- The Washington Times - Monday, September 2, 2002

Kudos to the American workers.
Perhaps they feel shabby about their salaries and fret over benefits but they are a loyal, determined lot this Labor Day, happy to be employed and intent on making the best of things, a new Gallup poll finds.
The typical workplace is, well, just OK.
Only 27 percent of American workers were satisfied with the amount of money they make and 29 percent felt good about retirement benefits. Slightly more than one-third thought their chances for promotion were fair, and 36 percent were satisfied with their health benefits.
None of this seemed to dampen the old can-do spirit of our labor force, however.
The poll also found that 89 percent of the respondents were either completely or "somewhat" satisfied on the job an increase from a year ago, when the figure stood at 85 percent. Gallup noted that satisfaction was highest in those over age 50, Midwesterners and Republicans.
Another 86 percent felt "strongly loyal" to their company, and 70 percent felt their company reciprocated such loyalty.
"Some might argue that worker satisfaction and loyalty to one's company would become lower as the economy has become less robust, and as more evidence of malfeasance in companies across the country has surfaced," survey director Frank Newport said. "But these data show, if anything, a slight increase in satisfaction."
Much of it appears to be emotionally or even morally based.
Forty-six percent thought they got enough recognition at work and another 48 percent believed their employer showed respect for their opinion. More than half felt they had the opportunity to "learn and grow" or "do what you do best" at work.
Another 55 percent appreciated "the overall contribution your employer makes to society," 56 percent were happy with their boss and two-thirds were appreciative of their co-workers.
There is no doubt, however, that jobs have gotten tougher in the post-recession workplace, according to Career Builders, a job-counseling company that also released a survey for Labor Day.
It found that 39 percent of workers arrive early and stay late on the job. Another 46 percent said they worked extra hours. Sixty-seven percent either ate a spartan lunch at their desk or relied on the company cafeteria; 35 percent took a half-hour or less for their lunch break.
Still, grateful employees appreciate their employers, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, which also released a poll.
They found that 82 percent of workers thought their companies were "open and honest in communicating with their employees." Another 59 percent thought their employer showed proper appreciation for its workers.
The impersonal workplace may also be a myth, according to the poll. Employees feel involved in company success or failure: 91 percent felt there was a direct correlation between a company's reputation and its employees' job performance.
Just offer a pat on the back and a few kind words, say the experts.
"The success of an organization depends on whether its employees are valued and productive, confident in their leadership and proud of their organization," said Sue Meisinger, president of the human-resources polling group. "Communication and appreciation are critical tools in achieving that."
Polls are tools, too, and they can differ.


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