Friday, 07 December 2012

FIFO workers dedicated to industry but not necessarily company

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fifo running“The results suggest that while perceptions of the support that the company gives and the support of their supervisor are important to commitment, it might not be linked to whether they are going to stay or go.” —Dr Ditchburn. Image: StuRap AN ongoing Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) study undertaken by Murdoch University has found employee commitment is not linked to turnover within the industry.

The study was carried out by 223 FIFO workers via online and paper-based surveys, with the average time of continuous employment recorded being 65 months.

Co-supervisor and Murdoch University Psychology senior lecturer Graeme Ditchburn says contrary to what a lot of people suspect, FIFO workers are actually very committed to their jobs.

“They are committed to what it is they do and they will hang around and they will stick around for as long as they find that rewarding in itself, that it is not just about money and that they find the job and the work they are doing inherently rewarding but perhaps they are less committed to the organisation and would be quite open to the idea of moving,” Dr Ditchburn says.

“The results suggest that while perceptions of the support that the company gives and the support of their supervisor are important to commitment, it might not be linked to whether they are going to stay or go.

“So what that is suggesting is that there are other things, other factors that might lead to them leaving the organisation in the end and going somewhere else.”

Dr Ditchburn says there was no link between perceptions of support and whether FIFO workers would continue working with their particular organisation.

According to the study, providing organisational supports, providing guidance and empowering employees are still important to the Australian population.

“But it is not all about money and so an organisation should not be relying on that extrinsic financial reward as a motivating factor,” Dr Ditchburn says. “Putting managers in place that can provide the support and guidance for those employees is very important for them and just as important it has been established for other types of workers.

“To some extent I think what the research shows is that FIFO workers are remarkably committed in terms of their psychological contract with their organisations compared to other employees on different types of contracts.

“And if anything that’s sort of contrary to a lot of what’s in the media as these FIFO workers ‘being in it for the money’ and ‘they want to get rich quick and that’s all that they are motivated by’ and that is not the case at all.”

Dr Ditchburn says if FIFO workers are not as attached to their organisation, the challenge is to find how said organisation can motivate employees to stay with them.

This can be done through traditional motivation strategies like empowering and providing development opportunities for workers in particular roles.

For more information go to FIFOresearch.com

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