This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

December 28, 2005

Quality and Quantity of Work

As we approach the start of a new year, people around the world are making resolutions, setting goals for higher achievement. Traditionally, many promises we make, to ourselves and others, are forgotten as January 1 fades into memory.

An interesting study was conducted by Sirota Intelligence in the United Kingdom. Researchers surveyed 203,000 workers, a relatively large population group. The poll found that the most satisfied, perhaps unsurprisingly, said they had just the right amount of work. The least satisfied were those with too little, followed by those with too much work. What does this mean?

Jeffrey Salzman, chief executive of Sirota Intelligence, said findings showed most workers did not want just to "get by" in their jobs. "Most people come to work enthusiastic and want to make a real contribution. Those who feel they have too little to do – and possibly feel unappreciated by their employers – have lower levels of overall satisfaction and a waning sense of enthusiasm." When people feel underworked, they also tend to feel undervalued and their job insecurity increases, making them just as vulnerable for employee turnover as the hard-working employees who feel over-burdened, perhaps carrying the loads of others.

There is obviously a cost to overworking employees. Now this study confirms that there can be a serious cost to underworking people as well. Today’s workers want to be productive—for job security and for the sense of making a difference for their employers and their employers’ customers. People do not want to be underworked, so employers need to balance their workers expectations more carefully with company expectations.

What came out from this study is a movement away from mediocrity. People that have the right amount of work to do were happiest, even though that workload may be less that they actually could carry. The least satisfied actually wanted more work; they did not want to feel mediocre, ineffective, or less than valuable to their employer and the world. We have sensed this trend before (see http://www.hermangroup.com/store/misc_all.html#1), and how we have documentation.

Tomorrow’s employees will want to do more, and feel appreciated for their contributions


© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3547 or http://www.hermangroup.com. The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."

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