this. Anyone who cares about their company needs to address the problem of TROUBLEMAKERS!!!
I would put it as horrible colleagues, particularly those who devote everything they do to consolidating informal authority, or control over the boss. Everything becomes a game of power for them. The most innocuous words could blow up into big-time absurd scandals. Worse, the moment anything screws up, you are thrown into the fire to absorb the blame. You spend every working day being no more than a pawn.
When you're expected to be able to do everything when you haven't been given the training to do anything.
I work for Walmart and we get new cashiers who aren't given the training to do their job. Then they quit right away because it seems too hard. It isn't hard if you've been trained.
It also sucks that our management doesn't understand what goes on in the front line of our store. They don't understand our problems because they never come down to our level.
Apart from low pay, lack of participation / involvement and lack of appreciation may be the main cause of low morale in the workplaces. The moment that the employees begin to feel that they are not appreciated and that they’re only on board to row then it is the end of their morale.
You said "in your experience". The biggest cause of low morale that I've encountered is office politics. When a triumvirate of employees is allowed to run amuck over the rest of the branch office, and the top executive who is not on the premises aids and abets them, it is devastating. Instead of calling in the accused and asking for their sides of the stories told on them, they were punished for the false tattling. This affected the whole office, including the branch manager, who was also a victim. Even the employees who weren't directly affected were indirectly affected by the morale in the toilet and the fear that it could happen to them next.
I did say that and I can relate to what you have said here. Office politics is devastating to morale---no doubt about it! It is a shame that many companies are not at all cognizant of what it takes to boost morale and to keep it strong and steady.
Have just now seen this question. There are as many causes of low Morale in the workforce as there are employees. Low wages, Incompetent Supervisors, Stupid Rules of conduct and Low safety concerns to name just a few. However the main cause is always attitude. The attitude of our boss or upper echelon down to the attitude of our coworkers and of course of ourselves. Some companies seem to go to great length to promote an a group attitude of distrust and suspicion in the workforce. They have then got a culture that has an ever decreasingly poor Morale.
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