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Ford workers' confidence up, survey shows


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Ford workers' confidence up, survey shows



Confidence in Ford's future is soaring among the company's salaried employees, according to a company survey.

More than 80% of Ford's salaried workers have confidence in the long-term success of the company and more than 80% say that the company has the right products for the future, according to a quarterly employee engagement survey conducted in December. Ford outlined the findings for the Free Press but declined to share specific percentages.

"We have seen huge increases" in confidence, Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas and executive vice president, told the Free Press.

Confidence in Ford's future has increased 40 percentage points from the survey's lowest point in 2006, and confidence in Ford's products has increased 60 percentage points. Faith in Ford's future is increasing because the products have improved, Greg Guignard, who works in the company's information-technology network storage department, said Wednesday.

"I worked at Ford in the late 1990s, and honestly, I never talked up our products," Guignard said. "That's not the case today. ... There is no other automotive company in the world I'd rather work for."

Guignard and a coworker, Matthew Dalley, were checking out Ford's new Fiesta subcompact and several of the company's other new vehicles in the lobby of Ford World Headquarters during a lunch break Wednesday.

Dalley said he is planning to bring a friend to an employee event Saturday that will feature all of the cars and technology shown at recent auto shows.

Saturday's event is part of an effort to improve employee knowledge and excitement about the company's products and is part of a multi-day event for salaried employees, retirees and hourly employees.

About 2,000 employees, friends and family are planning to attend.

In addition, about 2,000 employees are to take part in hourlong product briefings this week and next week.

"It is just as important to stay connected to your employees as it is with your customers," Fields said.

Employee confidence at Ford also has grown as turmoil within the company has slowed.

Since 2006, Ford has slashed its North American salaried workforce by 34%, or 11,100 employees, to 21,300 as of Dec. 31.

Ford also is gaining market share in the U.S. and Europe and reported a $2.7-billion profit for 2009, its first annual profit since 2005.

"Morale is good," said James Eakin, a dealer account manager who has worked for Ford for 26 years. "We've been through a lot. Now it's the economy, and forces that are beyond our control."



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