HR professionals know that broken promises can erode morale and engagement. But now, there’s quantifiable proof that severe cost cutting can diminish employees’ trust in company leaders and negatively impact the bottom line.
Employees who don’t trust their executives are seven times more likely to miss work due to stress, and nine times more likely to consider leaving the organization, according to a survey of 31,000 global employees by Kenexa High Performance Institute. But even though trust is the recognized cornerstone of productive working relationships, the survey found that only 48 percent of employees trust their leaders while 28 percent actively distrust them. Some 24 percent aren’t sure. Ouch!
The report defines trust as employees’ willingness to accept risk in anticipation of a leader’s behavior — for example, they remain with the company during lean times because they believe the leadership will pull it through the economic slump.
The odds that an employee trusts senior leadership doubles if the organization has a published mission statement, conducts regular opinion surveys, sponsors quality improvement initiatives, gathers customer feedback, conducts yearly performance reviews, and has a formal cross-training program. In organizations that use all of these best practices, the odds of an employee trusting management are six times higher than in those that’s don’t engage in any.