Employee Loyalty High; Employer Loyalty, Not So Much
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Employee Loyalty High; Employer Loyalty, Not So Much

Amid uncertain economic times, U.S. employees expressed continued optimism about the direction of their companies and loyalty to their employers, according to the second annual employee engagement survey conducted by APCO Worldwide and Gagen MacDonald.

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Amid uncertain economic times, U.S. employees expressed continued optimism about the direction of their companies and loyalty to their employers, according to the second annual employee engagement survey conducted by APCO Worldwide and Gagen MacDonald.

 

The survey results, however, indicate employees continue to believe their employers are not nearly as committed to them. There also is a widening gap between the perceived performance of CEOs and immediate supervisors, with employees expressing far more confidence in the performance of and communication from middle managers.

 

"The large gap between employee and employer connection we've seen in the last two years is alarming," says Kirk Stewart, an executive vice president at APCO Worldwide. "It's clear from the survey results that to close this gap, CEOs and their executive teams need to have clearly defined company values aligned with their business strategy and support, live and regularly communicate those values personally."

 

At the same time, "There is a real opportunity for visionary leaders to build meaningful relationships with their employees by being more transparent about the company direction, the decisions they make and the implications of those decisions—otherwise, they risk losing a reservoir of employee goodwill," says Maril MacDonald, CEO of Gagen MacDonald. "But the single most important thing senior managers can do is nurture and support their middle managers, who appear to be the glue holding many organizations together during these unsettling times."

 

The survey was conducted among a cross-section of more than 500 U.S full-time workers employed for at least one year at companies with 100 or more employees. Based on the results, the research team created three indices that can be used to track employee engagement over time: an Employee Confidence Index, which measures employee optimism about the direction of his or her company (81.4 compared to 84.3 in 2009); an Employee Connection Index, which measures employee loyalty to his or her company (83.5 compared to 86.7 in 2009); and an Employer Connection Index, which measures how loyal an employee believes the company is to him or her (63.3 compared to 65.9 in 2009).

 

While the Employee Confidence and Employee Connection Indices are very positive, the Employer Connection Index is lower than ideal, leaving significant room for improvement. The difference between the Employee Connection Index and the Employer Connection Index results in a connection gap of 20.2 points, nearly the same as the 20.8-point gap recorded in 2009.

 

According to the survey results, three factors best explain this gap: the degree to which the executive team supports and lives the company values; authentic, open and honest communication from the executive team; and employees receiving consistent information from all the leaders in the company.

 

Other highlights of the employee engagement survey include:

·         Employees are slightly less positive about the current direction of their companies (77 percent said right direction compared to 81 percent in 2009), but report things are better than a year ago (33 percent said better compared to 27 percent in 2009).

·         Amid uncertain economic times, U.S. employees expressed continued optimism about the direction of their companies and loyalty to their employers, according to the second annual employee engagement survey conducted by APCO Worldwide and Gagen MacDonald.

·         The survey results, however, indicate employees continue to believe their employers are not nearly as committed to them. There also is a widening gap between the perceived performance of CEOs and immediate supervisors, with employees expressing far more confidence in the performance of and communication from middle managers.

·         "The large gap between employee and employer connection we've seen in the last two years is alarming," said Kirk Stewart, an executive vice president at APCO Worldwide. "It's clear from the survey results that to close this gap, CEOs and their executive teams need to have clearly defined company values aligned with their business strategy and support, live and regularly communicate those values personally."

·         "There is a real opportunity for visionary leaders to build meaningful relationships with their employees by being more transparent about the company direction, the decisions they make and the implications of those decisions – otherwise, they risk losing a reservoir of employee goodwill," said Maril MacDonald, CEO of Gagen MacDonald. "But the single most important thing senior managers can do is nurture and support their middle managers, who appear to be the glue holding many organizations together during these unsettling times."

 

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