Boosting Employee Morale And Productivity In The Workplace

An article outlining practical strategies and initiatives to enhance employee morale and boost workplace productivity

February 20, 2024
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Employee morale is the perception and attitude of employees toward their work. It is critical to a company's success because a happy and motivated workforce translates to enhanced productivity in the workplace. 

Happy employees are 13% more productive, according to a recent report by Oxford University's business school and BT.

Interestingly, the culture of a workplace has a significant impact on the morale of its employees. As a result, modern HR management strives to create a positive work environment that motivates, increases productivity, and fosters employee commitment. There is an increasing trend in workplace culture that focuses on balancing work and personal life.

Since employees’ personal lives can impact their morale and productivity, promoting a culture that recognizes their needs lays the foundation for long-term organizational success and sustainability.

In this article, we'll highlight the signs of demotivated employees and discuss strategies for boosting employee morale.

What Are The Signs Of Demotivated Employees?

For every organization, low employee morale is a significant concern.

A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report revealed a steady decline in employee productivity. Hence, It is crucial to recognize signs of demotivation among employees. 

Critical indicators help you recognize demotivated employees. They include:

  1. Decreased Productivity
  2. Lack of Initiative
  3. Increased Absenteeism
  4. Negative Attitude
  5. Social Withdrawal
  6. Lack of Enthusiasm
  7. Poor Performance
  1. Decreased productivity 

Low productivity is a tell-tale sign of demotivation, particularly among top-performing employees.

When employees responsible for preparing sales reports fail to complete them, it can lead to several issues. These can range from delayed decision-making to restricted processes to limited information essential for gaining insights.

So, when you notice a drop in work quality, it’s important to investigate the cause. It could be burnout, inefficient management, poor salary structure, low morale, or a mix. According to a study by the American Journal of Management Science and Engineering, motivation is the most effective means of boosting employee productivity.

  1. Lack of initiative 

Taking the lead on tasks is a desirable quality every employer needs their employees to have.

Engaged employees can carry out their duties with minimal or no supervision, but when employees cannot tackle challenges and proffer solutions using their initiatives, it indicates decreased employee morale. 

At times, lack of initiative stems from the fact that the roles and responsibilities of employees need to be better defined. Conversely, demotivated employees don’t exert themselves beyond the scope of their assigned duties.

  1. Increased absenteeism 

Employees may be absent due to factors beyond their control, such as family emergencies, illness, injury, or severe weather conditions. However, when absenteeism becomes frequent, It's a sign that employees are getting disengaged and need motivation. 

 On average, absenteeism costs employers about $225.8 billion every year. So, it’s important to monitor employees who take multiple absences within two weeks.

  1. Negative attitude 

A negative attitude toward work is another sign of decreased motivation among employees. Employees acting like their jobs are insignificant to them indicates low morale. Also, negative attitudes toward work can occur if employees perceive that the company doesn’t appreciate their efforts.

Apathetic employees can also influence productivity among other employees because they tend not to work collaboratively. Therefore, the earlier companies determine the root causes of these attitudes, the better for your overall organization.

  1. Social Withdrawal 

Demotivated employees are always in bad moods; this affects their interpersonal relationships with coworkers. Hence, they become socially withdrawn. 

In addition, unmotivated employees are frequently involved in workplace-related conflicts. These conflicts are due to personality and behavior changes brought about by their low motivation levels. They can also arise due to employee burnout.

A combination of hostile, aggressive, and isolated behaviors characteristic of withdrawn employees can lead to toxicity, hindering productivity and respect in the workplace. It's essential to address such situations promptly.

  1. Lack of enthusiasm 

When employees who are usually active in staff meetings, asking questions, and making valuable contributions stop doing all these, it should raise concern. In addition to knowing the issue early enough to solve it, it allows you to show genuine care to your employees.

  1. Poor performance 

According to Gallup, companies with motivated and engaged employees experience a 17% increase in productivity. Declining work quality indicates issues with employee engagement and productivity. Unmotivated employees procrastinate, miss deadlines, and turn in mediocre reports. 

So, motivating employees is an excellent way to improve employee performance. 

Strategies For Boosting Employee Morale

You must take proactive steps to address demotivation. Knowing how to motivate employees is a necessary leadership skill that guarantees substantial economic boosts.

A vital element of a thriving business strategy is having fool-proof techniques for improving employee morale.  In a recent survey by WorkTango, approximately 65% of HR professionals highlighted enhancing employee morale as a top priority. 

There are proven strategies for boosting employee morale. They include:

  1. Recognition and Appreciation.
  2. Clear Communication.
  3. Work-Life Balance.
  4. Professional Development Opportunities.
  5. Employee Wellness Programs.
  6. Team Building Activities.
  1. Recognition and appreciation

When increasing employee morale, employee recognition and appreciation are non-negotiable. Genuinely appreciating hard-working employees for their input is an effective means of addressing demotivation in the workplace. 

However, you can express employee appreciation formally during routine check-ins or annual general meetings informally via shout-outs on your organization’s intranet or through recognition initiatives such as employee appreciation day and week. According to Glassdoor, 53% of employees stay longer if they feel appreciated by their managers. Likewise, teams do well when team members feel that their co-workers value their input. 

Employee recognition is the most potent stimulator for employee engagement and performance. It is crucial to establish a culture of employee recognition in the workplace by routinely publicly appreciating employee contributions. And, an excellent means of making employee recognition an integral part of your company's culture is setting up a fully functional employee recognition program using recognition software like Assembly

Assembly offers a platform for managers and employees to recognize outstanding colleagues through peer-to-peer recognition or numerous employee recognition ideas. You can send messages of gratitude directly to deserving employees or celebrate them publicly on the platform. Try it Today.

  1. Clear communication 

Employee connection is affected when communication is poor across boards. Ineffective communication in the workplace breeds confusion, lack of direction, and increased feelings of isolation. The impact is often felt more in a virtual work environment. 

Precise and transparent communication is vital to giving employees a sense of purpose and keeping them engaged and well-motivated. Hence, schedule regular check-ins with employees where you communicate how their tasks contribute to realizing your company's objectives, discuss work progress, examine obstacles, and develop solutions. 

More importantly, communication during staff meetings should be a two-way format, allowing employees to contribute their own two cents and request clarifications. Doing this helps clear up ambiguity, resolve focus, and enhance engagement. According to Forbes, employees who feel their voices are heard are five times more motivated to achieve their best results.

  1. Work-life balance 

Work-life balance is a vital component of a positive company culture. According to a report by HR Drive, 20% of Americans spend an average of five hours per week thinking about their health, finances, and families. Over time, these five hours can have a cumulative negative effect on their morale.

It is essential to focus on employees' well-being and mental health as it can help improve their morale. When interacting with employees, it's crucial to consider their personal lives. Be observant of any changes in their behavior and try to understand the reasons behind these changes. 

Providing flexible work hours, paid time off, and remote work options are effective ways to help employees balance their personal lives and their jobs. Freeing up enough time for them to address emotional issues and be mentally fit to perform daily work tasks. 

The ultimate goal is to establish a positive and stress-free work environment promoting work-life balance.

  1. Professional development opportunities

Continuous learning stimulates employee engagement, according to a report by LinkedIn. It provides employees with the necessary skill sets to progress and succeed in their careers, improving the quality of their work output. 

Career advancement opportunities are a powerful stimulus for boosting employee engagement - a recipe for employee happiness. Highly skilled employees display more enthusiasm and confidence at work. Therefore, utilizing online professional development courses to address employee knowledge gaps is good practice. These modern performance management systems also allow employees to gain new skills. 

Assembly’s professional development platform provides an organization’s workforce access to high-quality learning resources about their area of expertise via personalized employee portals. Its learning management platform offers a much broader range of spread, ease of access, and content quality. Begin your free trial today.

  1. Employee wellness programs

Investing in employee wellness programs promotes a healthy workplace, especially for remote working. They also provide an avenue for team bonding and help reduce your organization's healthcare expenditure. 

A wellness program can boost employee activity and improve mental alertness. Fitness and yoga sessions can help employees clear their minds and reduce work-related anxiety. Thus, it improves the physical and psychological well-being of employees.

As a pro-tip, have your employees take the lead on your wellness initiatives; an experienced yoga master could be amongst your workforce.

  1. Team building activities

A cohesive team is a motivated team. According to a report by Business Daily, 36% of employees say that working with a friend makes them more excited to go to work. 

Team building is a deliberate action that requires effort. It involves designing fun and engaging team bonding in-person and virtual activities to foster a positive workplace culture and promote productive collaboration. These activities can include brainstorming sessions, generating innovative ideas, and problem-solving.

Participating in events such as interdepartmental games, team outings, and happy hours can help employees relax, enjoy time with their colleagues, and develop a positive attitude toward their jobs. Even if employees work virtually, HR tools like Assembly can help remote employees connect and bond through virtual team-building games. Check them out.

Commonly Asked Questions About Employee Morale

Undoubtedly, employee morale is a front-burner topic for every organization's HR department and leadership. Hence, it's vital to address some of the frequently asked questions on employee morale, which include:

  1. How can I motivate my staff without money?

While cash gifts are a common way of incentivizing employees, taking action based on their feedback can be another effective way of motivating them.

Ask employees for input on important workflow aspects, such as welfare packages, flexible working hours, and extended lunch breaks. Then, based on the feedback received, develop strategies to implement the suggested changes. Responding to feedback is crucial to maintain open communication between the employer and employees.

When employees see that their voices matter, it inspires work commitment and trust in the company's leadership. According to Glassdoor, positive feedback is integral to maintaining employee motivation. 

Therefore, incorporate feedback into your workflows by way of employee pulse surveys.  Also, ensure you train team leaders to respond constructively to feedback. Here are some examples of positive feedback by Assembly.

  1. What incentive can most boost the morale of employees?

According to Forbes, incentives that greatly enhance employee morale include;

  • Gift cards 
  • Performance-based bonuses, 
  • Stock options, 
  • Exclusive discount deals with retailers, 
  • Gym memberships, 
  • Paid time off, 
  • Provisions for employee appreciation week.

When choosing incentives, remember to personalize gifts for employees. Personalized incentives are more effective.

  1. What causes poor staff motivation?

Lapses in staff motivation can arise due to various factors, including:

  • No clear objectives: Uncertainty prevails without clear goals, and demotivation sets in. It becomes increasingly difficult for employees to take on tasks when they don't know how they contribute to the organization's overall aim. Providing employees with a clear path to promotion resolves their focus and boosts their morale.

  • Feeling overwhelmed: Heavy workloads and high expectations can cause demotivation among employees. When work becomes overwhelming, it can lead to stress and a loss of interest in tasks. Hence, you must check employees’ work requirements occasionally to prevent this.

  • Lack of self-efficacy: This feeling of inadequacy can significantly hinder motivation. It is much harder to motivate someone who believes they are unqualified. To help such employees, boosting their confidence is necessary. You can achieve this by walking them through projects they have previously completed, sharing how you overcame similar challenges, and breaking down complex tasks into manageable phases.

Create A Positive Workplace Environment Using Assembly 

When the morale of an organization's employees is high, the potential for success is limitless. Motivation leads to commitment, which in turn leads to engagement. Increased engagement levels result in a boost in overall productivity and profit for the organization.

Therefore, companies that invest in recognizing and communicating effectively, promoting work-life balance, providing professional development opportunities, and facilitating team building are more likely to create an environment where employees feel valued enough to perform at their best.

Assembly is a reliable and effective HR solution that enables you to seamlessly execute the strategies discussed in this article to enhance employee morale. Schedule a free demo today.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered