Employees Say Informal Work Relationships Help Productivity

July 31, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Sixty-five percent of employees say they rely on themselves and co-workers to get the job done, whereas about 30% say they rely on managers for solutions and problem solving, a recent survey suggests.

The survey of 510 employees by management consultant Katzenback Partners LLC found informal relationships are more effective at solving problems at work than using formal organization charts and processes, according to a press release. Nearly two out of five (37%) employees at big companies say they sometimes “ignore company rules because they’ve developed better ways of getting work done.”

Ninety percent of employees say they have someone at work to turn to when they need to get something done, and that person is more likely to be a co-worker (52%) than a boss (45%), the release said.

Most employees (57%) indicated they believe the best ideas for making the company more successful come from “all levels” of employees, whereas 8% of employees said they believe these ideas come from CEOs. Seven percent of respondents said ideas for success come from middle managers, and 15% said they believe they come mainly from lower-level supervisors and lower-level employees.

Nearly two in five (39%) employees say that “too much bureaucracy” is the main barrier to getting things done at work, followed by 26% who cite the “lack of value placed on employee input” as a key barrier. Twenty-three percent say the main barrier is “inadequate organizational structure.”

The survey also found 58% of employees say management regularly seeks and values employees’ ideas before making changes, but nearly two out of five (39%) say management fails to do so. Those that say management is not concerned with employee input are more reluctant to say change is an easy process for organizations (36% compared to 63%).

About 20% of workers say their companies do not encourage employees at all levels to contribute ideas for improving business operations and products.

Nearly the same number of employees say the people they work with are the most enjoyable part of their jobs (64%) as those that say the work they do is the most enjoyable part (62%).

For more information or a copy of the survey report, contact Alexandra Corriveau .