Two years ago when employees became dissatisfied with their organization they would quit and get another job. Today, with emplacement opportunities very low and unemployment extremely high, very few people opt to quit and leave. Their option is to quit and stay. In the last year, overall job satisfaction in the U.S. has declined significantly. Employees feel stuck in their current jobs and their dissatisfaction with the organizations increases. However, not all organizations are experiencing these same results. A recent assessment of employee satisfaction by one of our clients showed a significant improvement over past years, though this company was not immune to the effects of the recession. Examination of the data showed 7 factors that created this positive increase in poor economic times. 1. Consistent Values. In other organization many employees have seen their organization apparently abandon values when they experienced a recessionary economy. Their values seem to apply in good times but not in difficult times. This organization held tightly to its core values and employees began to more fully appreciate those values when they saw what was happening in other companies. 2. Long Term Focus. This company clearly saw the recession as a temporary problem but kept a focus on their long term objectives. This recession had a significant impact on the long term objectives but it also created new opportunities. Employees don’t mind going through difficult times if when they believe that there is a brighter future. 3. Local Leadership. This company recognized that the major source of satisfaction or dissatisfaction came from what happen in each work group. Every manager and supervisor was provided a clear assessment of the satisfaction of their employees and challenged to find opportunities to improve. Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow! Joe Folkman is the co-founder and President of Zenger Folkman, a leadership development firm focused on building strengths of individuals, teams, and organizations.