A new global survey has revealed an alarming lack of trust in the workplace. The recent survey of full-time workers in eight countries, including the UK, found that less than half of its 9,800 respondents have a “great deal of trust” in their employer, boss or co-workers.

The report’s stark findings should raise alarm bells in the business world. The importance of building good relationships between employer and employee has been long known, especially if you want to hang on to good workers. More challenging, of course, is how bosses address this crisis in trust.

Negative effects of low trust

  • Low morale – when staff don’t trust their employer, immediate manager or work colleagues this reduces their ‘buy-in’ to the company. This leads to low morale and a sense of disengagement – ultimately it means employees have less commitment to their job.
  • Loss of long-term staff – a negative vibe can easily spread throughout a workforce. Good or well-trained long-term staff may feel demoralised and want to move on.
  • Costs of staff turnover – when the average cost of replacing an employee can be over £25,000 (ACAS), high staff turnover can be costly.
  • Reputation damage – low levels of trust amongst employees can give a bad image of the business. This is particularly damaging if disgruntled employees are ‘on the ground’ dealing with your clients or the public.

Positive benefits of healthy levels of trust

  • Increases productivity – secure and content employees means they will do their best for the company, essential if your business is to thrive. Loyalty to the company will increase and you can take advantage of the benefits of retaining a stable and well-trained workforce.
  • Less absence – more engagement at work increases staff wellbeing which should be a concern for every good employer. Companies investing in staff wellbeing have lower sick and absence rates.
  • Enhances company image – most online recruiting adverts now include ratings about the company. A good rating by previous or existing staff will in turn attract good candidates in the future. Clients too will be attracted to a well-regarded business.

What can employers do to increase trust amongst staff?

  • Review pay and opportunities – one of the top trust factors found in the global survey was equal opportunity for pay and promotion. It is a good idea to review your staff data and ensure that any inequities are addressed. Managers may not be able to please everyone all of the time but you should be confident that you are paying equal pay for work of equal value.
  • Appreciate a job well done – another top influencing trust factor is lack of recognition from the boss for a job well done. Be sure to give due praise when an employee has made a special effort or achieved an important goal – you can do this verbally, financially or through company media such as newsletters.
  • Build a cohesive team – the lack of a collaborative work environment can also be off-putting to enthusiastic staff. Devote some time to building a sense of team spirit through, for example, social activities, team-building fun etc.
  • Show trust and respect – Bosses were criticised in the survey for not being sufficiently open, communicative or respectful. Work on these areas to make staff feel valued and listened to. Demotivated employees can often be re-engaged through taking the time to hear their feedback and valuing their opinions.

If your staff turnover is high it may just be worth thinking about levels of trust in your business.

Find out how a workforce management solution can pinpoint issues such as absence which could indicate issues within your own organisation.

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