A nationwide survey of 1,500 adults indicates that 84.03% of respondents are willing to accept lower financial compensation to work for a company with a stellar reputation. A similar number – 79.59% – say it’s important to have an employer who shares their views. These results – from an SCG Advertising + Public Relations survey – seem to indicate that businesses and other employers ignore employees’ values and perspectives at their own peril.
Completed on October 12, 2021, the online poll also looks at vaccine policies, finding that 74.19% of respondents favor a position with a fair salary and vaccine policies they agree with, versus a higher salary and a vaccine policy in contrast to their own beliefs.
Full, sortable data from the survey is available on the SCG website. Also included is a free, interactive white paper that features a downloadable infographic, as well as a “LISTEN” acrostic that can serve as a strong, visual reminder of the value of listening.
“It’s crucial that employers consider whether their organization’s beliefs align with those of current and prospective employees,” says Michael Cherenson, executive vice president for SCG Advertising + Public Relations. “The results of our poll are intriguing, and should be particularly resonant at a time when so many companies are struggling to attract and retain talent.”
Indicative of how serious workers are about being content with and comfortable in their employment is the most recent JOLTS (Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey) report, which shows that a record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs during August. It’s a striking figure – which is equivalent to 2.9% of the entire U.S. workforce – and is made even more so by separate, recent research indicating that the actual cost to an organization related to an employee resigning may be as much as 50% of that individual’s annual salary.
Another example of how important it can be to embrace positions valued by employees is United Airline’s recent decision to require all workers to be vaccinated. The move was extremely popular with candidates for employment, as evidenced by the airline having received 20,000 applications for 2,000 open flight attendant positions. For United, this represents a decidedly accelerated application rate, versus its typical, pre-pandemic ratio.
This said, Cherenson also notes that along with employees, business leaders must also assess the perspectives and values of other key stakeholders.
“While the survey data indicates the value of aligning policies with employees, organizations also need to be in sync with where their customers, clients, and society at-large stand on core issues,” Cherenson explains. “When there’s any sort of misalignment, an organization needs to work harder and smarter. To be clear, this survey’s results don’t suggest an organization should shrink from its larger obligation related to vaccines and the public health infrastructure, which a majority of Americans support. Rather, it indicates the advisability of organizations communicating as strategically and proactively as possible with their various publics.”
Viewing the poll results from a somewhat different perspective, only 7% of those surveyed said they’d consistently choose the higher salary in response to all three questions. In other words, more than six in 10 would consistently follow their gut, versus unquestionably choosing the higher salary.
Of further note, in August 2001, SCG Advertising + Public Relations conducted a similar survey. It asked whether those polled would accept a lower level of compensation to work for a company with an excellent reputation. Fully 78% of respondents indicated they would.
“That initial survey’s results are in line with this latest poll, but it’s intriguing to see what’s changed in 20 years,” says Cherenson. “Back in 2001, 78% of those surveyed indicated a willingness to forgo a higher salary to be connected with a well-regarded organization. Today, in response to the same question, six percent more people express a preference for the company with a stellar reputation. View side-by-side, the 2001 and 2021 results appear to indicate an ongoing, societal shift – one that should substantially impact how businesses and other organizations present and define themselves.”