Employees Want To Be valued Like Customers

By Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR Jun 2, 2008

Two out of three employees want to work for a company that recognizes an employee’s professional value, delivers on promises made to customers and cares about employees as much as customers. These are some of the findings of the 2008 World of Work survey released May 2008, by Randstad USA, an Atlanta-based employment services provider.

The 2,199 employees surveyed were asked to choose from among 33 possible employer attributes to indicate those they value most. According to the report, the top three choices “point to a three-way relationship between employer, employee and customer, based on merit, performance and mutual respect.”

Randstad used the term “employership” to describe the business-oriented relationship employees are seeking with their employers. “Employership builds the foundation of trust and responsibility in the most basic manner—by asking employees what is most important to them in an ideal employer, how the company can deliver on these elements and then working together to act on what you learn,” the report found.

“Employership creates an organization where employees want to work, where customers want to buy and where investors want to invest,” it continued.

But the report emphasizes that “employership” is a business relationship rather than a personal one, and says most employees are not asking their employer to be “employee-centric.” This is evident in the expanded list of desired employer attributes, in which an ideal employer:

  • Provides a workplace that reflects its respect for employees.
  • Has an active leadership who serves the company (not themselves).
  • Wants honest input from employees on business issues.
  • Encourages employees to develop skill sets continuously.
  • Encourages innovative thinking.
  • Focuses more on employee strengths than weaknesses.
  • Encourages a collaborative work environment.

Missing the Mark

Randstad’s research identified wide disparities between the traits employee respondents identified as ideal and those their current employer possesses. These gaps are particularly noticeable in four of the top five traits:

  • Sixty-six percent say they want their employer to care as much about employees as they do about customers, but only 26 percent say this describes their employer.
  • Sixty-seven percent of employees say they want to be recognized for the value they bring to the organization, but only 29 percent say their employer does this well.
  • Sixty-one percent say they want a work environment that reflects respect, but just 28 percent say that their work environment does.
  • Fifty-eight percent feel leaders should serve the company rather than themselves, but just 27 percent say their leaders meet that expectation.

“Becoming a ‘great company’ that inspires trust and confidence is a conscious informed decision,” the report concludes. Once that decision is made, employers should ask employees what they are looking for in an employer and how they can meet those expectations and then work together to make it happen.

Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is online manager of SHRM Online’s Diversity Focus Area.


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