Two-Thirds of Staff Don't Trust Managers

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Less than a third (30%) of UK employees have complete trust in their manager, with almost eight in ten (78%) believing that their manager has let them down in the past, according to research published today.

The study, by Investors in People, also reveals that over half (55%) of employees believe that their manager only has staff's best interests at heart when it suits them.

Released to mark the start of Investors in People Week (5-9 Nov), the survey found that managers are most likely to let down employees by failing to provide the support they need to do their job (49%*), failing to respond to concerns expressed by employees (48%*) or withholding information which impacts on them (45%*).

Sharing information in confidence with another member of staff was cited by over half (55%) of employees as the worst possible type of betrayal by their manager.

Employees' lack of trust in their managers is most apparent when asked who they would confide in regarding a sensitive work-related matter: less than one-quarter (21%) would look to their boss, with 55% turning instead to a colleague or contemporary in times of trouble.

This lack of trust in managers can have serious consequences: respondents said it can lead to lowered employee morale (68%), destroy team spirit (46%) and result in people looking for a new job (42%).

Simon Jones, acting chief executive at Investors in People UK, commented: “Lack of trust breeds suspicion which can undermine confidence, commitment and productivity in the workplace.

“Managers must take heed and redouble their efforts to build trust amongst their people, understanding their concerns, communicating more regularly and being more honest with employees. Employers must also take responsibility for equipping managers with the skills needed to build more trusting relations with their employees. Without this, management practices threaten rather than enhance employee commitment, wasting opportunities, investment and resources as they do so.”

The research also reveals what managers could do to build a trusting relationship with their employees, with almost two in five (37%) employees believing that bosses should engage in regular communication, whilst a third (33%) think that managers need to be more honest and stick to their word.

Other interesting findings from the research include:

  • The crisis of confidence is particularly acute amongst long-term employees. Only 25% of those employed for 10 years or more trust their manager completely, and 61% of them say their manager looks after their interests only when it suits. New employees (those in post for less than a year) are much more optimistic: 39% trust their manager completely and only 46% feel their manager looks after their interests when it suits.

    The larger the company, the less trust there is: only 26% of those in companies of 5,000 employees or more trust their manager completely, compared to 39% of employees working in very smaller companies (2-9 employees.)

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