Employee loyalty at three-year low, says new study – Reprinted from USA Today, 3-28-11, By Laura Petrecca

As the CEO of Living with Certainty LLC, I routinely consult with and speak to organizations to instill positivity and passion in leadership teams and employee groups.  My mission is to motivate them to tap into their deepest wells of  innate inspiration and creativity, and then to apply that one-of-a-kind power and effort to every aspect of their lives in order to self-actualize in ways they may have never felt possible. I can tell you that there is an intense demand right now from organizations to help them stop this tremendous slide toward negativity and pessimism in their employees and, therefore, their cultures.

As an executive recruiter, I have been hearing from scores of job-seekers and candidates that their former (or current) organizations have serious morale issues, and they are ready to make a move to a more positive, optimistic organization.

As a nation — and a world — we’ve been through a lot over the past several years, and people have had enough, reached their breaking point in some cases. My new book, Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy, is helping scores of individuals to look at their lives and where they are today differently so that they can enact significant change in their lives.  Relief is within reach if you have a plan.

This article, Employee Loyalty at Three-Year Low, from yesterday’s USA today reflects what I have been seeing in the marketplace for some time.

Employee loyalty is at a three-year low, but many employers are precariously unaware of the morale meltdown, according to new MetLife study.While frustrated workers are griping, groaning and secretly sending out resumes, employers think they are just as loyal as they were three years ago, the benefits-provider reports in its 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends, to be released today.

“Businesses are understandably focused on expenses,” says Ronald Leopold, vice president of MetLife’s U.S. Business. “But they’re taking their eye off the ball with human capital issues, notably what drives employee satisfaction and loyalty.”

Morale fell — and stress levels skyrocketed — as cost-cutting employers froze wages, slashed bonuses and asked workers to assume the duties of laid-off colleagues during the downturn. Four in ten employees say a heavy workload, unrealistic job expectations and long hours have been significant sources of stress, according to the American Psychological Association.

Fed up, workers are seeking greener professional pastures: Slightly more than one in three hope to find a new job in the next 12 months, according to the MetLife survey, .

“Employees are starting to sniff out the possibility of an economic recovery and they’re getting antsy,” says Leopold.

Four in ten workers believe it’s “likely” they’ll find a job that matches their experience and salary in the next six months, according to a survey by career website Glassdoor.com, to be released Tuesday. This is the highest confidence level in six quarters.

That impending exodus could wallop employers who have to pay for recruiting and training replacements, as well as deal with lost productivity as they recruit new personnel. More than half of employers say they’ve had difficulty attracting employees with critical skills, according to a recent survey by employer consultancy Towers Watson.

“You invested all that time and training in that employee — and then you watch knowledge walk out the door,” says Kevin Sheridan, chief engagement officer at consultant HR Solutions.

Most firms can’t offer massive raises , but improved employee communications — such as highlighting benefits the employer still offers and asking workers what benefits they want — could increase job satisfaction, says Anthony Nugent, MetLife’s executive vice president of U.S. Business.

Sheridan adds that engagement will rise — and resignations could fall — if bosses take on low-cost actions such as offering career advancement advice and saying ‘thank you’ to deserving workers.

“(Employees) want to know that they’re reporting to someone who cares about them as a person, and cares about their engagement level,” he says.

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