Despite difficult economic conditions, workplaces are banding together and maintaining morale. Image courtesy of: Svilen Milev/sxc.hu
Companies are working together with their staff to overcome challenging economic conditions, according to a new survey from the CBI
and recruitment specialists Harvey Nash
, which questioned 319 businesses across the UK.
The survey, called Facing the Future
[PDF, 690kb], found that two-thirds (67 percent) of firms say that employee relations in their workplace are either co-operative or very co-operative, with staff remaining resilient despite the economic climate, and two-fifths (40 percent) of firms describing morale as high or very high.
Just one-in-twenty businesses (five percent) describe the employee relations climate as adversarial or very adversarial, while 67 percent say it is co-operative or very co-operative - giving a balance of +62 percent of firms reporting a co-operative employee relations climate.
Most companies (85 percent) are confident their employees recognise the need to contain costs and adapt patterns of work in response to market pressures, while only 15 percent are not – giving a balance of +70 percent of firms where this is understood.
Looking ahead, the top workforce priorities for businesses in the next 12 months are securing high levels of employee engagement (60 percent), containing labour costs (48 percent) and recruiting to key vacancies (38 percent).
Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: “In the UK we have a good story to tell about collaboration in the workplace during the worst of the economic crisis. By working pragmatically and flexibly together, employers and employees have been able to safeguard and create jobs.
“With two-thirds of businesses reporting high levels of co-operation in their workplace, employers clearly understand the value of engaging their employees
and keeping them informed about business challenges being faced.
“The interests of employees, employers, and the economy as a whole will continue to be best served by maintaining these positive employment relationships. Businesses do not recognise the more adversarial, political rhetoric being adopted by some unions as representing the reality on the ground.”
Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash, said: “People are the greatest asset of any business, and companies recognise the value of good communication with their staff
. So despite the tough trading conditions and economic uncertainty we’re all facing, it’s not surprising that employee engagement has emerged once again as a top people priority for the year ahead.
“The fact that two-fifths of companies say that morale among staff is high or very high paints a picture of a positive, can-do atmosphere in the private sector, where businesses and employees are working together to weather economic storm clouds.”