London, 26th January 2010
In a survey of British workers, over a third (34%) think their performance has been more closely scrutinised as a result of the recession, with 43% feeling that the consequences of poor performance have become more serious. The research has been commissioned by Croner, the UK's leading provider of workplace information and consultancy services, part of Wolters Kluwer.
The online survey, conducted by YouGov, has also revealed that only 16% of employees think their good work has been recognised more in the recession, suggesting employers have gone for the 'stick' approach without also remembering the 'carrot'.
With recent reports that a good number of the UK workforce is looking to move job roles in 2010*, employers need to make sure they are doing all they can to keep staff motivated and engaged, particularly when many have experienced pay freezes and cuts.
"People who were perhaps looking to leave their jobs a couple of years ago have stayed in their current role as a result of the recession, but may start looking around for other opportunities now," says Gillian Dowling, employment technical consultant at Croner. "It's important staff feel valued at this unsettling time and employers need to make sure they are rewarding employees for their good work or risk losing valuable staff. With budgets still tight, this doesn't have to mean cash benefits. Praise people where praise is due.
You would be surprised at how well recognition of good work, such as a simple thank you, is received." The survey results reveal that Generation X-ers (35-44s) deem themselves to be the most scrutinised, with over a third (37%) feeling their performance at work is more closely monitored as a result of the recession, compared to just a quarter of young workers (16-24s).
The 16-24 age group also think that the consequences of poor performance are less severe than their older counterparts, with 35% feeling they are more serious compared to 45% of 35-54s and almost half (48%) of over 55s.
Interestingly, although older workers feel that the repercussions of poor performance are harsh, they also think that good work is recognised more as a result of the recession.
Employees in Scotland are, according to the survey, the least scrutinised in the UK with only 19% feeling their work is more closely monitored. This may be because workers in Scotland also think that the consequences of poor performance are less severe. However, Scotland has the lowest number of people receiving praise for their good work, with only one in 10 (9%) feeling that their good work has been recognised more in the recession.
Employees in London are the most commended group with 22% receiving more recognition for their good work.
Gillian Dowling says: "Our research shows that employees know they are being monitored and feel that performance is under the microscope, which is a result of the impact of the recession. "Some employers have had to look closely at restructuring their business and for everyone excellent performance has become a greater priority than in the past. Recruitment still isn't an option for many organisations in 2010; therefore they need to think about taking care of their existing staff and building work performance from within."
*PwC research, 'One in three UK workers would leave their employer for a new job if they could', 4 January 2010 Note on the research All figures are from YouGov plc. The total sample size was 2,056 adults, which included 1,371 full and part-time workers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5 and 7 October 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
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