By Daniel Hunter

The vast majority of employees want to work for a firm that has a ‘family feel’ and is ‘held together by loyalty and tradition’, according to HR body CIPD.

When asked to describe the kind of business they currently work for, nearly 50% of the 2,226 employees surveyed described the culture of their organisation as ‘a formalised and structured place to work, where procedures govern what people do and hold people together.’ This was highest in the public sector (74%), in the voluntary sector (43%) and unsurprisingly in large organisations with over 250 employees (59%).

In contrast, just a quarter (26%) of employees describe their current organisation as having a ‘family feel’ but when asked what their preferred working environment would be, over half of respondents (55%) specified that they would prefer to work in an organisation ‘with a family feel, held together by loyalty and tradition.’ This was higher for women than men (60% compared with 50%) but a consistent choice across all age groups.

The CIPD’s survey also found that employee engagement was at a three-year high, rising from 35% in 2013 and 38% in 2014 to 39% in the 2015 survey. Just 3% of employees claimed to be disengaged, a slight decrease of 1% on the year before, however, the majority of people (59%) considered their engagement as neutral.

While employee engagement is ticking up, job satisfaction has remained the same as in the Autumn 2014 survey, averaging at +47 (net satisfaction score). Employees at micro-businesses report the highest levels of job satisfaction at +75 and in small businesses it stands at +42, a slight increase on last year (+41). However, medium-sized businesses have seen job satisfaction drop from +40 to +38 and employee engagement fall from +44 to +40.

Jessica Cooper, Research Adviser at the CIPD, said: “This is a defining moment for businesses. After the uncertainty of the recession, we’ve now reached a point of stability which is seeing improved engagement from employees. However, far too many people are still sitting in the ‘neutral’ camp. Now is the time for businesses to engage with their talent to understand how they can reinforce and evolve their organisational culture moving forward. And the direction of travel is clear: employees want to work somewhere with a ‘family feel’, where they can really feel like they are part of something.

"Culture is one of the few things that can define a business and if organisations can get it right, it will give them a competitive edge and a strong foundation for business growth. Culture can’t change overnight, but organisations can start to think about ways in which they can make changes to better suit their talent’s preferences. Equally, employees should consider culture when moving jobs in order to have a more satisfying role.”