Managing and maintaining employee morale is one of the most important functions of effective HR. The cliché that a happy worker is a productive worker is a cliché for a reason. While it may be more accurate to say that an unhappy worker is an unproductive worker, every HR professional knows the value in good staff morale

The first, and often most difficult, step in managing morale is measuring it. Morale is such a fickle and subjective topic; it can take a multi-faceted approach to really nail it down. It takes more than listening for negative comments in the break room to get a true picture of employee morale.

Employee Turnover

A natural place to start in measuring morale is churn rate. High staff turnover is often a strong indicator of morale problems in a specific department or team. There are some business functions, like customer service for example, where a high churn rate is to be expected; but it is always important to monitor turnover. And ongoing trends need to be analysed to avoid wider problems.

It’s also important to look a little deeper into that data. Staff turnover stats alone can only indicate a problem; to define it you need to talk to staff. Exit interviews often provide valuable, candid feedback; but you don’t have to wait that long. A staff attitude survey or other forms of employee feedback allow you to monitor morale at a high level. So you can identify potential problems before they happen.


Employee morale is often evident in the level of engagement within the business. When morale is high employees are likely to care about the future and effectiveness of the business. While low morale usually leads to apathy. Inviting employees to provide ideas and feedback on business improvement can give you valuable insight into employee morale.

While the level of engagement won’t provide a definitive measure of morale, it will indicate potential issues. The content of the responses will also help. Even if employees aren’t asked to provide direct feedback on morale, their suggestions will usually focus on areas for improvement within the workplace. Those areas often relate directly or indirectly to morale.

Just Ask

The most effective way to measure employee morale is, simply to ask. And the more often you ask, the more comprehensive your data will be. Through the use of ongoing employee feedback tools like 360 degree feedback and staff surveys, you can create an open, communicative environment where employees are free to share their thoughts on the business. These functions, whether deployed individually or as an ongoing initiative, will allow employees to tell you directly how they feel.

It will also have the added effect of letting employees see that their opinions have value to the business. This can assist in improving morale, as well as measuring it, which makes employee feedback an ideal morale measurement tool. Certainly more effective than looking out for sad faces walking in on a Monday morning.

Read our blog focusing on how 360 Feedback can improve your working environment.