October 11, 2010 / 11:14 PM / 9 years ago

Recession drives bosses and workers closer: survey

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Few bosses need worry that their employees want their jobs as most workers are just happy to be employed and one fifth would even have a fling with their boss if it helped their career, according to a U.S. survey.

The U.S. recession has driven bosses and their employees closer together and only 30 percent of employees want their boss’s stressful job, recruitment firm Adecco Staffing U.S. found in a poll tied to National Boss Day in mid-October.

But the survey found that some people are willing to go to greater lengths to keep their jobs in a tough market.

Almost one in five said they would have a fling with their boss if it would help their career and a similar number share connections with their boss through social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn.

Striving for the boss’s job is not a top priority, though.

Employees with children aged 18 or under at home are more likely (39 percent vs. 23 percent) to want their boss’s job to help pay for education and other costs.

With unemployment brushing up against 10 percent, those still working “feel like they were the chosen ones, like they got a vote of confidence from their boss that they’re good enough to be retained,” said David Adams, Adecco Group North America vice president of learning and development in Seattle.

That, and the smaller number of employees in many departments, strengthened ties between employees and bosses.

“Recession tested people’s values and many realize that it’s not all about work,” said Adams, adding that workers saw peers climb the corporate ladder only to be laid off.

More than three-quarters of bosses said they felt stronger bonds to their employees than three years ago, and 61 percent of the employees agreed.

This may not change any time soon, even though the private-sector National Bureau of Economic Research last month called the recession over as of June 2009.

“Although it’s technically over, nobody feels that it is over,” said Adams.

Employees still expect more from their bosses, however, and employers should pay close attention so they can keep their best talent when the economy and job market recover.

While employees want bosses who coach and guide with clear goals and tools for career growth, many bosses are seen falling short by simply giving orders.

Still, 91 percent of employees think they have a mutual respect with their boss and 86 percent trust their boss.

The degree of respect tends to fade the larger the age gap, though.

Even though a majority of employees would consider their boss a friend, less than a quarter of them enjoy spending time with their boss outside of the office.

A third of employees who are connected to their boss through social networking web sites now wish they were not, and 45 percent have adjusted their privacy settings.

As for the dream boss? Oprah Winfrey tops the list, with President Barack Obama a close second. Least desirable are former BP Plc Chief Executive Tony Hayward and former American Idol judge Simon Cowell.

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