What’s the cost of an unhappy workforce?

Low morale in the workplace is a cause of a reduced level of productivity, which can lead to high staff turnover and loss of profits. So, what the overall cost of a workforce that’s unhappy and how can you engender a positive workplace environment?

We take a look here, alongside Chill Factore, who offer team-building activities and a Santa’s Grotto in Manchester this winter.


Image Source: Pixabay

Unhappy staff: what do they cost a UK business?

Studies have shown that if your staff feel dejected with their job, they 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, negative feelings can be created by poor or long working hours. This will 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.

It’s interesting to find that low staff morale and feelings of anxiety or depression can be linked. 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, it’s clear that unhappiness doesn’t only affect how effective an employee is, but also how likely they are to look for another job. 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

An Investors in People poll at the start of 2018 revealed that nearly half of its 2,000 participants were pondering a career change due to poor management. 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?

This survey shows that management can affect if someone stays in a role and, considering the cost of replacing staff, this is something you’d want to avoid. 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 team-building activities to help boost collaboration across all of your departments or organise onsite charity fundraisers, staff quizzes or regular nights out to inject a sociable aspect into the corporate environment.

Two other important aspects are training and development. Look at all your staff and see where you can offer in-house or external training courses. 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 for Britain’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) notes that companies can enhance their workers’ wellbeing through boosts 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.

While it’s obvious that sick days can also rack up high costs for any business, you should 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 crucial that a happy workforce is in place if you want your business to lower its costs in lost productivity, sickness and staff turnover. Show initiative and start implementing positive processes today to ensure that your staff feel happy, secure and valued at work.



Osho Garg

About Author
Osho is Tech blogger. He contributes to the Blogging, Gadgets, Social Media and Tech News section on TecheHow.