A startup is only as strong as its leadership. As such, if your employee morale is low, then self-reflection must be done by the founders. Employee morale is not something that can be ignored as it is a significant contributor to success.

When your employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to go above and beyond to contribute to your business’ success. Often, a lot of founders concentrate too much on the money-making aspect, leaving employee morale on the sidelines, which is generally a huge mistake.

Disengaged, disgruntled, unsatisfied workers is the last thing you want for your startup. It will only lead to failure, no matter how great your idea is. This is because unhappy employees are typically less productive, less creative, less loyal, and more likely to seek jobs elsewhere. 

You don’t want that because it will translate to lost dollars. And not just pocket change; we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars lost simply because you failed to take care of your employees.

While keeping employees happy and satisfied is no child’s play, it does require some attentiveness on your part, as well as any managers that you have appointed. Employee engagement is a measure of the extent to which your team members are willing to go above and beyond your business.

No longer merely regarded as an imperceptible or inestimable PR concept, employee engagement is one of the most important metrics of success. Don’t believe it? Just ask Google. Employee morale and engagement is regarded widely as the key driver of motivation, productivity, and commitment. 

As such, if your employees are unhappy and disgruntled, here are some possible mistakes that you could be making to lower their morale:

Your relationships are not trust-based

For you to succeed and grow, you must have strong and effective relationships with your employees that are built on trust. If you fail to establish trust with your workers, they will begin to disengage emotionally, which will consequently cause the moral levels to drop.

Rather than do everything you can to get the most out of your workers, consider showing them that you value them personally and professionally. Please note that it will take some time before you can build a trustworthy relationship. However, you do need to be consistent and have integrity for your employees to trust you.

Your employees don’t feel respected

It is your responsibility as a founder to make sure that your employees feel respected, regardless of what positions they may hold within the establishment. Founders are more likely to get maximum results from their employees if they invest a little time in getting to know every member of their organization.

Part of respecting your employees means giving them the freedom to choose their schedules. As long as the expectations are well defined, you really should avoid micromanaging your employees at every turn. When you micromanage your employees, what you are really saying is that you don’t trust their expertise.

No employee wants a boss that’s looking over their shoulder at every turn. Not only will second-guessing your workers cause them to pull away from the organization, but the effects can be a lot more damaging than you imagine. Respected employees are more attentive, creative, and are more likely to root for the organization to succeed.

Failing to nurture creativity

If you want your employees to stay motivated, ensure that you do everything in your power to nurture their creativity. The best way to nurture creativity is to provide an environment that allows your employees’ creative juices to flow freely.

Although productivity at work is important, you will want to make sure that the workplace is vibrant, non-restrictive, and easy to feel at home. This may mean different things for different startups. For instance, some startups may choose to offer their workers unlimited free snacks to make sure that they have enough energy to last through the day. 

Other startups go about it by establishing creative spaces filled with all manner of things such as ping pong and Foosball tables (in-depth guide, here) so that employees can meet and interact freely with one another as they share ideas about how to move the company forward.

Not recognizing good work

Employees need to be recognized whenever they do something noteworthy or worth praising. If they continue working for you without some sort of recognition even when they deserve it, it will eventually take a toll on their spirit, which will leave then disincentivized. And it’s not enough to praise them in private; you must also do it in public so that their peers can also recognize their contribution and hard work.

This doesn’t mean that you should be out to constantly praise your employees for every little thing they do. Rather, as the founder, you should be able to recognize when your employees go above and beyond the call of duty so that appropriate rewards can be given. Praising an employee for a job well done is not going to cost you a thing, but the impact can be immense.

Final Thoughts

If you are a founder or are thinking of launching your startup, you should know that the happiness of your employees can make or break your startup. Keeping your employees happy may not be the easiest thing to do, but it is not rocket science. 

Workers have simple pleasures; to be praised when they do good work, to be respected and treated fairly, and to have their personal lives respected. If you can do this bear minimum, then you have hope of holding on to your employees. 

If you want to succeed and keep your employees happy and content though, you will need to do a little more than that. The good news for you is that plenty of startups have made mistakes along the way, which leaves you at a position of honor and great esteem as you will be able to learn from these mistakes so that you can be able to avoid making them in your own startup journey.