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What is morale?

Morale is a word that’s been around for some time but which reflects a very contemporary idea – it’s a quality that enables people to pull together, to stay well and positive, even when times are tough. It’s something that’s always pretty important for all organisations, their leaders and their employees; in short, for all of us.

What is morale?

the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose
Alexander Leighton

A state of individual psychological wellbeing based upon a sense of confidence and usefulness and purpose


What is morale – the two main aspects

There are two main aspects of morale – the first relates to staying focused and committed, what is now usually referred to as employee engagement. As a great deal of work has demonstrated, engaged employees are great for the organisations that they work in.

However, on its own, engagement is not enough and that’s where the second element comes in. High engagement leads to positive business outcomes, but it is only sustainable if high engagement is supported by high levels of employee wellbeing.

This is a crucial point often missed by organisations in just concentrating on their annual engagement survey but let us try and decipher what we mean by the statement that ‘engagement on its own is not enough’.

Imagine those times when you are truly engaged with your work. You probably put in the hours, go above and beyond and you have razor focus on your goals. There is no doubt this feels good, but the question is for how long? How long can you keep up that level of engagement? Do you start neglecting taking a break? Do you grab your lunch on the run? Do you start leaking work-life into home life? If so, this high level of engagement will not be sustainable as you start to take the hit on your wellbeing.

So, this is why the concept of morale is so important for organisations. To perform well, organisations need to focus on both engagement and wellbeing to ensure that their people can stay focused, productive and well.