Intercept poor workplace morale

Three things toxic leaders do that you won’t notice until it’s too late

Poor employee motivation can be a killer for a business or team. While your projects might keep wheezing over the line, the above-and-beyond efforts and ideas which take companies to new levels will dry up and your company will suffer.

Sometimes employees dip in a hurry, but often the warning signs of an employee with lagging morale are easily dismissed as they pile up individually. Spotting a tidal change in morale before employees completely disengage is vital, and we’ve got some tips on how to identify the problems and cut them out before they spread.

Spotting poor employee morale


A sudden rise in negativity towards projects is an indicator your employee has lost faith in the value, outcomes or effectiveness of their work.

Lack of enthusiasm

If you sense employees who you depend on to bring new ideas and creativity to the table have withdrawn and aren’t bringing their usual talents to bear, they may be mentally withdrawing from their role.

Performance problems

Crashes in performance could be circumstantial, but a persistent pattern of decreasing performance and a trend towards the bare minimum indicates a long-term morale problem.

Lashing out

When employees are seriously disenchanted with their work they’ll be far more likely to ramp up their aggression and negativity towards peers and drag others down with their attitude.


A surge in days missed is a warning sign for any employee, but it’s especially worrying when normally reliable employees start missing work with tenuous explanations, or no explanation at all.


Many employees with poor morale have their relationship with managers deteriorate alongside their performance. Trying to keep their working habits a secret can be a sign they know they’re not performing properly and dread having to address it.

Turnover trends

If a host of employees leave at once, or a trend of employees leaving the company emerges, it’s a huge warning sign your staff are in the doldrums about their work or your company.

How you can beat back the flood

Show gratitude

It’s difficult for someone to motivate themselves to bring more to the table at work if they don’t feel valued. Regularly take the time to make it clear to your staff their effort is valued by their superiors and the business.


Individual staff might not be disenchanted with their job, but just dealing with something at home which is affecting their time at work. Don’t let their work be an adversary to their wellbeing and make sure there’s a way for them to share these problems at work with a trustworthy, possibly anonymous figure. If you extend empathetic solutions and help for employees in those times of need, they’re more likely to repay that with loyalty and performance in the future.

Invest in staff

Show your dedication to the future of your employees by offering to invest in their professional future. Knowing their career is being taken seriously gives employees the confidence to fulfil their role without stress about their future affecting their mentality today.

Respond to problems

When employees come to you to talk about the problems they’re having in the workplace, take their requests seriously and it make it known you sought solutions even if you can’t find one. If their problems appear to fall on deaf ears, your employees will have no incentive to turn to you for help in the future.

Take care of the little things

Don’t let simple, preventable things pile up and barricade your staff from doing their jobs properly. Even lacking seemingly small things like adequate stationery, properly running computers and printers or access to a kettle can add up and give employees the idea their employer isn’t interested.

Make the long term plan clear

Sometimes it’s difficult for an employee to see their place in the company down the line. While your plans for their role, department, and potential might be clear to you, an employee is more likely to sink into a poor attitude to their work if they don’t. Let your employees know where the organisation is going and how they’ll fit into it in the future.

Entertain the possibility they’re overworked

It’s possible your staff are overburdened, and not just in volume of tasks. Someone could be struggling with tasks outside their skillset, putting a strain on the rest of their role. Or they just said yes to too many jobs at once and they’re struggling to stay afloat. Again, communication is a vital aspect of getting a feel for what your staff are feeling and thinking.

Consult before taking action

The absolute last thing you need to find yourself doing is implementing an unpopular and unnecessary scheme to help morale and end up making employees feel like they’ve got yet another task to add to their workload.