Hard times might make workers feel better about employers

May 3, 2010
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If workers are in a sour mood over the rotten job market, will that unrest carry over to their perceptions of whether their employers are good corporate citizens?

Marc Drizin, a specialist in gauging employee sentiment, suspects workers now actually think more highly of their organizations. However, he quickly cautions that any bounce in sentiment probably would be short-lived.

Drizin is preparing his third national survey since 2004 of employee attitudes about their employer’s reputations as corporate citizens. Drizin, who owns Noblesville-based Employee Hold’em and worked in the human resources field at Walker Information, surveys just over 2,000 workers nationally across typical age, gender, industries and geography categories.

Prior surveys have shown that an average of about one-third of employees think their organizations are not good citizens. Only about half of local and state government workers view their organizations highly. Retailers and companies in transportation and wholesaling also get low marks.

Organizations in highly regulated industries—financial services, utilities, health care—tend to be rated higher.

Drizin thinks employees are an honest gauge of corporate citizenship because they experience the organization from the inside. They sit in the meetings and see the e-mails and boardroom decisions.

However, he anticipates employers’ getting a welcome—and deceptive—upward bump when he finishes his next survey in coming weeks. That’s because workers who hate their jobs will feel grateful to have one during hard times. That could change quickly if employment opportunities improve.

So, some employers would be wise to keep thinking about why so many workers regard them so poorly.

“Employees have choice,” he says. “How employees view their organization or reputation has a direct impact on whether they stay longer, work harder and whether they recommend the organization as a great place to work.”

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Drizin that, in effect, one-third of organizations are crummy corporate citizens? Or is that too conservative?



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