The quality of the relationship between employees and their employer is of central importance to the performance of individuals as well as the companies that employee them. A recent study looked to examine the relationship between employees and their Fortune 1000 companies. The study found that employees on higher compensation perceived their relationship with their employer to be better. Additionally, comparing millennials with middle-aged employees, it was found that millennials generally had poorer perceived relationships with their employer.
Key Topics: Compensation; Golden handcuffs; Millennials; Public relations
Title of Reviewed Article: Golden Handcuffs in the Fortune 1000? An Employee-Organization Relationship Survey of Public Relations Executives and Practitioners in the Largest Companies
Researchers: Cary A. Greenwood (Middle Tennessee State University)
Publication: Communication Research Reports, 2016, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 269-274.
Setting the Scene
Strong employee – employer relationships can engender open, satisfying, trusting, and productive relationships (Gallicano, Curtin, & Matthews, 2012; Ni, 2007, 2009). While there has been a greater focus on this area generally, there has also been a significant focus on this within public relations research (Sallot, Lyon, Acosta- Alzuru, & Jones, 2003).
This study looks to build on past research by examining the relationships of public relations professionals with their employers, looking at the contrast between Millennials and senior professionals, focusing on the role of compensation and age.
How the research was conducted
This study collected data from 63 high ranking public relations executives in Fortune 1000 companies. Participants completed an online survey, developed by Greenwood (2015), which included various employee-employer relationship questions. Factors measured included relationships quality and type, trust, control mutuality, satisfaction, commitment, and communal and exchange relationships.
The researcher analyzed their results against the findings of a similar study carried out by Gallicano et al. (2012) which examined the relationship of Millennials with their employer.
Key Research Findings
43% of participants had annual earnings of $100,000 - $200,000, with 36% earning more than $200,000, and the remaining participants earned less than $100,000. 64% of participants were the most senior public relations employee at their company. Participant average age was 48.
Participants generally held favorable impressions of their relationships with their company, which was demonstrated with positive responses to the four relationship quality outcomes of control mutuality, trust, satisfaction, and commitment. However, the researchers analyzed responses across two earnings categories, below $100,000 and above $100,000 and found a significant difference in responses across these two categories, with those on higher earnings having more favorable views of their relationship with their employer.
Analysis of results analyzed against the findings of Gallicano et al. (2012) indicated that older employees perceived their relationship with their employer to be better on the majority of relationship measures than Millennials working in public relations companies.
The results indicate that those with higher compensation levels and age perceive that they have a better relationship with their employer across various measures including trust, satisfaction, and commitment.
This is contrary to the findings of Gallicano et al. (2012) who had observed that Millennials had a similar standard of relationship with their employer as employees at various other ages, and suggested that age was not a factor in determining the standard of relationship between employee and employer.
While the findings suggest age could be a factor in determining the relationship quality, it is possible that the higher compensation, which typically is strongly correlated with age, is more relevant. As such, it is difficult to determine the significance of the generational differences found.
Organizational and Reward Implications
While it is unclear from the study findings as to whether age or compensation plays the most significant role in generating a perceived strong relationship between the employee and their employer, what is clear is that these combined factors do impact the strength of this relationship. While further research to clarify the relationship will be welcomed, companies should be mindful of the potential for these factors to impact how employees perceive them.
This study examines an often overlooked area of organizational research, that of the relationship between employees and their company, as viewed through the filter of compensation and generation. While the study findings are interesting, they should be viewed with caution given the relatively small participant group used and use of the results from another study in its analysis. Future research addressing these issues would likely yield valuable results and help validate further the findings from this study.
Source Article: Greenwood, C. A. (2016). Golden Handcuffs in the Fortune 1000? An Employee-Organization Relationship Survey of Public Relations Executives and Practitioners in the Largest Companies. Communication Research Reports, 33(3), 269-274.
Published by: Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group
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Gallicano, T. D., Curtin, P., & Matthews, K. (2012). I love what I do, but … A relationship management survey of millennial generation public relations agency employees. Journal of Public Relations Research, 24(3), 222–242.
Greenwood, C. A. (2015). Whistleblowing in the Fortune 1000: What practitioners told us about wrongdoing in corporations in a pilot study. Public Relations Review, 41(4), 490–500.
Ni, L. (2007). Refined understanding of perspectives on employee-organization relationships. Journal of Communication Management, 11(1), 53–70.
Ni, L. (2009). Strategic role of relationship building: Perceived links between employee-organization relationships and globalization strategies. Journal of Public Relations Research, 21(1), 100–120.
Sallot, L. M., Lyon, L. J., Acosta-Alzuru, C., & Jones, K. O. (2003). From aardvark to zebra: A new millennium analysis of theory development in public relations academic journals. Journal of Public Relations Research, 15(1), 27–90.
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