Thursday, August 24, 2020

Rampant Mistrust?

This week, I came across an interesting set of survey results from Maritz Research, based on a sample of 1300 people in the US.

Here are a few of the most interesting findings. (Although the key summary is on a site associated with the hospitality industry, the people surveyed were not limited to that field of work.).
  • Only 10% of those questioned strongly agree that their companies genuinely listen to and care about their employees, compared with 32% who definitely disagree.

  • Three times as many respondents disagree as agree that everyone at their company is on the same team, working toward the same goals.

  • 40% mistrust their employers to look out for their best interests; 30% do not trust their co-workers to look out for them either. In both cases, only 9% are clear that they do trust management or their co-workers.

  • Only 9% believe that their organization tries to help its employees achieve a balance between work and personal life; and just 12% feel that work expectations at their company are “realistic and fair.”

  • Of the workers surveyed, only 8% agree that they are “consistently recognized in ways that are meaningful.”
It’s easy to make more of such survey results than they deserve. A great deal depends on the precise wording of the questions and the context in which they are asked. Yet this much does seem to be clear: These findings point once again to a considerable lack of trust in the workplace today, especially between management and those who are managed. It seems people don’t feel their organizations listen to them, don’t believe their efforts are recognized, and don’t trust their employers to look after their needs and interests.

If 88% of people cannot agree that management’s work expectations are fair, 91% aren’t confident that organizations are doing anything to help employees balance work and the rest of life, and 92% don’t feel properly recognized, something is surely wrong.

Just when that set of findings was depressing me, I found these, courtesy of Management Issues:
  • A quarter of all job applications received by Britain's financial services employers contain at least one major discrepancy, based on 2487 job applications fact-checked for discrepancies, embellishments and false information.

  • High earners taking home in excess of £80,000 ($140,000) a year are most likely to lie in their applications get a plum job.
If a quarter of all financial services applicants have embellished job titles, extended dates, or falsified other key facts on their application forms—and the majority of these are applying for senior positions—what does this say about people’s honesty and trustworthiness? As I have written here before, the trouble with any organization whose leaders fail to trust others is that you teach them to do the same to you.

Trust and honesty are two-way streets. If people believe their employers, plus the top echelons, do not care about them and are dishonest and untrustworthy in their actions, why should they be anything else in return? What civilized nation should tolerate a situation like this?

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Jerome Alexander said...

Employees come to work with an implicit trust that their managers are always working for the best interest of the company and its employees. That trust should not and cannot ever be taken for granted. Look what is happening today. It is no longer "What's good for the company is good for the manager." It has become "What's good for the manager is good for the company." Top executives have totally lost sight of this phenomenon and are allowing managers to run amok for their own personal agendas.
Several years ago I wrote a book on the subject of workplace culture and employee morale. It is as relevant today as it was then. Employee morale is directly linked to the interaction of employees with line managers who are charged with executing the policies and strategies of companies. Unfortunately, many of these managers subvert the good intentions of the organization to meet their own personal goals and agendas at the expense of their peers and subordinates. This management subculture is the result of a corporate culture of ignorance, indifference and excuse. Better corporate level leadership is the key. Read more in "160 Degrees of Deviation: The Case for the Corporate Cynic."

Jerome Alexander

9:06 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Great comment, Jerome.

I couldn't agree with you more. Too many top managers make pronouncements on policy or set guidelines, then think that their job is over. The managers lower down merely "interpret" such statements to their own advantage.

In corporations, as in politics, the notion that those in charge have a duty to work for the common good seems to be rapidly on the wane.

Keep reading, my friend.

2:35 PM  

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