noun– the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group at a particular time.
“their morale was high”
synonyms: confidence, self-confidence, self-esteem, spirits (s), team spirit, enthusiasms
“the morale in the company has been high”
When I googled the definition of morale, this is what I got. Even the example sentence references the morale of a company. So how important is morale?
Working in executive search has placed me in a unique position to be on both sides of the hiring decision. We seek out candidates to fill an executive hiring need on behalf of our clients. We listen to what our client wants and needs, we identify qualified people, we listen to what the candidate wants in their next position and then we bring them together based on a desired skill set, experience, salary, location and other pre-determined parameters and how well the candidate will fit the “culture”.
We visit with our clients to get a feel for the people, the “culture” as is the current buzzword. But what is culture? Isn’t it just a form of morale? Isn’t it the confidence, enthusiasm, spirit and esteem of the workforce and workplace? When we are screening candidates, morale is something we try to gauge as well. What is the candidate’s confidence level? Enthusiasm? Discipline?
If you are contacted by or are meeting with a recruiter, you need to be aware that your morale is as important as the credentials on your resume. Recruiters will be evaluating not only your credentials but how well you will fit the culture of the client. Some mistakes even the most qualified candidate makes include:
- Bad-mouthing current or past employers.
- Presenting a “victim” mentality or smartest guy in the room syndrome.
- Multiple unexplainable job changes.
- Long unexplained breaks in employment.
- Low energy
- No pre-investigation of the hiring company in preparation for the interview.
- Asking “what’s in it for me” questions early in the process e.g. salary, vacation time, sick leave policy etc.
All the above indicate the “morale” a candidate will be bringing with them to an employer. All are indicators of confidence, enthusiasm and spirit.
As an employer, it is important to work to sustain the high morale of your workforce. Committed employees work harder, bring their “A” game, are upbeat, enthusiastic, and given the tools, support and recognition needed to be successful, will in turn contribute to the success of the organization. Some mistakes and blind spots we see with companies include:
- Lots of sticks, not many carrots.
- Believing working at their company is compensation enough regardless of market value of a position.
- “Internal Equity” issues – underpaying current, long-term employees and using it to under-pay new talent as well.
- Demanding but not returning loyalty. Treating employees as expendable commodities.
- Do as I say, not as I do mentality.
Bottom line, people are a company’s most important asset. Human spirit, enthusiasm, skill and commitment to a common goal is what makes any company successful. It is really just basic, Golden Rule type of stuff and it is no coincidence that “morale” is only one letter away from “moral”. Treating people well, whether it is your employee or your employer, is simply the right thing to do, leads to high morale, a happy workplace and the ultimate goal: success.