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The Work Blues Have Many a Worker Down

Top talent at most companies are singing the blues lately.

Top talent at most companies are singing the blues lately.

Most workers are feeling pretty lousy at work , says a recently released Watson Wyatt report on employee morale.

“The fallout from the actions employers have taken in response to the recession is now coming to light, and it is significant,” said Laura Sejen, global director of strategic rewards consulting at Watson Wyatt in a news release.  “Having less engaged and committed workers is a major concern for employers. This could have a long-lasting and detrimental impact on productivity, quality and customer service, as well as an increase in the risk of companies losing their best employees.”

It is a shared experience, the report said.

[Thirty-six] percent of top performers say their employer’s situation has worsened in the past 12 months and the number who would recommend others take jobs at their company has declined by nearly 20 percent. Compared with last year, top-performing employees are 26 percent less likely to be satisfied with advancement opportunities at their company. They are also 14 percent less likely to want to remain with their company versus take a job elsewhere.

The survey also found that top-performing employees are 29 percent less confident in management’s ability to grow the business. And 41 percent believe that pay and benefit changes made by their employer in the past year have had a negative effect on work quality and customer service. The survey was conducted in May 2009 and is based on responses from 1,300 full-time workers at large U.S. employers.

Many sales staffs are in crisis over depleted salaries and untenable commission structures, and this could have a significant effect on retention when the job market begins to open up. When you add up the effects on top performers that this Watson Wyatt survey highlights, companies need to pay closer attention to the treatment of top talent.

The survey also found that most top-performing employees say they aren’t expecting to receive the same bonus or pay increase as they have in the past, even though historically companies have rewarded them with pay commensurate with their performance. More than six in 10 (61 percent) say their companies have reduced or suspended bonuses, while only 35 percent agree their employers reward top employees for performance. Additionally, 43 percent of top performers said individual performance expectations have increased since last year, while one-third (32 percent) say their company’s financial performance goals have increased.

Work harder and make less? That’s a bitter pill for most revenue-driving workers to swallow.

For more salary advice:

[Image by seduffel via Flickr CC 2.0]

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