In what can be described only as a stunning command of the obvious, a MetLife study shows that workers are growing restive as the economy rebounds from three years of struggle, and that employers are oblivious.
A story in the 28 March edition of USA Today quotes a psychologist saying that workers are stressed after watching co-workers get fired, being told to take on more work for the same pay, and longer hours. The MetLife veep is quoted (nice pop, MetLife PR!) saying that business’s understandable focus on financial matters has led to it ignoring human factors. It is pretty easy to be a “best employer” when the tide is in and Wall Street rocking.
There’s even an indirect from Towers Watson saying that companies are having a hard time “attracting employees with critical skills.”
How can any company say they’re surprised by these results? Add in a healthy dose of capitalist excess in the form of higher executive pay and you have a combustible mixture of anger and envy alongside the feeling that you need to leave to be appreciated. During a downturn, people are OK with making less money — they indeed are just happy to have a job. After their sacrifice (which is how they see it), when the picture turns better, they expect to make up lost ground — the 3% raise isn’t enough — they didn’t get a raise for two years, so now they want 9% to pick up the slack. But Wall Street will punish any company that lets its fixed costs leap up like that!
Where’s a leader, though, who’ll redirect his or her whacking huge bonus to throw a bit more on the regular employee pile? How about a one-time 401(k) contribution? Maybe a small bonus to show the boss notices the dedication of the past few years?
If they can’t see how the tough stuff hurt loyalty and morale, they don’t deserve to be in business.
Tags: communication, communication messages, Cost cutting, effective communication, employee, employee communication, engage, internal communication, Journalism, manager communication, Media Relations, PR, Public Relations, reputation management, Research, transparency