Measuring the morale of the workers to find out whether it is increasing or diminishing is a very difficult task. However, there are certain tests which can be employed successfully in this connection. They are
1. Productivity Level: If the overall productivity of an organization is increasing, it can be taken as a symbol of high morale. But there are certain limitations to this criterion also. It is quite possible that the output may increase even under conditions of low morale, or irrespective of high morale output may not increase. This is because, high productivity is not necessarily a function of job satisfaction or morale.
2. Employees’ Attitude Towards Organization: Employees’ attitude towards the organization can also be taken as a criterion to measure employee morale. This can be determined in any of the following ways:
- Absenteeism: Greater absenteeism is generally a sign of low employee morale. But there are certain exceptions to it. They are genuine cases of absenteeism like sickness, death of relatives, etc.
- Number of Accidents: Low morale usually leads to more accidents. In case of high morale, employees are conscious of responsibilities. Hence, the number of accidents is reduced.
- Grievances: If insignificant issues are raised to the status of grievances and the number is large, it is a sign of low morale. Absence of complaints and grievances reflect upon the high morale of the employees.
3. Morale Surveys: Morale can be measured by conducting surveys directly. In this method, expression of opinions is collected in the form of printed questionnaire. Members of the organization are asked to express their opinions regarding specific operations on a printed form. Some questions are of objective type and the employee is required to tick the correct answer. Some other questions give freedom to employees to write whatever they feel like.
The attitude surveys act as an instrument to measure employee morale. Management will be able to rectify if deficiency exists. Of course, these surveys must be conducted periodically to examine changes in employee morale. Once the survey has been made, management must analyze the survey results and the appropriate actions must be taken to boost the morale of the employees.
4. Personal Observation: Another method of measuring employee morale is personal observation. If the manager systematically. and consciously observes his subordinates, he could appraise the level of morale. Of course, it is very difficult to decide how far from normal the behavior must be to indicate significant change in morale.
Personal observation tool is not used frequently to measure the employees morale because the executives are often overburdened with the work that they do not have the time to look at the employees. The serious shortcoming of this method is that if the manager is not keen on observation, his calculations will go wrong.
5. Some Morale Indicators: Often, management resorts to identify some morale indicators and rely on them in measuring employee morale. Some of the examples of morale indicators are: labour turnover, productivity, quality records, exit interview, medical records, waste and scrap, absenteeism, and tardiness, etc. Of them, absenteeism and labour turnover are the predominantly used indicators. When employee turnover is high it is generally inferred that morale is low and vice versa. Similarly, when productivity is high generally it is considered that morale is high.
Similarly, examination of medical records will also reveal, to same extent, employee morale. By comparing records over a period of time, management can estimate the comparative position of morale of the employees. Though constant level of morale is not dangerous, deteriorating morale is harmful to the organization because it will affect its functioning. Management should take necessary and appropriate steps to elevate and boost up morale of the employees. This is because, morale is essential for increasing productivity and enhancing effectiveness of organization.