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Lack of Employee Trust Toxic for British Businesses

EntrepreneurCountry Global Wednesday, 17 August 2011.

Lack of Employee Trust Toxic for British Businesses

A lack of trust between employees and senior managers in the current economic climate is profoundly undermining work place morale and affecting productivity, a recent survey has found. The nationwide survey from a cross-section of British businesses found that trust is a particular issue in the current economic climate, as many employees already feel anxious about job security.

Of the 1,000 employees questioned in the Constructaquote.com* survey, 42% admitted they do not feel secure in their jobs. In all regions surveyed a lack of trust in senior managers and a lack of job security went hand in hand.

Employees in the capital had the highest levels of insecurity; with 44% of London staff saying they distrusted their boss and 46% feeling insecure about their job. Further questioning of city staff revealed this is because many felt they had been 'sold out' by business leaders who took big bonuses and let people lose their jobs.

This instability and fear is not unique to London and the high rate of unemployment UK wide is also effecting how people feel about their work. Office of National Statistics figures published in July showed that 2.45 million people - 7.7% of the workforce - were unemployed.

The survey also found that men and women have different priorities and values when it comes to trust. Of the men surveyed, 42% said they did trust their boss but only 34% of women said they trusted their boss. Age is also a big factor in trust with a higher number of young people trusting their employers, a figure which reduces as people get older.

Constructaquote.com chairman Lyndon Wood said: "Trust is a big issue right now for businesses across the board and the maxim 'he who does not trust enough, will not be trusted' has never been more relevant. Promoting a trusting environment, to build confidence and foster a positive inclusive atmosphere where staff feel valued helps create the essential staff buy-in companies need to succeed. Trust is a foundation component that allows teams to gel and to pull together, which translates into better experiences for customers and clients. It also helps manage staff turnover which can be a serious obstacle to productivity, quality and profitability."

He continued: "There is no quick win when it comes to building staff trust. It is a slow process that starts with mutual respect. Trust needs to come from the top down because no one will trust a manager that does not first show trust in them.

"Leadership integrity is vital when it comes to building trust. A boss needs to establish their own integrity before expecting the same from others. This can be done by leading by example, being seen to be fair and by telling the truth even in the most difficult situations. Being visible and communicating with staff and being available and approachable also fosters employee trust and respect. Ultimately this survey has shown that trust is not being given enough of a priority by bosses and managers. But the fact is it is a business critical issue, particularly at a time of pronounced economic uncertainty. Quite simply, showing trust makes work more rewarding for employees, which in turn will produce rewards for the company."

*Consructaquote.com is a specialist SME insurance comparison site.

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