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What Employees Say Behind Your Back

As money gets tight, employee loyalty becomes more important.
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Do your employees like you? Well according to some recent studies, gaining workers' respect and loyalty is more important than ever because of the downturn. Experts suggest that managers focus on team building to ease anxiety in the workplace.

A recent survey by Randstad highlights the diversity of employee attitudes toward their bosses. The human resources firm surveyed 2,333 people and found seniors were the most loyal--70 percent would "re-elect" their bosses if they had a vote, compared to 68 percent of Gen Y workers, 66 percent of boomers, and 60 of Gen X employees.

Gen Y workers were most likely to admire and desire to emulate their bosses (56 percent, compared to 52 percent of Gen X, 42 percent of boomers, and 41 percent of seniors).

Gen X was the most skeptical of their managers, with 41 percent believing their bosses stretch the truth to strengthen his or her reputation, compared to 33 percent of Gen Y, 37 percent of boomers, and 34 percent of seniors.

More men than women reported they adjust their habits to their boss's personality. Thirty-eight percent of all respondents said while their boss is respected for business expertise, he lacks people skills.

This range of employee attitudes to working with the boss demands flexibility from managers, suggests Genia Spencer, managing director of operations and human resources at Randstad.

"It's a skill, recognizing that what drives you is not the same as what drives others on the team," she said.

"In the workplace, you need a balance of skills, a diversity of values and styles—and as the boss, it's your job to be the coach," she added.

But this kind of attention to employees is more important than ever, because companies have very little cash for raises.

In times like these, according to NYU Stern's professor Steve Blader, it's more important than ever for organizations to focus on team building. In two recent studies, he found employees who feel they are part of the company's social fabric are more likely to be productive, satisfied workers. That requires bosses to listen, treat employees with respect, and include them in decision-making.

"Get everyone focused on being part of a group; when employees are team members, differences recede," he said.

Both Blader and Spencer suggested opening lines of communication and inviting more employee involvement.

Last updated: Mar 31, 2009




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