Ford Employee Morale Hits a High Point
By Chris Haak
Although Ford still isn’t out of the woods as far as its chances of remaining a viable concern and staving off bankruptcy – with an uncertain future product plan, a truck-heavy lineup, and car sales in a near free fall – we are starting to see some good news coming out of Dearborn.
Fiscal third quarter financial results were surprisingly decent, the UAW just ratified its new contract with Ford by a four-to-one margin, and the worst of the headcount reductions may be behind the company. On top of all that, Ford hired well-regarded Jim Farley from Toyota as its new marketing boss.
The good news has been noticed by employees. Ford’s human resources department conducts an annual survey of employee attitudes about the company, and those attitudes are improving. In this year’s survey (sent to 80,000 salaried employees worldwide as well as to select hourly team leaders in some plants), 77% of respondents said that overall, they had confidence in the company’s long-term success, compared to just 65% a year ago. When asked if they were looking forward to the future as a company employee, 83% said yes, as opposed to 74% in 2006.
Experts in business turnarounds consider employee morale to be an important barometer of whether or not the company will survive, so the improved attitude among Ford employees may bode very well for the company as a going concern.