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Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Specializing in Employee Opinion and Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Improving the Workplace
EMPLOYEES LACK CONFIDENCE IN SENIOR MANAGEMENT

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

Part 1 - THE PROBLEM:

Our nation is suffering from major erosion in confidence in our business institutions and their leaders. Three of every five employees believe that their organization is not well managed. This is not surprising given the:

  • Abysmal performance of many organizations during the past year;

  • Huge numbers of employees who have lost their jobs due to layoffs;

  • Sobering news about management improprieties at previously well-respected companies such as Enron and Arthur Andersen;

  • Unscrupulous insider trading by senior executives; and

  • Large number of employees who have seen their once-valuable stock options become worthless.

This lack of confidence is a problem for both employees and their employers.

  1. The problem for management-

    Employees who lack confidence in management are less motivated and productive.

  2. The problem for employees-

    Employees with little confidence in management develop a jaded and cynical view of their employment situation. Although they take pride in their work and enjoy their coworkers, they are unable to become enthusiastic and truly committed to the goals of the organization.

Part 2 - WHAT MANAGEMENT CAN DO

  1. Produce Results

    Most importantly, employees want to know that somebody is minding the store and doing a good job at it. Just like stockholders, they want to see tangible results, an honest accounting of the organization's financial condition, and well-conceived plans for the future.

  2. Share the Wealth

    Employees can be quite accepting of hefty senior management salaries if they too feel that they are sharing in the wealth and growth of the organization.

  3. Recognize that You Are Accountable to Employees

    There is a psychological contract inherent in the employee-employer relationship. Senior management in many organizations seems to have forgotten that they are accountable to employees as well as to stockholders and customers. Sadly, in far too many organizations, employees are treated as expendable and do not receive the respect from senior management that they deserve.

  4. Be Honest With Your Employees

    Employees can live with slumps in the business. They can also live with a year without bonuses or raises. What they can not tolerate, nor should they, is management's insincerity and dishonesty. Nothing can erode employee confidence faster than management's telling lies or failing to disclose important information.

In summary, senior management has its work cut out for itself. Employee confidence is low at many organizations, but by following the principals outlined above this confidence can be restored.

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