Friday, August 14, 2009

dearth of skilled employees?

As many companies are finding out, the old adage that "a good man (or woman) is hard to find" is becoming increasingly true and government predictions suggest that even in times of high unemployment, the dearth of skilled employees is only going to get worse. Factors such as a changing economy and an aging workforce can join together to create an employment environment where competent employees who are unhappy in their current situations are motivated to find a new place to "hang their hats." When these factors are combined with the apparent weakening in employee engagement, employers may find themselves faced with a confounding problem: Unwelcome employee turnover.

In fact, a recent Insightlink National Employee Satisfaction study shows that only 21% of U.S. employees feel fully committed to their employers and only 12% agree that their employers are fully committed to them. Not surprising, however, the degree of commitment between employees and employers is directly linked to the level of job satisfaction expressed by employees. Among employees who are extremely satisfied with their jobs, 94% also feel extremely or very committed to their employers. Compare this to those employees who are not very satisfied where only 13% feel that level of commitment.As in any marriage, trust, security and the knowledge that your needs and opinions are being considered are among the traits that keep commitment strong. At work, these qualities can be even more important than the value of monetary compensation and rewards - in fact, emotional rewards can actually have a larger impact than monetary rewards on overall employee satisfaction. In other words, although employees might leave one job for another with better pay, their cause for leaving might not be salary at all but a myriad of other reasons - often more than likely having to do with mistrust of the company, feeling unappreciated, not respected or not recognized for the time and effort they have put into their work. The primary implication is to emphasize the importance of employee-employer relations and the need for organizations to really demonstrate that they are serious about their workers. There is substantial research indicating that employers can favorably influence how their employees feel by taking positive steps to create a work environment that indicates, by action, that the employee is valued. Although important, pay is only one part and employers must also address fairness, quality of supervision and support for employees to successfully achieve a work/life balance. The following specific factors and initiatives have been shown to positively affect employee satisfaction:

Clearly stated guidelines defining appropriate work behavior and job requirements.
Supportive communications with immediate supervisors and senior management.
The quality of the supervisory relationship.
Favorable developmental training and experiences.
Clearly-defined career goals and paths.
Frequent recognition, both formal and informal.
Fair and objective feedback on performance, provided on a regularly-scheduled basis.
Personal and family-oriented policies and actions.
Sufficiency of pay, benefits and rewards.

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