Reduced operational efficiencies, high staff turnover and loss of profits are caused by low morale in the workforce. So, do we know what the true cost is to a company if they have an unhappy workforce, and is there anything companies can do to engender a positive workplace environment that works in favour of both the business and its staff?
Here, alongside team Chill Factore, who offer team-building activities on the slopes and a Santa’s Grotto in Manchester this winter, we take a look:
Unhappy staff: what do they cost a UK business?
Studies have found that if staff feel dejected in the work place, they are less productive. Considering that satisfied employees outperform companies with unhappy workers by 202%, it’s clearly beneficial for a company to take notice of the happiness of its staff. So, what features of unhappy staff affect the profit margin of a business? Personal Group, a staff services company, discovered that people who were happy with their job were 12% more productive than those who felt negatively about their role. Staff that aren’t satisfied will typically be less enthusiastic and involved — and this disengagement is reportedly costing the UK £85 billion a year in lost productivity, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce report.
Secondly, negative feelings caused by poor or long working hours can affect workplace performance. A poll carried out by The Hoxby Collective found that 33% of workers said they’d suffered mental health problems directly because of rigid working hours. If your staff are unfit for work, this will cost you. According to estimations by The Centre of Economic and Business Research, absenteeism alone will cost the UK economy £21 billion by 2020, while overworking your staff can also lead to exhaustion and lack of sleep — another contributor of poor productivity levels that costs the UK economy £40.3 billion a year. Consequently, it’s key to create a positive working environment that staff want to get up in the morning and work in if companies want to keep paid sick days to a minimum.
Evidently, low staff morale and feelings of anxiety or depression are linked. According to research from the Centre for Mental Health, it costs employers £3.1 billion in staff turnover and £10.6 billion in sickness just to cover mental health problems of staff in the workplace. From implementing staff perks and bonuses to creating a happy, communicative atmosphere; all employers should be investing in lowering the risk of mental health issues for their staff.
Essentially, if an employee is unhappy, then they will be less effective and likely leave the company. The Oxford Economics and Income Protection Providers Unum has calculated that the average amount of replacing a staff member sits at approximately £30,614 — taking into account hiring, lost time, training, and adapting new staff to the workplace culture. Can your business afford to keep covering or taking on new staff?
It’s clear that staff morale is vital to a business and employers can use many initiatives to boost happiness.
How you can make improvements to staff morale
An Investors in People poll found that nearly half of its 2,000 participants were thinking about job hunting because of poor management. It also found that 39% stated that it was because of feeling undervalued and 30% claimed the reason was lack of job development opportunities. Are these factors that you can explore as part of a business strategy to improve staff morale?
This shows that management is a great contributor why people choose to leave a company. Considering the cost of replacing staff, this is something you’ll want to reduce. Assess how your supervisors and managers treat and interact with their staff — could they do with having stronger relationships to encourage better communication? If so, consider scheduling a series of corporate team-building activities to help boost collaboration across all of your departments or organise onsite charity fundraisers, staff quizzes or regular nights out to inject a sociable aspect into the corporate environment.
Two other key aspects for job morale are training and development. Sending your staff on these will not only make them feel valued — another factor of workplace happiness — but should also mean your company will benefit from more knowledgeable and confident business decisions, which should prove lucrative in the long run.
Britain’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) report said that companies can boost their workers’ wellbeing through improving their job quality. Give your employees more authority over their working day — from how long it takes to complete a task properly, to how they schedule their day. This level of control and variety will help make workers feel more important and excited for the day ahead, while re-evaluating the time it takes to complete a task will lower the risk of them feeling rushed or stressed, thereby reducing the chance that they will take time off for anxiety-related issues.
Sick days are another issue which can cost a business significantly. It may be worth also trying to implement a strategy that focuses on improving the health of employees. The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence claims that a well-researched and managed wellness plan can reduce sick days by almost a third — which means the expense of covering shifts and reduced productivity levels will go down accordingly, too.
It’s clearly important that you keep your workforce happy if you want to reduce your costs due to sick days, lost productivity and high staff turnover rates. Show initiative and start implementing positive processes today to ensure that your staff feel happy, secure and valued at work.