March 9, 2010 / 4:48 AM / 9 years ago

Firms can thank crisis for more loyal workers

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - It may have hammered many a company’s balance sheet, but the global financial crisis has made more than two out of five employees feel totally committed to their employer, a global survey showed.

Employees work at the Tradeworx office in Red Bank, New Jersey November 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Segar

The survey, conducted by international employment firm Kelly Services in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, also found companies with positive management, strong morale and active communications succeeded in making their workforce more engaged despite the uncertainty caused by falling profits and layoffs.

Respondents cited “more interesting or challenging work” as the main reason that would make them more engaged in their job, ahead of higher salaries and more benefits, the survey showed.

“Many organizations have been through an extremely difficult period but some have managed the challenges in a positive way and have emerged with a new level of trust among the workforce,” Kelly Services CEO George Corona said in a statement.

The annual Kelly Global Workforce Index polled about 134,000 people in 29 countries from October to January.

It found 43 percent of employees said they felt “totally committed” to their current employers and 26 percent felt “somewhat committed.”

A total of 27 percent, or more than a quarter, of respondents worldwide said the economic recession made them feel more loyal to their employer, while only 10 percent felt less loyal and 63 percent said it has made no difference.

Slightly more Generation “Y” workers, or those aged between 18 and 29 years, said the downturn had made them more loyal than Generation “X” employees — 28 percent compared to 26 percent.

The survey also showed the most “engaged” employees were in North America, where 52 percent say they are totally committed to their job, compared with 47 percent in Asia Pacific and 36 percent in Europe.

When considering whether to remain in or quit their job, younger workers have a much greater interest in the possibility of career advancement. Older workers predominantly focus on the quality of management, according to the poll.

The survey also found all generations are watching closely how organizations manage their corporate reputation, a key factor on deciding whether to stay or leave.

“Attracting employees and keeping them productively engaged is constantly among the most challenging tasks for employers,” Corona said.

“A multi-generational strategy is vital to attracting not only the best talent, but also to fostering a climate that encourages creativity and learning for all workers.”

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Writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Jerry Norton

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