Latest Emerging Workforce Study Discovers New Workplace Realities and Significant Employer/Employee Disconnects

Series One of Study Shows Growing Importance of a Company's Online Reputation and Ability to Demonstrate a Clear Corporate Mission

Jan 30, 2013, 09:00 ET from Spherion Staffing Services

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A growing number of workers are adopting an emergent mentality, with unique mindsets about their career, workplace needs and expectations, according to the newest comprehensive study of U.S. employers and workers released by Spherion Staffing Services today. This is just one of many new workplace trends uncovered in the study, along with implications for how companies acquire and manage their talent engine. In fact, the study of 225 human resource managers and 2,035 employed adults, conducted from May 10 to July 6, 2012 through online and phone surveys by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion, finds many organizations have been slow to adapt to changing workplace dynamics, resulting in significant disconnects between employers and employees.

"The last few years have dramatically changed the mindset of the overall workforce," says Sandy Mazur, Division President, Spherion Staffing Services. "We first began tracking and understanding the changing attitudes of the American workforce 15 years ago, at which time we uncovered three distinct groups of workers based on their workplace preferences and expectations. The 'emergent' workforce makes up nearly one-quarter of the labor market and represents some of the highest achievers and most ambitious employees today. Yet, they take greater control over their careers and are often the most difficult to retain."

Mazur says this 'emergent' mindset is often fueled by recessionary environments, and that given the historic depth and breadth of the 2008 recession, it stands to become a more permanent and prevalent fixture among today's workforce.

"Furthermore, the 'emergent' attitudes towards the workplace are often indicators of new expectations among all of today's workers when it comes to drivers of engagement, productivity and retention. Perhaps most compelling this year is workers' desire for a clear corporate mission that is also followed-through, and the importance of a company's social media practices and beliefs. Both of which have significant implications for how well businesses attract and engage their workforce."

Importance of Online Reputation, Clarity & Follow-Through on Corporate Mission

One of the greatest disconnects unveiled in the study centers around the role of social media in the workplace, the importance of a company's online reputation and the clarity of its mission. According to the Emerging Workforce Study, nearly half (47 percent) of workers strongly agree/agree that when they consider new employment, a company's online reputation will be equally as important as the offer they are given. However, only 27 percent of companies believe social media outlets are influential on how a candidate views their organization.

Furthermore, employees who feel their company's mission is clear and followed-through upon are three times more satisfied than those who feel their company has no clear mission at all. Yet, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of employees say their company does not have a clear corporate mission.

Further findings from the study include:

 Online Corporate Reputation Impacts Worker Behavior, Employers Lack Belief

  • Employees who are highly satisfied with their employer's online reputation are nearly four times as likely to have high job satisfaction (76 percent) than those workers who are not satisfied with their employer's online reputation (20 percent).
  • Forty-five percent of all workers believe a company's social media outlet is influential when choosing a new employer. 
  • Only 44 percent of companies strongly agree that "having a great online reputation is important to our organization." 

Employers Lack Belief and Effort in Building Corporate Mission

  • The Emerging Workforce Study found that only 54 percent of employers strongly agreed with the statement, "our organization works hard to promote our culture and mission as a company in both online venues and in our day-to-day operations."
  • Only 46 percent of employees say their company is extremely/very effective at communicating their corporate mission.
  • Only 51 percent of employees say their company follows-through on their mission extremely/very well.

Current State of Employer's Social Media Practices

  • The number of companies that have a social media strategy increased by 21 percentage points (to 45 percent) since 2009.
  • However, among those companies that have social networking initiatives, the percentage that felt their social media strategy was successful increased only slightly, from 24 percent to 30 percent.
  • This year's study revealed a significant increase in the number of companies utilizing nearly every social outlet listed, with Facebook clearly leading the bunch with 61 percent of companies using the tool.
  • Mobile texting is being used nearly as frequently as a corporate blogs.
  • Only six percent of companies using social media use it to motivate and retain existing employees. This is a significant decline from 2010 (20 percent).
  • Only 28 percent of companies are using social media to recruit new talent in 2013, a decline of 16 percentage points from 2010.

Sandy Mazur continued, "Organizations must become socially-engaged in order to drive key business outcomes such as, talent attraction, engagement, satisfaction and positive brand awareness and reputation.  Decisions, including whether people want to work for your organization; whether to stay with your organization; whether to sing your praises socially or not; are all highly dependent on your ability to be socially-engaged and socially-adept."

The 2012 Spherion Emerging Workforce study was conducted online or by phone within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion between May 16, 2012 and July 6, 2012 among 225 Human Resource Managers. Results were weighted as needed to reflect the composition of US companies, based on company revenue. An online survey of 2,035 employed adults was also conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion between May 10, 2012 and June 8, 2012. Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income to represent the target population. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

About Spherion
Spherion Staffing Services is a leading recruiting and staffing provider that specializes in placing administrative, clerical, customer service and light industrial candidates in temporary and full-time opportunities. As an industry pioneer for more than 65 years, Spherion has sourced, screened and placed millions of individuals in virtually every industry through a network of offices across the United States. Spherion offers companies a unique combination of personalized customer service backed by the resources, knowledge and geographic breadth of a $2 billion dollar workforce leader. Last year we helped more than 8,000 clients find the right talent to meet their workforce goals. Each local office is individually owned and operated by a team of staffing specialists who are known throughout the community, well-acquainted with your business and supported by a strong network of talent. To learn more, visit

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

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