By Daniel Hunter
New research reveals that sly managers are deliberately taking the credit for over half their workforce’s ideas.
A fifth admit they “regularly” pass off employees’ suggestions as their own, while a further 82 per cent say they do so “sometimes” or on occasion.
Not a single supervisor, middle-manager or low-ranking executive said they had never plagiarised ideas to bolster their own reputation or ego, a nationwide survey of British workers found.
But it’s not only bosses who will steal your idea — cunning co-workers are nearly as bad.
Some 46 per cent of ideas and concepts are pilfered by crafty colleagues looking to enhance their chances of a pay rise.
British workers suspect up to 93 per cent of people in their place of work have been promoted by poaching good ideas from talkative colleagues.
The poll was commissioned by the author Andy Harrington to mark the publication of his guide to entrepreneurialism, Passion Into Profit: How to Make Big Money From Who You Are and What You Know.
Harrington questioned 1,000 people to determine the causes and effects of low morale in the workplace. “The results of this survey indicate that a significant proportion of the UK workforce feels undervalued in their jobs,” he says.
“Given that so many people are not receiving the credit for their own ideas — and that their co-workers and managers are benefiting from those ideas — this is not a surprise.”
The survey, conducted last month, found that 74 per cent of Britons are true grafters and go “over and above what’s necessary” for their jobs.
Almost half attribute their solid work ethic to professional pride (46 per cent), while 20 per cent and 24 per cent respectively go the extra mile to safeguard their job or to increase the chance of a promotion.
Only nine per cent “do the bare minimum” and just 17 per cent do “what’s necessary to produce the results my employer expects” — principally because of a lack of praise (39 per cent) or engagement (29 per cent).
Interestingly, all respondents felt undervalued at work to some degree.
When asked to give details, 943 and 685 people respectively said they “occasionally” or regularly” feel like quitting or finding another job.
A third (33 per cent) said feeling undervalued or un-empowered made them “angry or bitter” towards their manager, and 95 per cent said it has or would prevent them for “giving 100%” in the future.
Just 12 per cent of workers always get the credit for a good idea that is raised with or passed to a manager.
Where ideas have been stolen, the “glory” has been taken by co-workers (46 per cent) or by managers (54 per cent).
A quarter of employees “expect” plagiarism to take place.
But not surprisingly, 93 per cent of those whose ideas have been previously pinched said they now keep their lips sealed — and their ideas to themselves.
Those who have appropriated other’s ideas have gone on to win promotions in 93 per cent of cases, respondents believe.
Of the 399 managers who were surveyed, 19 per cent admitted that they “regularly” accepted the credit for an employee’s idea.
Nearly half (49 per cent) do so “sometimes”, and a further 33 per cent do so “rarely”.
“The aim of this poll was to determine the extent of how praise, input and empowerment affects morale,” said Harrington, who left a “dead end” career in the sales industry in his late 20s to set up his own public speaking consultancy.
“Quite clearly, people are working extremely hard for their employers but are seldom receiving the pat on the back — or the pay rise — that they deserve.
“The knock-on effect is that employees become increasingly reluctant to part with good ideas and less engaged and passionate about their jobs — a vicious cycle which, ironically, is no good for business and could lead to underperforming middle-managers losing their jobs.”
“The difference between now and 20 years ago is that the power is firmly in the hands of employees, not the employers.
“The rise of the internet means workers can turn their valuable skills and experiences into a marketable commodity on a global scale. There’s plenty of people willing to pay professionals well for their insider know-how, if the company they work for isn’t.”