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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