There's more than money in a good employee relationship

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on May 1, 2002

Hiring managers look for loyalty in potential employees, and many employees think that pride in their work is more important than a raise.

Loyalty is one of the most important attributes that hiring managers look for when assessing potential employees. The second in a series of reports on employee loyalty by the New York Times Job Market research team reveals that 79% of hiring managers assess whether a recruit will be loyal to their organisation if hired. Some 70% of the recruits said that they were aware of this. And almost all the managers (94%) and the recruits (95%) say that having a good attitude during the recruitment process is the top factor in determining whether the candidate will be a loyal employee.

Team player
According to one manager, a good attitude is defined by how job candidates present themselves, their knowledge of the field they are in and their desire to improve on it. Another describes a prospective loyal employee as "a candidate who wants to do well and takes pride in his work and who has a healthy relationship with his last employer - someone who is a team player."

Time not important
Managers also regard good references, the length of time in previous employment, and the level of the position sought as good indicators of whether the person will be loyal or not. While managers believe that the length of time in previous employment is important, they don't believe that employees necessarily have to stay in a job for a long time in order to be considered loyal. Three years with a previous employer is the average length of time considered by hiring managers to indicate loyalty. Job-seekers thought that two years in a job was sufficient.

More detailed results of this research, which was designed and executed by The New York Times advertising department, will be posted regularly on the Job Market page at

Katzenbach survey
Meanwhile, another survey sponsored by New York-based consultancy Katzenbach Partners LLC (KPL), found that slightly more than half of employees strongly agreed or mostly agreed with the statement "Feeling proud of your work is more important to you than getting a raise." Only 15% disagreed. In addition, six in ten of the participants found their daily work to be meaningful, and just less than half believe they have an excellent opportunity to grow and develop their skills at work.

Intrinsic pride
According to Jon Katzenbach, "In tough times like these, many managers believe that money tops employees' lists. But the survey confirms what great companies like Home Depot, Southwest Airlines and Microsoft already know - that what inspires most employees to high performance is intrinsic pride in 'putting a smile on customers' faces,' 'turning planes around in record time,' or 'making products that change the world.' These are the companies that perform better in the long run."

More young employees were motivated by pride, but older ones would generally prefer a fatter pay packet.

Living proof
Katzenbach cites an example of how valuable intrinsic pride can be:

In the early 1990s, plant employees at a leading automobile manufacturer received a shocking bit of news from a visiting corporate executive. He told the gathered workers that the plant would close in 18 months. Immediately after the executive left, the plant manager declared, "We may not be able to change this decision, but we can make them feel really stupid when they close this plant, because it will be the most productive in the system." Now ten years and two new models later, another plant manager says "Luckily we got it all on videotape, so whenever we get bad news, we just pull out the video and let our pride of accomplishment do the rest."

Balancing act
Another recent study that KPL carried out among 2,200 employees at a major US-based multinational energy company concluded that employee commitment, energy and pride are directly related to how employees perceive their company's ability to balance corporate goals and employee fulfilment. These attributes are the result of a company's excellence and small improvements are likely to have limited impact on the workplace. "There is a flat spot in the employee commitment curve where companies moving towards a greater balance, but not enough to reap the benefits," says KPL principal, August Vlak, who helped organise the study. "Employee commitment and pride accelerate quickly when a company is able to differentiate itself in its ability to achieve a real balance."

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