Basic Work and People Skills, Not Technology, Key to Workplace Productivity

Randstads 2007 survey reveals instant communications tools are a convenience

ATLANTA--()--People cannot be replaced by technology, especially when it comes to increasing productivity in the workplace. In 2007, employees efficiency and output replaced technology as the key source of productivity gains, according to Randstads annual survey World of Work (formerly Employee Review), conducted by Harris Interactive®.

For eight consecutive years, global workforce solutions company Randstad USA has explored top business issues and evolving workplace trends that impact employers and employees. In its 2007 World of Work survey, Randstad focuses on employee productivity, retention and morale.

The survey reveals that todays workplace environment uses communication and technology to enhance productivity, but not to drive it. There has been a marked use in and appreciation of technology that connects employers and employees to their work when they are away from the office. In fact, 74 percent of employees and employers view instant communications tools as a convenience and helps them to feel in control of their life. Thirty-three percent are happy about the easy access and ability to stay on top of work activities and 41 percent feel it offers greater control of their workload. While technology contributes to productivity gains, basic work and people skills are at the epicenter of increased efficiency and output.

People are working more even if pay is not increased, with 81 percent of employers and 63 percent of employees working as many hours as it takes to get the job done, said Genia Spencer, managing director of operations and human resources, Randstad USA. And the survey shows a clear connection between hours worked and increased productivity. Half of employees and 65 percent of employers are working 41 to 60 hours on average per week, and half of employers and 40 percent of employees said productivity has increased since last year.

How workers perceive and value their work experience, long-term progress and development in a profession reflects their commitment to the job. Coinciding with an overall jump in morale since last year, 86 percent of employers and 60 percent of employees view their current work as a career as opposed to just a job. However, employees recognize that their opportunity for career advancement is not limited to their current position. In fact, there is a strong feeling among employees that its time to make a career change, with more than half looking to take on extra work of leave for another job.

The survey indicates that 54 percent of American workers are looking for new jobs, both a red-flag and an opportunity for employers to focus on growing and developing valued employees, said Spencer. The goal is for employers to motivate employees to stay and progress with the company.

However, employers are not leveraging these opportunities and instead are sending an indifferent message to employees about their value to the company. While retaining and motivating employees is important to employers (76 percent), they would rather hire someone externally (72 percent) than train (67 percent) or promote (60 percent) current workers to replace departing retirees.

While communication tools help employees enhance their performance, interpersonal communication gives employees a greater sense of involvement, strengthens workplace culture and increases motivation to stay with the company. It is a common perception that most people dont leave a company or a job, they leave their managers. A positive employee-supervisor relationship is as important to retention as it is to productivity, especially in light of the looming worker shortage.

Workplace Trends:

  • Job Hunts Escalate: In 2003, one-third (33 percent) of employees thought it was a good time to look for new job opportunities. In 2007, 55 percent feel its a good time to start looking.
  • Morale on the Rise: Since 2002, employers have had a higher opinion of company morale than their workforce. Yet from 2002 to 2005, employers morale declined 30 points (85 to 55 percent) and employees morale dropped 17 points (57 to 40 percent). Since 2005, there has been a jump in perceived morale among both employers (66 percent) and employees (51 percent).
  • Lack of Faith in Management: Faith in top management and their ability to make good decisions has dropped. From 2003 to 2007, employees reported increased doubts about their top management (18 to 27 percent) and supervisors (15 to 23 percent).
  • Career vs. Job: In 2001, 57 percent of all respondents viewed their work as a career vs. 71 percent in 2007.

Additional findings:

  • Working Longer, Harder: Employers are working longer hours than employees. Only 26 percent of employers work 40 hours or less a week with 65 percent averaging 41 to 60 hour weeks. Nine percent of managers admit to putting in 61 or more hours per week.
  • Hold the Stress: Financial rewards or extra time off are powerful tools in convincing people to work longer hours, but money isnt nearly as effective a cure for stress. Employees and employers report they are much more willing to work more hours for more money rather than endure a more stressful job for financial rewards.
I would be willing to

% of employers and employees who strongly/somewhat agree

Greater income Bonus or incentive pay More paid time off Promotion Recognition
work more hours for. 80 79 65 55 38
endure a more stressful job for. 61 55 45 39 24
For more information or for a copy of Randstad's 2007 World of Work
survey results, contact:
Becca Brett Leish, 404-870-6838
becca.brettleish@mslpr.com

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States on behalf of Randstad USA between January 11, 2007 and February 1, 2007 among 3,139 U.S. adults (age 18 and older), among whom 1,251 were employers and 1,888 were employees. The sample for employees consisted of U.S. residents who are currently employed full-time at an organization with at least five employees or are self-employed. The employer sample consisted of U.S. business professionals who make or strongly influence strategic Human Resources decisions and have been doing so for at least six months. The employee universe is segmented into three categories: small (5-49 employees), medium (50-499) and large (500 or more) companies/organizations; and four generational categories born between the respective years: Gen Y (1980-1988), Gen X (1965-1979), Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Matures (1900-1945).

Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for employee respondents propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of this size one could say with a 90 percent probability that the sampling error for employers is +/- 2.3 percentage points and for employees is +/- 1.9 percentage points. Sampling error for sub-samples is higher and varies. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Randstad USA

Only Randstad has spent eight years conducting extensive research in the employment field, learning as much as possible about business issues, the workplace and workers. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Randstad USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Netherlands-based Randstad Holding nv, a $8.25 billion global provider of professional employment services and the third largest staffing organization in the world. In 2006, Randstad USA's 2,000 staffing professionals put an average of 49,000 people to work in the U.S. each week through its more than 400 branches and client-dedicated locations. Randstad fulfills temporary, temp-to-hire and direct hire opportunities in Office, Executive Office, Industrial, Call Center, Finance & Accounting, and Technical and Creative. Randstad provides skills assessments, career counseling, training, health coverage, paid vacation and 401(k) matching contributions to eligible internal and external employees. More information is available at www.us.randstad.com. Investment information is available at www.randstad.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the worlds largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiaries Novatris in France and MediaTransfer AG in Germany, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.

Contacts

For Randstad USA, Atlanta
Becca Brett Leish, 404-870-6838
becca.brettleish@mslpr.com

Contacts

For Randstad USA, Atlanta
Becca Brett Leish, 404-870-6838
becca.brettleish@mslpr.com