Difficult times drive changes in our personal priorities. Who among us hasn't experienced that over the past few months?
The findings of a recent Towers Perrin study of employees (469 employees from mid to large sized U.S. companies conducted December 3-11, 2008) indicate that difficult times are causing not only a shift in priorities, but also a subtle shift in attitude toward employers, when compared to a similar study completed just 4 month earlier in August 2008.
Employee priority changes, when polled about the top five factors most important to their work experience, include:
"A secure position they can count on for the long term", not surprisingly, topped the list with 59% ranking it among their top five, up from 46% in August.
"Adequate benefit protection for themselves and their families", again not difficult to understand, rose to the #2 slot with 56% putting it in their top five, up from 37% in August.
But from here I find it gets interesting. Breaking into the top five list for the first time was "working for a successful organization with a strong future". So employees recognize the important role that their employer plays in their future. What's more, they understand and appreciate their own responsibility to help that employer succeed - 76% agree that they are personally motivated to help their employer succeed, up from 69% just 4 months earlier.
So, if we take a leap and generalize from these findings, more than three-quarters of employees are indicating a sense of shared destiny - shared responsibility - for their organization's success.
Born out of self-interest or not - it's there. What an opportunity for getting people engaged and focused on doing the right things! The question is - are we taking advantage of it? Are we ...
Talking regularly and honestly about what is going on in the organization, in response to this interest (communication)?
Providing the clearest possible information and direction on how they can contribute to the organization's future prosperity (performance management)?
Putting the plans in place to share the rewards of everyone's efforts to drive the organization toward future success (incentives)?
Taking advantage of the chance to cement this sense of partnership into our employment brand - for the tough times and, eventually, the good times that will come our way?
If not, why not?