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Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Specializing in Employee Opinion and Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Improving the Workplace
HOW TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE TRUST IN MANAGEMENT

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.

1 out of 2 employees distrusts management.

Part 1 - THE PROBLEM:

Sad but true, half of all employees don't trust the management of their organization. Our surveys show that 52 percent of employees simply don't believe the information they receive from senior management.

This is a problem for both employees and management.

How can employees possibly feel comfortable working for an organization when they don't trust the information they receive from management?

Also, how can management effectively motivate their workforce when many simply don't believe the information management tells them?

Three Characteristics of Distrust:
  1. Distrust is self-perpetuating.

    When employees distrust management, management becomes less trusting of employees. Employees perceive this lack of trust and on it goes.

  2. Distrust is like a virus.

    It gains strength as it spreads. As new employees join the organization, they learn from more seasoned co-workers that management cannot be trusted.

  3. Distrust is very resistant to change.

    A senior manager of one of my unionized clients once lamented to me, "The only way we can stop this distrust is by moving our operation to a different part of the country and hiring all new employees."

Part 2 -WHAT CAN BE DONE?

  1. Start Trusting Employees

    To end the cycle, management needs to show that it trusts employees. Eventually, employees will feel that they can reciprocate. This can be an extremely difficult and agonizingly long process. It's like lowering your weapons when you are being continually fired upon.

  2. Don't Withhold Information

    Many senior managers communicate on a "need-to-know" basis. Information, such as future plans and financial results, is often withheld from employees for no good reason. Employees then feel that the information they eventually do receive has been intentionally sanitized or delayed.

  3. Be Honest at All Times

    If employees feel they have been mislead or lied to, their trust will be lost, perhaps permanently.

  4. Conduct More Face-to-Face Communication

    Employees find it very difficult to trust senior managers whom they never see. Management-by-walking-around is very important.

  5. Listen to Employees and Let them Know You've Heard Them

    Employees become extremely distrustful when they feel their views or suggestions are not heard. Management needs to acknowledge employee suggestions by acting on them and letting employees know that they did so.

I am very much interested in your views on this topic.
Please reply with your comments and suggestions to .

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