Staff distrust of their managers ‘risks damaging businesses’

Low productivity is hitting output, with just 37% of staff saying they trust their bosses

A lack of trust between workers and senior managers is holding back Britain’s economic recovery, experts have warned.

Just 37 per cent of employees have faith in their bosses, meaning output is being impacted by low productivity, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

 Although the figure has improved since the financial crisis and subsequent recession, the institute claims the economy will only start to thrive once workplace relations improve.

Mark Beatson, the chief economist at the CIPD, said: “Problems of trust have been building up for some time.  There has been a fairly continuous diet of crises and scandals in both public and private sectors in recent years, and the recession made the trust issues worse, as many employers had to take tough measures to pull through, cutting jobs and freezing pay.

“Trust is an economic issue. If employees do not trust their leaders, this damages business performance. Employees spend more time covering their backs and trying to second-guess what management are up to. They are much less likely to be engaged in their work; indeed, they are more likely to be looking for another job, and are unlikely to recommend their employer to anyone else.”

The CIPD said employees are more likely to trust senior managers when they feel they are listened to and when their views are taken into account when decisions are made. It said the onus is now on senior managers across the county to act on the warning.

Peter Cheese, the chief executive of the CIPD, said: “Employers in all sectors need to recognise the critical importance of trust at all levels, and senior leaders need to take a long, hard look at how their employees see them.  This is ‘putting trust on the table’ and not enough employers do it.

“Trust takes time to build, but can be very quickly broken, and the bar of expectation in organisational and leadership behaviour and values has gone up as a result of too many poor examples in recent years. Rebuilding trust is not rocket science, although it requires a sustained focus and some hard work. 

“Regular and honest two-way communication is a start, where not only are employees engaged and kept informed of the business purpose, context, and rationale for change, but the views of employees are actively sought out and listened to.”

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