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February 21, 2012

Employees Continue to Lack Trust in Company Management, Even After the Recession

describe the image(Note: see updated statistics on employee engagement here)

A recent poll commissioned by Maritz Research found that there’s still a deep-seated level of distrust in company management among employees—even though economic business conditions are improving— and the American workforce is less engaged with their employers today, than they were just one year ago.

According to the survey—which polled nearly 2,000 individuals who work at least 30 hours per week— poor communication, lack of perceived caring, inconsistent behavior, and perceptions of favoritism largely contribute to the lack of employee trust in senior leaders, with results illustrating that trust in leaders is eroding:

  • Twenty-five percent of employees report having less trust in management than they did last year.
  • Ten percent of employees trust management to make the right decision in times of uncertainty.
  • For employees ages 18-24 who are new to the workforce and didn’t experience many of the management scandals from years past, trust in management is a bit higher during times of uncertainty, at 16 percent.
  • Just over one in 10 Americans believes their company’s leaders are ethical and honest.
  • Twelve percent of employees believe their employer genuinely listens and cares about its employees.
  • Seven percent of employees believe senior management’s actions are completely consistent with their words.

Employees’ trust in management is critical to the success of any business and the findings from Maritz’s 2011 employee engagement study gives us great insight into the state of employee trust levels with management in America.

Values play a large role in engendering trust. Survey results show that only 14 percent of Americans say their personal values are in line with the values of their company, which helps remind us just how important it is that our values align with our work:

  • For those who trust management more than last year, nearly 33 percent of respondents said their personal values were completely consistent with their company’s values.
  • When trust in management remained the same from year-to-year, 13 percent of those surveyed said their personal values were completely consistent with company values.
  • When trust in management fell, only two percent of respondents said their personal values were aligned with the values of their company.

Trust is essential to the health and growth of an organization. Without employees’ trust in management, engagement levels are often shown to drop. To help foster trust and improve engagement, leaders need to ensure that the companies’ values are aligned with the values of its employees.

If you were to pulse your people, how would they rate trust with management?


- David Grossman


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Tag(s): Leadership

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