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Article: True Or False: A Labor Day Quiz For Employers About Their Employees Related Resources

True Or False: A Labor Day Quiz For
Employers About Their Employees

In honor of Labor Day, Sirota Survey Intelligence asks employers to take the following quiz about their employees. Answer true or false to each of the following statements:

• Employees’ immediate managers are the cause of most workers’ problems

• Praise can serve as a substitute for money in motivating employees

• When employees complain about their pay, they are really unhappy about something else

• Most employees are unhappy with their pay

• Profit-sharing is a major motivator of employee performance

• You can’t generalize about employees because every individual is different

• There are major differences between generations in what people want from their jobs

• There are major differences between cultures in what people want from their jobs

• Employees object to the large difference between their pay and that of senior management

• Most employees resist change, whatever it is

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The answer: “All statements are false, although for generations, many managers have believed them to be true,” said Douglas Klein, President of Sirota Survey Intelligence ( “In fact, a majority of human resource professionals we have surveyed recently also believed most of the above myths were factual.”

The findings are based on Sirota Survey Intelligence’s 30 years of experience, including surveys of about 3.5 million employees at hundreds of organizations in all sectors. The facts behind each of the above myths are:

• Blaming supervisors: “Immediate managers are consistently among the highest-rated elements of an employee’s work environment. They are a big influence on employees, and most often for the better,” said David Sirota, chairman emeritus of Sirota Survey Intelligence and co-author of “The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit By Giving Workers What They Want,” (Wharton School Publishing).

• Substituting praise for money: “There are three basic goals that the vast majority of employees want from their jobs. These are achievement, or pride in one’s work; camaraderie, or positive and productive relationships with one’s co-workers; and equity, or being treated fairly in pay, benefits, and job security,” said Klein. “These needs cannot be substituted for one another – a ‘thank-you’ from the boss cannot substitute for money, and money cannot substitute for praise. All of the needs are important.”

• Unhappiness over pay: “Complaints about pay are almost always about pay. Employees’ satisfaction with their pay has strongly been correlated with how well they were actually being paid. They know when they working for a good-paying employer, and when they aren’t,” said Sirota. On average, 40% of workers rate their pay as good or very good, 23% rate it as poor or very poor, and the rest (37%) rate their pay as middling.

• Profit-sharing: “For many types of work, the most effective pay-for-performance method is gain-sharing, in which a group of employees share in the financial achievements of their group, such as increases in efficiency. The average productivity improvement under a gain-sharing system is around 25%, while profit-sharing often does not produce discernible improvements, and when it does, only in the neighborhood of 2% to 6%,” said Sirota.

• Differences between individual employees, different generations, and different cultures: “Our research demonstrates that there are no differences in the three basic goals that people want from their work by occupation, industry, age, gender, or culture. People everywhere want to be treated fairly, be proud of what they do, and for whom they do it,” said Klein.

• Dissatisfaction with pay disparity: “Workers are upset by the large difference between their earnings and those of senior management only when a company that is doing poorly financially demands wage and job cuts from most employees, while upper management remains unaffected,” said Sirota. “Employees at superior-performing companies don’t complain about upper management’s high salaries when most workers are also benefiting.”

• Most employees resist change: “Employees resist changes they see as harmful to themselves or their organizations, such as speeding up the pace, which hurts work quality. However, they gladly welcome changes they view as helpful, such as new equipment that helps them do their jobs better. Employees are also resistant to changes that management secretly develops without their input and springs on them at the last minute,” said Klein.

About Sirota Survey Intelligence

Founded in 1972, Sirota Survey Intelligence ( specializes in attitude research. Headquartered in Purchase, NY, Sirota has conducted thousands of attitude surveys around the world that have helped organizations build strong, productive relationships with their employees, customers, communities, opinion leaders, investors, suppliers, and other publics.The major results of their surveys have been summarized in The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want (Wharton School Publishing

Sirota’s multi-national, multi-industry database comprises data from millions of employees collected through the firm’s employee survey research (predominantly among the Fortune 500). It is possible that the results from the companies in Sirota’s database are more favorable than a national probability sample.

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