Employers not in Tune with Worker Morale Issues

October 14, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - In another example of employers and employees acting like they are from different planets, 84% of employers in a recent poll believe their staff is grateful to be employed - an outlook shared by only 58% of workers.

A news release about the research by Monster.com and the Human Capital Institute (HCI) said if anything, the recession has produced a wellspring of employee unhappiness about how their companies have handled the economic pressures of the downturn.

“There is no denying this environment has been tough for both employers and workers, but the resentment workers have built should be cause for concern for employers, particularly if they have had to impose longer hours, lower pay, decreased benefits, or have become a less flexible workplace,” said Jesse Harriott, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at Monster, in the news release. “However, there are always opportunities for employers to understand and listen to the current attitudes of their workforce and make communication a priority. When the economy rebounds, it is the companies who have made the investment in their workforce, and maintained solid talent management practices, that will be poised to retain their top talent.”

Among worker morale issues indentified in the research:

  • 57% of workers believe employers are exploiting the recession to drive longer hours and lower pay from their workforces.
  • 58% believe employers are less concerned about employee retention, and 50% of workers are more concerned about top performers leaving than before the recession.
  • 43% of workers believe employers are now less tolerant of dissent and challenges to authority.
  • Only 26% excuse their employers for requiring layoffs and longer hours because they believe their employer’s hands were forced by the recession.
  • 48% of workers say their productivity has been affected by a fear of being laid off.

“Today’s employers feel that employees are loyal due to the economic times, but the reality is they are not,” said Katherine Jones, HCI research fellow, in the news release. “Because of this, there is a strong likelihood that when the economy turns for the better, employers could find themselves with valued employees jumping ship. This places pressure on them to put retention measures in place now.”

The survey of more than 700 companies and 5,000 U.S. workers was conducted in May and June 2009. More information is available here .