...particularly if a business has to pay for extra training or invest in recruitment processes.
So, what is the true cost to a company of an unhappy workforce and what can companies do to engender a positive workplace environment that works in favour of both the business and its staff?
Unhappy staff: what do they cost a UK business?
Studies indicate that staff who feel dejected with their job 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, poor or long working hours can create negative feelings and adversely affect emotional wellbeing, which in turn, affects 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, there’s a connection between low staff morale and feelings of anxiety or depression. 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, unhappiness affects not only how effective an employee is, but also how likely they are to leave a 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 apparent that staff morale is crucial to the development and ultimate success of a business, and there are many initiatives employers can enforce to boost employee happiness.
How you can make improvements to staff morale
"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."
Results from an Investors in People poll revealed at the start of 2018, nearly half of its 2,000 participants said that they were considering leaving their job this year because of poor management, while 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?
Judging by this survey, management is a great contributor of people choosing to leave a company — and 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 activities, such as indoor skiing, to help boost collaboration across all of your departments, or organise onsite charity fundraisers, staff quizzes or even regular nights out to inject a sociable aspect into the corporate environment.
Training and development are two other important aspects of a job in relation to morale, so look at all your staff and see where you can offer in-house or external training courses in leadership 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.
A report put together for Britain’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) suggests that companies can boost workers’ wellbeing through enhancements in 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.
Since sick days can also rack up high costs for businesses, 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 vital to have a happy workforce if you want your business to reduce costs in lost productivity, sick days 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.
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