There is (rightfully) a lot of focus on employee engagement. It’s a critical measure of success and, without good engagement, it’s impossible to move forward as an organization. However, the same attention is not paid to employee morale, which is equally crucial for success and, in many ways, can be used as a barometer of engagement and other factors.

Many factors affect employee morale. The lingering effects of the pandemic, interpersonal challenges with other team members, poor management, disconnected leaders – these are just a few examples. Organizations need to take steps to raise morale. Thankfully, learning and development can be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for achieving that goal.

Employee Morale and Learning: Understanding How L&D Can Drive Morale

Why Does Employee Morale Matter?

Morale fluctuates within organizations naturally. Everyone has their off days. Outside forces also have an impact – the 2020 lockdowns and resulting remote work certainly affected morale across entire industries.

However, organizations must take steps to raise morale and then keep it high. Why does it matter? Without morale, engagement will fade away. Without morale, productivity, and talent retention tank.

As noted by The Houston Chronicle, “Companies and teams with high morale are unmistakable in the workplace. When others are struggling to get the bare minimum done, these teams often excel with ease, exceeding expectations and do it all with a smile on their face. Many leaders wonder how to get their organizations or teams to the place where work feels fun and almost effortless. Boosting morale can have this desirable effect, leading your organization to excellence and better-than-expected growth.”

So, how does learning and development fit into the picture? How can L&D drive morale and, thus, drive performance, retention, and engagement?

Training and Morale: The Interrelated Picture

In a study published in the International Journal of Management Studies, authors R. Kandavel and Dr. D. Sakthivel tackled the question of training and its impact on morale. According to the study’s authors, “Training is a major concept in today’s business world, most of the organizations are concentrating on how to develop their organizational policies because the secret of successful organizations is the most efficient employees. Training increases employee morale. So, this automatically helps to increase the business outcomes.

This study is an attempt to understand and measure what are the challenges and difficulties faced by employees in organizations. The reason is now all in the competitive world need to update our knowledge. The data is collected from a structured questionnaire. Sample size is 160 and also it is a stratified sampling. The respondents are the employees from the sugar mills within various districts. In this study, T-test, ANOVA, Pearson’s correlation are used for analysis. The result of this study is that the majority of employees found that training is beneficial for their development and training positively influenced the morale of employees.”

From the information above, it is clear that morale and training are linked. How does training drive improvements in morale specifically, though? Interestingly, there are several key ways.

Employee Value – One vital element for good morale is for employees to feel valued. If an employee does not feel valued (they’re not supported, or even wanted, or that their role is somehow superfluous), their morale will sink, as well engagement and productivity. By providing training that goes above and beyond mere mandatory corporate training, employees feel valued because they see the organization is willing to invest in their development and success.

Turnover – Training drives improved talent retention. That, in turn, improves morale in several ways. One of the most important of those ways is that it fosters better teamwork and creates a solid sense of belonging. In an environment with high turnover rates, employees may feel frustrated and unable to form bonds with coworkers. That affects teamwork and an organization’s ability to move forward. Because training helps improve retention, it also drives improved team bonding and better results.

Employee Development – No one wants a static life. We’re built for forward momentum. Workplaces that fail to invest in employee L&D inadvertently create an environment where stagnation is the rule rather than the exemption. That in turn can destroy morale and engagement. It also feeds into higher turnover rates.

In contrast, by investing in L&D, you’re able to develop your employees. That keeps them moving forward and ensures that both morale and engagement are high. Plus, it helps close critical skills gaps and ensures that your organization is better able to compete within your industry or vertical.

Company Culture – Creating and nurturing a positive company culture can be incredibly challenging. Employee learning and development options help you create the right culture and ensure that your people value innovation, as well as both professional and personal development. Without a strong investment in L&D, though, you leave your culture largely up to chance. There’s also the fact that employee learning helps your team members feel valued and integral to company success, which feeds into a culture in which team members support and value one another.

Boost Morale with Training and Development

As you can see from the information above, L&D initiatives have a direct, dramatic impact on employee morale. In turn, that drives engagement, retention, productivity, profitability, and even the ability to outperform your competitors. It’s past time for you to invest in L&D.

However, it’s critical to note that the right technology is essential here. This is particularly true in today’s world where remote training is the new normal. Your learning management system is a critical component here – it’s the framework that supports L&D content and helps ensure that your learners can connect with that content no matter where they are.

At eLeaP, we understand how critical training is to morale and organizational success. We developed our platform to specifically address those challenges. Contact us today to learn more about eLeaP and how it can help improve employee morale in your business.