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EMPLOYERS GET THE EMPLOYEES THEY DESERVE, IPD SURVEY SHOWS

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Progressive employers who give staff a say in decision-making can expect a happier, and more motivated workforce, s...
Progressive employers who give staff a say in decision-making can expect a happier, and more motivated workforce, suggests the Institute of Personnel and Development's (IPD) latest employee attitude survey - an annual study which monitors how people feel about their jobs, their employers and the workplace.

Conducted on behalf of the IPD by Birkbeck College, University of London, Employee Motivation and the Psychological Contract, has identified the key factors particularly associated with a positive employer/employee relationship.

It finds that employers who favour a 'high involvement' organisational climate and progressive people management practices such as performance related pay, internal promotion and an explicit policy of avoiding compulsory redundancies have better relationships with their staff. According to the survey these practices are 'strongly associated with a more positive psychological contract and, in turn, with higher job satisfaction, organisational commitment, motivation and organisational citizenship.'

Mike Emmott, IPD policy adviser and manager of the psychological contract project, says that these findings have important implications for employers.

'Employers get the employees they deserve and those who want to encourage motivation and commitment should give their staff a say in decision making.'

Encouragingly, the findings show that employee involvement is widely practised. Almost half the workforce (45%) report that they take part directly in some sort of employee involvement activity, ranging from making suggestions to taking part in quality circles. The great majority of these feel that their contributions are treated seriously and that involvement is more than simply symbolic.

This level of employee involvement is also reflected in figures showing that many employees feel positive about their jobs and their employers. An impressive 85% of employees are either very or quite loyal towards the company they work for and 74% are very or quite proud to tell people who they work for. Eighty-three per cent are very or fairly motivated by their job and over half (57%) look forward to going to work all or most of the time.

However Emmott warns employers not to be complacent, saying that attempts to involve staff the decision-making process do not go far enough. 'Although employees feel that they are involved in decisions which directly affect them, a significant minority are not convinced their employers will take decisions which are in their interests. Many also believe that most decision-making takes place over their heads. It makes good business sense for employers to establish a climate of fairness and trust, but it has to be worked for.'

The survey also shows that organisational bureaucracy is still very much alive since two-thirds of employees regard their workplaces as highly rules oriented and one in three say it is necessary to 'follow procedures to the letter'.

'Obviously employers need to apply some rules andprocedures, for example to ensure health and safety and quality standards and this is not inconsistent with employees exercising real responsibility in their job,' says Emmott. 'But this degree of conformity to the rules does suggest that some employees may be getting mixed messages.'

Information notes:

Employee Motivation and the Psychological Contract is the third in an annual series of IPD employee attitude surveys which monitor how people feel about their jobs and their employers. The report was compiled by a team from Birkbeck College, University of London. It is based on a telephone survey, carried out by the Harris Research Centre, of 1,000 men and women working in organisations employing 10 or more and is stratified to be representative of age and gender. The report is available from Plymbridge Distributors on 01752 202 301 at a cost of£14.50 (£9.50 to IPD members).

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