Beyond security: motivating employees
Given the economic factors at play from 2001 to 2011, it’s hardly surprising that employees ranked job security as the most important factor for job satisfaction. This is no longer the case, however, according to new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) research.
According to the SHRM 2012 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey published Oct. 3, 2012, “opportunities to use skills and abilities” now holds the top spot on the list of job satisfaction drivers (63%), placing job security (61%) in second place for the first time since 2007, when compensation/pay topped the list.
Notably, the percentage of employees who consider the opportunity to use their skills and abilities very important for job satisfaction has increased steadily since SHRM began measuring the statistic in 2004.
Still, fluctuations in the factors that contribute to satisfaction, as well as overall satisfaction levels, tend to shift over time.
“In the 10 years that SHRM has been conducting its job satisfaction survey, there has been a noticeable fluctuation in employees’ overall satisfaction with their jobs,” the report notes. For example, the 2012 overall job satisfaction rate of 81% is down five percentage points from its peak of 86 percent in 2009, and four percentage points above its low of 77% in 2002.
The other three aspects of job satisfaction that made the top five include:
• Compensation/pay (60%).
• Communication between employees and senior management (57%).
• Relationship with immediate supervisor (54%).
• The extent to which employees value each of these three factors varies over time, and their position in the top five — or even the top 10 — list has varied as well. In other years employees ranked factors such as flexibility and safety as very important.
Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
© 2012 SHRM. All rights reserved.
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Two Indiana manufacturers merge
Midwest Rake Co. of Warsaw, Ind., has purchased Seymour Manufacturing Co., headquartered in Seymour, Ind., for an undisclosed sum. Both companies are outdoor hand tool manufacturers, serving multiple markets both domestically and internationally.
Midwest Rake will continue to operate independently with existing management in place. At the same time, the companies will share in the breadth and diversity of each other’s product lines and customer base.
Midwest Rake Company is a 22-year-old family owned and operated manufacturer and supplier of long-handled tools used in a variety of markets and work environments. Midwest Rake products are sold and in use domestically and internationally, under the Midwest Rake, Kenyon, Northstar and Toolite labels. The company also provides OEM and private-label capabilities.
Seymour Manufacturing began its history in Seymour, Ind., in 1872, three years before the first telephone, as a manufacturer of wagon wheel spokes. Purchased by Semple and Birge manufacturing company of St. Louis in 1875, Seymour has remained in the Birge family since that time. During the middle of the last century, Seymour established its reputation of providing the market with high quality digging tools and snaths.
Under the leadership of Berl Grant, the company embarked on a program of product line expansion that included the acquisition of Structron and its line of fiberglass handled tools in 1995, and more recently, O.P. Link and its replacement handle business. Today, Seymour sells more than 2,400 different lawn and garden tools, fireplace equipment and accessories. Seymour will continue to operate in Seymour, Ind., and three Tennessee locations.
Container imports expected to rise almost 10%
As retailers stock up for the holiday season, import cargo volumes at the nation’s major ports are expected to rise 9.9% in October, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NFR) and Hackett Associates.
“NRF’s annual forecast says retailers should see solid growth during the holiday season this year, and these cargo numbers back it up,” said Jonathan Gold, VP supply chain and customs policy for the NRF. “Increased imports show that retailers have gauged the market and expect increased sales.”
U.S. ports followed by Global Port Tracker handled 1.42 million twenty-foot equivalent units in August, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was up 6.7% from July and 3.3% from August 2011. One TEU is one 20-foot cargo container or its equivalent. September was estimated at 1.49 million TEU, up 8% from last year, and October is forecast at 1.45 million TEU, a 9.9% rise.
With most holiday merchandise already at least in distribution centers by the end of October, monthly cargo volume will drop off for the remainder of the year but will remain above 2011 levels, the report said.
Hackett Associates founder Ben Hackett noted that some retailers brought cargo into the country early because of the threat of a strike when the labor contract covering East Coast and Gulf Coast longshoremen was set to expire Sept. 30. The strike was averted when labor and management agreed to continue talks through Dec. 31.
“Inventories are up, which could be due to lack of demand, but it could also be due to pre-stocking in anticipation of the dock strike that didn’t come,” Hackett said. “Either way, it is within a narrow range of movement and it does not suggest that we are sliding into another recession.”
Global Port Tracker, which is produced for NRF by the consulting firm Hackett Associates, covers the U.S. ports of Long Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Hampton Roads, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades and Miami on the East Coast; and Houston on the Gulf Coast.