Morale and happiness with one’s career shape not only how individuals work and interaction, but also whether they contribute to an organization’s personnel retention and ultimately their success. Although several factors are related to employee morale in organizational settings, the single most influential factor in enhancing job satisfaction and group cohesiveness is superior-subordinate communication. (Baird & Bradley, 1978).
This proposal looks at the effects of employee morale and satisfaction on an organization and the impacts that those employees have on an organizations success. A key area of focus is that of communication and will be expanded upon along with a host of processes and program such as internal and external team building events, employee rewards and recognition. These allow supervisors and leaders to not only positively impact their employees but enhance their organization as a whole.
According to the general observations and assumptions, while other factors are held constant, employees who have a higher of job satisfaction are unlikely to be looking for positions other than the ones they currently hold. These employees always show responsiveness, cooperation and willingness to continue working for these organizations. Consistently, organizations are always willing to hire and maintain competent personnel for employment positions, who they would always wish to maintain over long periods to ensure that long-term goals are achieved. Employee satisfaction always refers to whether an organization’s employees are contented and happy and fulfilling their desires, needs and requirements at work (Muchinsky, 1977).
Often during economic crises, employers lay off workers based on several factors including competence. In order to ensure that the employees are satisfied with their positions in an organization, the latter always ensures that these employees’ morale are raised through several means. The core factor that has been proven to ensure that the employees morale and job satisfaction is achieved is supervisor-subordinate communication. Other factors include reward, recognition, autonomy, empowerment, teamwork, management and coworker interaction.
Barriers to Job Satisfaction, morale and Productivity
In the prevailing economic conditions, business pressure has greatly increased and is constantly in the rise. The rate of work has consistently increased with the hiring of employees. Consequently, employee turnover has increased and finding and retaining good and competent employees is a difficult task. Shareholders are demanding higher returns on their capital despite the rising competition, which even call for employees that are more competent. Hiring competent employees alone is not the most important, however, employees should ensure to identify the barriers to employee satisfaction and morale building. These could help the employers to reduce these barriers and retain the best performing employees for the best performance of the organization (Wrzesniewski, Berg, & Dutton, 2010). There are three identified key barriers to employee productivity, morale and job satisfaction, which are as discussed below:
These barriers include the controls, rules, or procedures that do not serve their intended purpose any more. These barriers get in the way of flexibility and the exercise of sound judgment. These barriers include organizational cultures and norms. For instance, a supervisor could defend his decisions by asserting, “ This is how we have always done things in this organization.
Interpersonal barriers are related to lack of, or poor communication within an organization. They usually come up when employees build blocks between departments, coworkers, and functions. These barriers can be reduced by removing the employees who spearhead these alliances or demoting incorporative departmental heads and bringing in new goals oriented ones to take up these positions.
These barriers hold employees from realizing their full potential. These internal forces that exist inside an employee that hinder their performance, happiness and satisfaction with their jobs, and lowering morale. Employers should ensure that they guide employees in setting realistic and meaningful goals and provide them with paths for achieving these goals. Consequently, these employees would work harder, smarter, and highly motivated to achieve these goals, gain greater satisfaction, and improve their morale (Goris, Vaught, & Pettit, 2000).
Factors Affecting Morale, Job Satisfaction and Productivity
Below is a detailed discussion of the aforementioned factors that enforce employee morale and job satisfaction in the light of their impacts on the success of an organization.
The nature of supervisor-subordinate communication appears to be an important factor in employee satisfaction, morale and job performance, which in turn influences the effectiveness of the organization (Baird & Bradley, 1978). In order to foster development and sustainability within an organization, the supervisor-subordinate communication should be supportive in a manner that individual’s worth and importance is recognized by the organization. The supervisors and their subordinates in any organization are the key actors in organizational development and effectiveness. Therefore, the best leadership strategy should ensure to enforce bilateral communication.
However, the types of communication between the supervisors and their subordinates differ according to the organization’s structure. Two communication systems can be adopted by organizations considering their structures and operations. These communication systems include unilateral communication and bilateral communication.
This system of supervisor-subordinate communication refers to a situation whereby the communication relates, comes from, occurs on, or involves only one side of the involved parties. Occasionally, this communication is done by or on behalf of the other party with or without their approval. Unilateral communication usually occurs in organizations where maximum obedience and discipline is required. This system of communication is consistent with autocratic leadership styles where unquestionable authority is applied on the subjects.
In most cases, the supervisors exercise their authority over their subordinates. These supervisors dominate the decision-making processes and ensure that the subordinates follow the required standards of conduct and discipline. This system of communication has often brought about rebellion from dissatisfied employees leading to reduced morale and consistent organizational performance. Nevertheless, this system has proved important in emergency cases within short timelines. However, if it insists in the organization for some time, the rebellion would still take place and subordinate cooperation might reduce.
In recognizing every individual’s worth and contribution into the organization, their views must be sought in proper decision-making process. Bilateral communication allows for a two-way communication, which permits both the supervisors and subordinates to share their opinions and reach mutually accepted agreements. In this case, the subordinates feel that they are accepted and their opinion recognized in the organizational operations.
Managers should ensure that the supervisors and subordinates engage in controlled bilateral communication, where every party has their limits and obligations to fulfill in the communication process. Bilateral communication has been applied in several organizations for control, management and conflict resolutions. In the aforementioned applications, this communication system has ensured that both parties reach mutual agreements, where they compromise some interests to accommodate those of the other parties. In this case, both the supervisor and the subordinates would be satisfied and their morale increased, consequently increasing organizational performance (Rogelberg, Allen, Shanock, Scott, & Shuffler, 2010).
The figures below show the relation between these two communication systems and their effects on morale building, job satisfaction and organizational satisfaction.
The above figure shows that when bilateral communication is increased in an organization, both morale/job satisfaction and organizational performance increased and decreases when unilateral communication is increased. The results would show an inverse observation if the communication systems were reduced within an organization.
It is a common phenomenon in every organization that every employee responds positively to praise and prefers to be recognized for their achievements in the organization. In organizations where employee morale and job satisfaction is very low, employees only meet their senior management in case there are problems related to their positions (Aleksić, & Petrović, 2013). On the contrary, organizations with high employee morale and job satisfaction show recognition to their employees by giving complements for achievements. This does not necessarily imply giving rewards to the employees, it could simply entail a handwritten note of thanks to the employee or an appreciation dinner party for employees for a job well done.
Every individual should be compensated equitably for the work they do. People in the same departments, ranks and with the same professional qualifications should receive equitable remuneration reflecting to their responsibilities. Even though few people are motivated entirely by financial compensation, receiving reasonable salary ensures they meet their basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing (Weiss, 2011). In contrast, if employee are under-paid, they would be worried about meeting these basic needs thereby reducing their morale. Nevertheless, when employers pay their employees at the market rates, the latter would feel appreciated for their skills, input and hard work thereby improving their satisfaction levels. Consequently, these employees would put more efforts in their duties leading to increased organizational performance.
In the recent past, most organizations have developed empowerment and motivational techniques for their employees. These techniques include trainings and seminars offered to the employees in relation to the positions and departments they work in within the organization. These trainings and seminars help the employees in handling their work better and increasing their performance (Kraimer, Shaffer, Harrison, & Ren, 2012). In most cases, employees’ salaries are usually adjusted at the end of these training in appreciation of the achievements. This has proved to increase the employee morale and satisfaction. Consistently, their performance would always increase after attending the trainings thereby increasing organizational effectiveness.
Coworker Interaction and Team Work
Every worker in an organization is unique and important for the overall achievement of the organizational goals. Therefore, the organization should ensure to put modalities that enhance the interactions of employees within the organizational departments. Additionally, the organization should ensure that the employees engage in teamwork that ensures they all meet work together towards an achievable goal (Feuer, 2013).
Divergent departmental goals could sabotage the achievement of the main organizational goal. The managers and supervisors of different departments always have different opinions on how work should be conducted in the organization leading to divided command. In this case, if the employees’ interaction and team work is not properly coordinated, whereby every employee and department work independent of the other, conflicts are bound to arise leading to reduced performance and morale. In this case, the employees would not be satisfied with their positions leading to reduced morale and equally reduced organizational effectiveness.
In order to ensure that the departments and individual employees work together for a common cause, the organization must foster interaction and teamwork such that every organizational activity is consistent across all the departments.
Recommendations and Conclusion
The major reason that makes individuals to seek employment is for personal satisfaction, which includes meeting the basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter (Ilies, wilson, & wagner, 2009). Consequently, organizations seek competent employees to increase effectiveness and productivity. In ensuring that these concurrent goals are achieved, the organizations need to reduce the barriers to satisfaction by increasing the morale of the employees, ensure they are satisfied with their jobs, and that the organizational goals are achieved.
In order to ensure that the aforementioned ideas are made a reality, the organization must first identify the barriers, reduce them and finally seek interventions for increasing morale, job satisfaction and productivity. Supervisor-subordinate communication has been identified as the most important factor in motivation. However, other factors such as reward, recognition, and empowerment are equally important.
In my recommendation, bilateral communication between the supervisors and their subordinates is the best practicable strategy in building employee morale, job satisfaction and increasing organizational productivity. This type of communication allows for the sharing of divergent opinion for a mutually agreed conclusion where both parties sacrificed some of their opinions to accommodate the views of the other parties. Nevertheless, in cases of emergency, and areas where stern and quick decision-making is required, unilateral communication would apply.
Fig. 1 – Unilateral communication
Fig. 2 – Bilateral communication
Fig. 3 – unilateral and bilateral communication
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