What is employee morale, and how do you measure it?

Understanding the importance of morale in the workplace can make or break your business. Strong evidence shows that employees who feel stressed and unhappy at work are less productive and invested in the company’s success. 

This information might seem glaringly obvious, but there are still a lot of companies out there that pressure employees to meet specific targets and goals within a tight timeframe, relinquishing balance and well-being for ultimate financial gain. 

This piece explores what defines employee morale and various ways to measure it in the workplace. 

Get to know your employees

This statement might sound like a simple solution to a more significant issue, but getting to know your employees is a surefire way to measure their workplace morale. Leaders might think they know their employees based on chit-chat or casual conversation over lunch. Still, there’s often a lot that employees keep from their bosses out of fear they won’t seem committed or because they don’t feel comfortable sharing their life in the workplace. 

Some ways to better understand and build trust amongst employees that can measure workplace morale include: 


In reality, many of us spend most of our time without coworkers. Hence, it’s worth it for employers to understand who their employees are to ensure they create a workplace environment in which people are happy to be a part. 

Know the signs of burnout

But the reality is many employees have historically forfeited their projects and personal time to excel at their jobs, which can ultimately lead to burnout. In September of this year, Microsoft found in a recent study that “48% of employees and 53% of managers report that they’re already burned out at work, so prioritization must go beyond simply reordering an overflowing to-do list. “ 

Burnout is typically defined by a series of signs and symptoms that range from physical and mental and can affect an employee's performance, rather than punishing an employee for underperforming, taking the time to understand why better allows employers to identify what isn’t working in their workplace. 

Some signs to keep an eye out for if you suspect an employee is burnt out are:


The best way to prevent employees from burning out, thus resulting in a dip in morale, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. 

Exit Interviews

If you have an employee who decides to leave, whether they got another job offer or they decided they needed a break, performing an exit interview can help you figure out what did and didn’t work, giving employers a chance to emphasize the positives next time a great employee comes around. 

Some questions to ask during an exit interview to help measure employee morale are:


These questions allow the employees to speak their minds and employers to understand what didn’t work for the individual leaving—Additionally, having the opportunity to identify more considerable flaws within the company structure. 

Set up a suggestion box

The old-school suggestion box just had a slot in a small (usually wooden) box where people could write down their suggestions and drop them in the hole. The appeal of suggestion boxes is that people can get their feelings off their chests while retaining anonymity. 

Companies with an office can honor the original form and set a box up in a public area. Still, as more and more people are not working remotely, employers can use numerous feedback tools to encourage workers to air their grievances. 

Some of the most popular software designed for encoring employee feedback are: 


It’s essential to let employees decide whether or not they want to remain anonymous. There will always be individuals who want to put their name to their work, so in the spirit of letting the employees speak for themselves, let them decide how they want to save their thoughts. 

Check-ins

The number of check-ins you do will depend on the size of your company and the capacity to dedicate time to each employee consistently. Monthly and quarterly check-ins are essential to better understanding employee needs and measuring morale in the workplace. 

These check-ins can be structured in various ways to help center the meetup around assessing morale so employers can address potential issues before they spiral out of control.

Topics that can be applied to check-ins are:


Typically a supervisor or HR point of contact will be the one running these meetings. Even if they are informal or short, using the topics above to prepare an outline of questions will make your one-on-one more meaningful.  

Utilizing AI to understand employee satisfaction better 

Using automated tools to gauge employee satisfaction may seem counterintuitive. Still, HR departments already rely on various data sources to better understand workplace dynamics, such as retention rates, onboarding strategies, and team cohesion.  

Some of the most common employee sentiment tools are:


Likely a great way to gauge employee morale in more prominent companies, these automated tools can be used in conjunction with the other methods discussed in this article.

Using the available HR tools and regular check-ins can help employers better understand their employees' needs and how satisfied they are with their jobs. Of course, it’s not a size fit’s all solution, so companies need to decide what trends will be compatible with how they manage their team or, better yet, how they create an open and healthy company culture. 

One thing is sure: dedicating time and energy to measuring employee morale gives employers a chance to create positive changes that promote productivity and well-being in the workplace.

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