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"The last few years have dramatically changed the mindset of the overall workforce," says Sandy Mazur , Division President, Spherion Staffing Services. "We first began tracking and understanding the changing attitudes of the American workforce 15 years ago, at which time we uncovered three distinct groups of workers based on their workplace preferences and expectations. The 'emergent' workforce makes up nearly one-quarter of the labor market and represents some of the highest achievers and most ambitious employees today. Yet, they take greater control over their careers and are often the most difficult to retain."
 
Mazur says this 'emergent' mindset is often fueled by recessionary environments, and that given the historic depth and breadth of the 2008 recession, it stands to become a more permanent and prevalent fixture among today's workforce. "Furthermore, the 'emergent' attitudes towards the workplace are often indicators of new expectations among all of today's workers when it comes to drivers of engagement, productivity and retention. Perhaps most compelling this year is workers' desire for a clear corporate mission that is also followed-through, and the importance of a company's social media practices and beliefs. Both of which have significant implications for how well businesses attract and engage their workforce."

Importance of Online Reputation, Clarity & Follow-Through on Corporate Mission

Among the greatest disconnects discovered in the study was related to the role of social media in the workplace, the importance of a company’s online reputation and the clarity of its mission.The Emerging Workforce Study found that  nearly half (47 percent) of workers strongly agree/agree that when they consider new employment, a company's online reputation will be equally as important as the offer they are given. In contrast to this, only 27 percent of companies believe social media outlets are influential on how a candidate views their organization.
 
Significantly, the study found that employees who feel their company's mission is clear and followed-through upon are three times more satisfied than those who feel their company has no clear mission at all. Even so, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of employees say their company does not have a clear corporate mission.
 
Additional findins from the study: 
 
- Employees who are highly satisfied with their employer's online reputation are nearly four times as likely to have high job satisfaction (76 percent) than those workers who are not satisfied with their employer's online reputation (20 percent).
 
- Forty-five percent of all workers believe a company's social media outlet is influential when choosing a new employer. 
 
- Only 44 percent of companies strongly agree that "having a great online reputation is important to our organization." 

Employers Lack Belief and Effort in Building Corporate Mission

The Emerging Workforce Study found that only 54 percent of employers strongly agreed with the statement, "our organization works hard to promote our culture and mission as a company in both online venues and in our day-to-day operations."
 
Only 46 percent of employees say their company is extremely/very effective at communicating their corporate mission.
 
Only 51 percent of employees say their company follows-through on their mission extremely/very well.

Current State of Employer's Social Media Practices

The number of companies that have a social media strategy increased by 21 percentage points (to 45 percent) since 2009.

However, among those companies that have social networking initiatives, the percentage that felt their social media strategy was successful increased only slightly, from 24 percent to 30 percent.

This year's study revealed a significant increase in the number of companies utilizing nearly every social outlet listed, with Facebook clearly leading the bunch with 61 percent of companies using the tool.

- Mobile texting is being used nearly as frequently as a corporate blogs.

- Only six percent of companies using social media use it to motivate and retain existing employees. This is a significant decline from 2010 (20 percent).

- Only 28 percent of companies are using social media to recruit new talent in 2013, a decline of 16 percentage points from 2010.

Sandy Mazur continued, "Organizations must become socially-engaged in order to drive key business outcomes such as, talent attraction, engagement, satisfaction and positive brand awareness and reputation.  Decisions, including whether people want to work for your organization; whether to stay with your organization; whether to sing your praises socially or not; are all highly dependent on your ability to be socially-engaged and socially-adept."