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More Employers Say Morale Is Bad--And That's Good

August 23, 2005
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In just one year, the percentage of employers who say that morale is either good or excellent in their organizations has dropped from 70 percent to 55 percent, according to the 2005 Employee Review, a study by Randstad.

This actually is good news, according to Randstad, one of the world's largest staffing firms. That's because, according to Randstad, employers have finally gotten religion about lagging workplace satisfaction and have a better understanding of what's going on in the minds of employees. According to the report, "The reality is that morale is low, but significantly more employers understand this than in the past."

Some other highlights from the study:

·    Fifty-nine percent of employees say they're loyal to their companies. Twenty-six percent of employees say that their companies are loyal to them.

·    Employers are optimistic about future hiring. Only 9 percent say that they plan to decrease the size of their workforce in the future.

·    Generation X employees--people between the ages of 26 and 40--value flexible work hours more than any other generation. Generation Y employees between ages 19 and 25 value reward and recognition programs more than other employees.

In its report, Randstad, which placed about 48,500 employees weekly in 2004, offers the following advice:

Employers must find ways to generate loyalty and lift morale. They can reap better performance by recognizing employee efforts, especially for younger workers. It doesn't have to be complicated, but it should be consistent and sincere. Employees can detect fraud like a 4-year-old can find a cookie jar.

The best news is that employers have weathered some of the worst years for business in decades. And your star performers have been a big part of that success. Now's the time to reward and reinforce employee contributions--a really valuable strategy if the "might very well happen" worker shortage materializes.

The main message right now from all employees is that opportunities for advancement, flexibility, bonuses and other recognition programs are on their list. But your menu should be flexible and recognize the different values that different generations place on various benefits. The goal is to fulfill the employee needs that bond an employee to the company.

Harris Interactive studied 1,722 employees and 1,511 employers for Randstad. The interviews were conducted between May 31 and June 13, 2005.

-- Todd Raphael

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