Business Brains

Smart managers should care whether or not their staff is happy

Posting in Energy

If you qualify for the title "boss," did you know that one out of every two of your employees doesn't like the relationship you have? Or, that three o...

If you qualify for the title "boss," did you know that one out of every two of your employees doesn't like the relationship you have? Or, that three out of four of every staffers isn't happy with their current career growth opportunities with your company?

Those are just a couple of the findings of a new Workplace Insights Survey, sponsored by Adecco Group North America and conducted by Harris Interactive. Among the adults that were surveyed, 1,117 were employed full time and/or part time.  Here's a link to more of the survey findings.

Like a McKinsey analysis that I referenced a couple of weeks ago about middle managers and their growing job dissatisfaction, this poll is another indicator that managers need to get smarter about the way they manage or risk disruption when the economy turns around. It is certainly easy to ignore the long term over the past 12 months when day-by-day was the focus. I remember times at my former employer when I went at least two years without a formal performance appraisal, mainly because we always seemed to be in do-or-die mode and salaries seemed to be indefinitely frozen. Incidentally, yours truly is guilty, too, of what could AT LEAST be considered benign neglect.

But those of you who have been essentially telling people to suck up and deal are in for a rude awakening: Some of the people you kept and overworked during your last round of layoffs aren't exactly eager to stick around. They will return your attitude in kind as soon as they can. So, you either need to address your retention or your recruitment stance for 2010. Probably both.

The fact that you're reading this blog at all probably means you are more conscientious than your peers and increases the likelihood that your staff DOES like you. But don't take that for granted. You would probably be surprised at what your staff REALLY thinks about you. I know that I have been.

Now might be a smart time to find out. Or at least to start watching the indicators more cllsely.

Why not be proactive about advocating new compensation and reward structures that better suit our recalibrated economy such healthcare benefits that go the extra mile and ADD benefits instead of cutting them or matching funds that recognize alternative energy investments? Oh yes, being innovative about retirement benefits seems to be essentially smart given that not only are your workers getting older, they probably took a big hit in their retirement fund last year.

Give out bonuses not just for paring budgets, but for coming up with new ideas to improve your business's sustainability profile. Reconsider profit sharing by allowing departments to share, at least partially, in the money saved through energy-efficiency programs.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure