Hourly Workers and Their Supervisors Say Management Flunks When it Comes to Knowing How to Keep Them

Dec 03, 1998, 00:00 ET from Kepner-Tregoe, Inc.

    PRINCETON, N.J., Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Hourly workers and their
 supervisors say management gets failing marks when it comes to knowing how to
 keep them, a new study shows.
     More than 60% of the 749 hourly workers and 541 supervisors polled
 reported that employees frequently discuss leaving and too few remain to get
 the job done.  The parallel study by management consultants Kepner-Tregoe,
 Inc., found that in the past three years turnover has continued to increase.
     "More than half of each group said that turnover has had a negative
 effective on business results," said Kepner-Tregoe partner, John Middlebrook.
     All this in spite of a frenzy of activity by top management.  More than
 two-thirds of both groups said their organization had made salaries and
 financial rewards more competitive; 62% have improved benefits packages; 44%
 have allowed employees to work at home; 38% now offer personal perks such as
 laundry service, pets at work, and massages.  Yet the exodus continues.
     And the loss is crippling, especially when star performers look for
 greener pastures.  More than half of each group said the departure of their
 best people has caused a loss of competitive edge, a decline in quality, and a
 decline in customer service.  47% of supervisors and 38% of workers said their
 organization had suffered financial loss as a result.
     "It's no wonder that a mere 24% of workers and 44% of supervisors polled
 in this survey think management's leadership is inspiring," said Kepner-Tregoe
 partner John Middlebrook.  "The workers and supervisors in the trenches bear
 the brunt of top management's myopia."
     What do the people in the trenches want?  While money is a motivator, it's
 not all important:  56% of the respondents didn't even mention money as one of
 the top three reasons high performers are leaving.  What they believe is most
 important is the opportunity to advance, the feeling that you're valued, and a
 conflict-free relationship with your supervisor.
     But, they say, top management is ignoring these and other important needs:
     -- 50% of supervisors and 56% of workers said they don't have enough
        resources -- equipment, time, and employees -- to do their job.
     -- 54% of supervisors and 61% of workers said they don't receive ongoing
        career development.
     -- 40% of supervisors and 59% of workers said they don't get recognition
        for a job well done.
     -- 47% of supervisors and 69% of workers said their organization doesn't
        tie financial rewards to good performance.
     It's time to drop the frills and get back to basics.  "The current
 approach to treating human resources is no different from the downsizing
 days," Middlebrook says.  "Only now, instead of throwing money away from the
 problem, top management is throwing money at the problem."  He adds, "If we
 don't staunch turnover -- especially among the stars -- organizations are
 going to lose one of their most critical advantages:  their collective
 business experience."

SOURCE Kepner-Tregoe, Inc.