This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

December 7, 2011

Employee Engagement Declining

Everyone agrees that employee engagement is critical to productivity and profit. That is why the recent news from Randstad is so disturbing. Their quarterly “Employee Attachment Index” provided insights into the level of “employee-employer attachment”, based on employee engagement and expected retention levels. With the fluctuating economy and now improving job market, Randstad is monitoring how employees are feeling about work and measuring their intentions to leave or stay. This particular index also reported employees’ predictions for 2012, attitudes on career and fears around losing their jobs.

Clearly, this report found employees with mixed emotions about 2012. While 56 percent of those surveyed believe they would not be able to find a job they would accept, nearly half expect the job market to improve next year; and 47 percent plan to explore other opportunities as soon as the job market picks up. The best news is that a majority (74 percent) feel “optimistic about their organization’s future”, with 40 percent predicting their companies will expand their workforces in 2012.

Just under half (48 percent) believe the economy has negatively altered their career plans; frankly, we were shocked the number was so low. Not surprisingly, 24 percent are “extremely concerned” about losing their job and oddly enough, an identical percentage expect to be promoted in 2012.

Their expectations about salary and benefits are more troubling. Over one-third (35 percent) of employees surveyed are concerned that their benefits will be reduced, while even more at 48 percent, predict it will happen in 2012. Almost one-quarter (24 percent) are concerned about layoffs; 41 percent expect their companies will lay people off in 2012. In fact, almost one-fifth (19 percent) expect to lose their jobs. Over a quarter (27 percent) are concerned about taking a pay cut, while more workers are actually optimistic about 2012 with almost half (47 percent) predicting they will get a raise.

Finally, it came as no surprise that a significant percentage of the most valuable employees (the highly engaged) reports being open to leaving their current jobs.

Expect the top talent around the globe to go first; it always does. Then others will follow. Employers have a short window in which to address these issues or be victims of a recovering labor market. How ironic!

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