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UK management isn’t trusted – research


Initial findings from a new study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting suggests that UK workers do not have great trust in management.

Fewer than 4 in 10 workers (38%) trust management to always communicate honestly (of 3500 questioned). The findings are similar to recent survey results in the US where only 1 in 3 workers (34%) trust management to communicate honestly. Even among senior managers, fewer than half (49%) feel that they can trust management communication. UK managers are, in fact, more cynical than senior managers in the US where 60% feel that they can trust senior management communication.

The survey shows that trust declines with job experience. For employees with less than two years’ service, over half (52%) trust management communication. However, for employees with 15 years’ or more service, only 32% trust this communication.

At a local level, employees generally feel free to express their views and 2 out of 3 (66%) say their manager encourages open and honest two-way communication. However, only half the UK workers surveyed (50%) feel there is ‘sufficient contact between managers and employees in their organisation.’ And only 4 in 10 workers (42%) believe sufficient effort is made to get the opinions and thinking of people who work in their organisation.

David Tong, Senior Researcher in Mercer’s Organisational Research & Effectiveness Group, added: "During times of change and uncertainty, first-level supervisors often align themselves with the rank and file, commiserating rather than taking ownership of difficult change decisions. In this scenario, while employees feel free to complain to their line-managers, they feel their views are not passed up the hierarchy."

The survey results indicate that only 1 in 3 workers (34%) believes senior management does a good job of recognising and confronting issues before they become major problems. Not surprisingly, limited two-way communication also leads to a lack of confidence in management. Fewer than half the UK workers surveyed (46%) believe that their organisation as a whole is well managed.

Although 6 in 10 workers (60%) report that their rganisation’s values have been well communicated, only half (52%) feel that the values provide clear direction for employees. More troubling is the finding that only 4 in 10 (44%) believe that management’s behaviour is consistent with company values.

Despite the concerns about trust and two-way communication, the majority of UK workers continue to derive satisfaction, and take pride in their work. Over 7 in 10 (72%) report that their work gives them a feeling of personal accomplishment and 60% report that they feel a strong sense of commitment to their organisation.


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