Based on activity in the first quarter, staffing experts are now cautiously optimistic about hiring expectations for 2010 -- but how are employees feeling? More loyal or less? More engaged in their work or less? The answers may surprise many.
In the wake of the global economic downturn, more than a quarter of employees surveyed worldwide say that the recession has left them more loyal to their employer, according to the latest findings of the Kelly Global Workforce Index. The survey was conducted between early October 2009 and late January 2010, obtaining the views of about 134,000 people in 29 countries across North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
So where do you stand on these issues? See how your opinion might compare with that of employees from around the world.
Why are you (more or less) loyal?
Employees were asked if they were more or less loyal to their employer as a result of the recession, and why.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported that the recession has made them feel more loyal to their employers, while only 10 percent felt less loyal and 63 percent said it has made no difference. Younger workers experiencing their first major economic downturn -- Gen Y (ages 18-29) -- emerged somewhat more loyal than Gen X (ages 30-47) and baby boomers (ages 48-65).
Those whose loyalty increased were most affected by organizations with positive management, strong morale and active communications, in spite of the uncertainty caused by falling profits and layoffs. Most of the employees whose loyalty fell during the recession pointed to deficiencies in their companies' ability to manage those same issues.
What keeps you engaged?
Respondents also were asked to report how engaged they were in their current employment and what might make them feel more engaged. And conversely, they were asked what would most likely cause them to leave their organization.
The most engaged employees were in North America, where 52 percent said they were "totally committed" to their job, compared with 47 percent in the Asia-Pacific region and 36 percent in Europe.
Forty-three percent of employees said they felt "totally committed" and 26 percent "somewhat committed" to their current employer. All generations cite "more interesting or challenging work" as the main thing that would make them more engaged with their job, ahead of "higher salary or benefits."
Twelve percent of respondents worldwide 27 percent in North America -- said telecommuting or working from home would be "extremely important" in encouraging them to stay with their current employer or attracting them to a new one. The main cause of job turnover among Gen Y and Gen X was reported as lack of advancement, while poor management was the leading cause for baby boomers.
What about reputation and responsibility?
The survey also revealed that all generations are closely watching how organizations manage their corporate reputation when making decisions about employment. Respondents were asked, "How important is a company's reputation when you're considering whether to join or remain working with an organization?" and, "What is the most important factor you weigh in determining an organization's reputation?"
Corporate reputation was considered a critical factor in job choice and job retention by 47 percent of baby boomers, but only 39 percent of Gen X and 34 percent of Gen Y. However, all generations agreed that the most important factor in a company's reputation is the quality of its products and services, followed by the quality of its management.
In deciding where to work, 53 percent of respondents in North America said an organization's reputation was "very important." Forty-seven percent said they are "very confident" in their employer's ability to act as a good corporate citizen, higher than in both the Asia-Pacific region (42 percent) and Europe (23 percent).
Draw your own conclusions
The survey seems to reflect that while many organizations have been through a difficult period, some have managed the challenges in a positive way and have emerged with a new level of trust among their work force. Attracting employees and keeping them productively engaged remains a challenging task for employers, as a complex array of issues can affect and motivate employees of different ages or cultural backgrounds.
But no matter where you stand as an employee or an employer today, a multigenerational approach will be vital not only to attracting the best talent, but also to fostering a climate that encourages creativity and learning for all workers.
Kelly Services Inc. is a leader in providing work force solutions. Kelly offers outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-class staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire and direct-hire basis. Serving clients around the globe, Kelly provides employment to 480,000 employees annually. Revenue in 2009 was $4.3 billion. Visit kellyservices.com. Copyright 2010 Kelly Services Inc.
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