Spring has sprung.  And it seems the garden is looking increasingly rosy, for the private sector at least.  We reported last month that 63% of employees claim morale is high at their company (compared to 48% last year).  The data came from our ETS survey benchmark, based on the views of 185,000 private sector workers. 

It can be argued that the only way was up.  Particularly when considering the gloom engulfing workplaces since the recession hit.  With redundancies, spending cuts and salary freezes, there’s not been much for employees to smile about.  So what’s changed?

Well, looking at our own survey data comparing the last 12 months, it seems quite a lot:

·         Satisfaction with basic pay has risen

·         Employees report better work-life balance and are happier with hours worked

·         Companies are communicating better – employees are clear on objectives and how they are contributing to company goals

·         Employees are happier with training and development opportunities

Companies have become more aware of the need to engage employees, communicate clearly and offer development opportunities and rewards.  For many, this is still being done within modest budgets. 

It seems the economic downturn may have actually helped companies.  With reduced means, they have been forced to revaluate ways of working.  This is backed up by McKinsey, who reveal that 27% of companies explored non fiscal ways of motivating employees during the recession.

The result is a greater focus on people strategies.  From an HR perspective this can only be good news.  And from a business perspective it is equally encouraging.  This approach will serve companies well in the long term, making a positive impact on the bottom line.

What a difference a year makes.