Engaged Workforce

Gaps in Employee Trust

New research shows trust is critical to employee engagement and productivity.

By Marta Chmielowicz

After a year of disruption, physical separation, and anxiety as the world confronted a global health crisis, a sense of belonging and connection has emerged as a top driver of employee engagement. But the first step to belonging is trust -and new research from the Workforce Institute reveals that whilst some organisations are getting it right, many still have a lot to learn about fostering trust in the workplace.

According to the Trust in the Modern Workplace study, nearly two in five employees (38%) do not trust their organisation to put employee interests ahead of profits. The research reveals that:

  • 24% of employees do not trust they will be paid accurately;
  • 27% do not trust they will be scheduled fairy;
  • 32% do not trust equal standards for pay and promotions;
  • 29% do not trust their employer to create a diverse and inclusive work environment;
  • 25% do not trust their employer to create a safe work environment; and
  • 28% do not trust that labour laws will be followed without exception.

Additionally, the majority (63%) of employers think that trust should be earned -particularly in India (90%). Only 29% of employees say they feel trusted on their first day of work, limiting their engagement and growth.

This distrust holds the business back, directly impacting employees’ sense of belonging (64%), career choices (58%), mental health (55%), and daily effort (68%). With 74% of employees saying they prefer to work for a company that is viewed as trustworthy, employers that do not prioritise trust will lose top talent.

Whilst 52% of business leaders and employees globally say that trust is higher today than it was before the pandemic, including 68% in China and 67% in India, 55% still think it’s easier to trust colleagues in a physical workplace than colleagues working virtually. With remote work here to stay, organisations will need to carefully consider how to foster relationships between location-based and remote employees to ensure trust and connection in the hybrid model.

Whether employees have been going to a physical workplace throughout the pandemic, are expecting to return to the office in the coming months, or will continue working remotely long-term, organisations with a cultural foundation of trust will excel in 2021 and beyond.

Tags: Engaged Workforce

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