SI Review: February 2011

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Recession Creates Stronger Bonds

One silver lining out of the recession is that there seems to be a stronger bond between managers and employees, an Adecco survey reveals. In fact, 78% of bosses say they feel closer to their teams than they did three years ago, and 61% of employees agree.

“There’s still work to be done, though,” says Tig Gilliam, CEO of Adecco North America. “There is still a divide between what employees want and what they feel they are getting from their leaders,” Gilliam notes. “What this tells us is that as businesses continue to look toward economic recovery, building up their workforces post-recession, they should be mindful of the wants and needs of their talent.”

Other results of the survey: The survey results indicate that the youngest employees in today’s workplace are ambitious and are looking to get ahead – and they’ll go to great lengths to do it. Forty-five percent of Millennials aspire to have their boss’ job, and 42% think they are smarter than their boss.

While 61% of employees consider their boss their friend, 82% are not connected to their boss via a traditional network. In fact, 32% of employees who are connected to their boss via a social network site wish they weren’t, and 45% have adjusted their privacy settings to keep certain aspects of their profile blocked from their boss. The part of their online profile employees fear their boss seeing the most is their opinions or beliefs via comments or posts (35%). Only 27% feel this way about photos or videos online.

However, differences exist between men and women who are connected to their boss online. Thirty-five percent of men are worried about their boss seeing their photos, compared to only 20% of women.

That said, 50% of all women connected to their bosses online are more likely to adjust their privacy settings compared to men (40%). In addition, employees who do connect to their boss online do so via Facebook (14%) rather than LinkedIn (6%).

Eroded Relationships?

In contrast with the Adecco survey results, 45% of U.S. workers polled in a Spherion Staffing Services survey indicated their relationship with their boss has been affected by the recession.

Furthermore, of those who say the relationship has been affected, 74% say the recession has weakened the relationship.

The survey also found that 38% of workers indicated their boss is somewhat or very uncaring when it comes to their career development, with 27% saying that their boss’ attitude about their career development has changed since the recession.

More alarming, 45% of workers say their boss has taken credit for their work, and another 37% say their boss has “thrown them under the bus” to save himself or herself.

Many workers believe their bosses have not been entirely honest and forthright about job security and in many cases feel little respect for their job manager. According to the study, one out of four workers feel their boss doesn’t respect them as a professional equal.

And many employees lack confidence in discussing sensitive or unethical issues with their managers. The study found 46% of workers don’t think they can discuss unethical workplace issues with their boss, and 44% say they can’t confide about sensitive or confidential workplace issues.

“At a time when workers arguably need added support and guidance to offset the uncertainties that come with a shaky economy, many bosses simply aren’t stepping up to the plate,” comments Loretta Penn, president of Spherion Staffing Services. “Managers need to create an environment that fosters open and direct communication, offers unwavering support for workers and demonstrates commitment to career development. Unfortunately, many of today’s bosses simply aren’t delivering on this responsibility.”

According to the study, 44% of employees feel they could do a better job than their boss, and 61% believe they possess better management qualities than their boss. Meanwhile, just 34% of workers would accept their boss’ job if it were offered to them, with a full 40% saying they would not. When asked if they would join their boss at another company, 43% said they would and another 35% said they were unsure.

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