Private sector staff harbour secret ambitions to join public sector

A third of private sector employees would consider moving to the public sector to seek more worthwhile work, research out today (Tuesday) has found.

Communications consultancy CHA surveyed 1,538 employees for its Worthwhile Work report and found that the priority for workers was to do a job well and contribute to society. More than 40% of 18- to 25-year-olds questioned said they were contemplating a move into the not-for-profit sector within the next five years.

Kristen Herde, head of employee engagement at energy company E.ON, said providing workers with a job that helped them contribute to the business – and society as a whole – was a growing concern for private sector firms.

“The impact of the line manager and how they develop an employee, coupled with the way an individual’s job is designed and how much freedom that employee has to deal with problems, is the key to employee engagement.

“We know that E.ON is part of the problem as far as climate change goes – it is the UK’s largest CO2 producer. But giving the employee control over their remit helps them to be more engaged and feel they are contributing to the business. They can go home and think they’ve helped solve a problem today,” she told Personnel Today.

Dilys Robinson, principal research fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “An employee needs to believe in their organisation, and what it stands for. Everyone is more anxious about the environment, but if employers can involve staff with the company and give them the autonomy to make decisions, engagement and retention rates will improve.”

She added that HR had a key role to play in educating managers to achieve this.

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